The art of memorial sculpture has by its nature an emotional resonance due to its role in honoring the dead, but there’s a living, human beauty to it as well. It’s these aspects of cemetery sculpture that Italian photographer Mattia Mognetti captures in his 2013 Graveyard People series.
First, there was Leonardo the Musical, a mostly fictional production about Leonardo da Vinci and the Mona Lisa. Then there was the three-hour-long Starry Nights, about, yes, Vincent van Gogh. Next came Pop!, a piece of “canned camp,” as the New York Times called it, focused on Andy Warhol and the Factory, followed by Michelangelo the Musical (a no-brainer). And now … now, dear art lovers, there is Basquiat the Musical. (People really need to get more creative with titling.)
I like to think of the mythical Netflix Marathon as the process of accumulating inspiration, but it could be more realistically dubbed procrastination. Either way, it has become a talent I’ve honed to perfection, one that I desperately need to figure out a way to work into my résumé.
The battle over the future of the Detroit Institute of Arts’ collection is still only a theoretical one, but that hasn’t stopped high-profile people throughout the state from taking sides. The latest entrant into the fray is Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who says the art cannot be sold to help cover the costs of Detroit’s bankruptcy.
Before AIDS activists plastered posters reading “Silence = Death” on New York City walls and ACT UP shouted, “Fight Back, Fight AIDS,” the disease had already claimed the lives of thousands of New Yorkers. The first five years of the AIDS epidemic were characterized by a lack of information about the disease that triggered widespread panic and fear. Focusing on that time, from the appearance of AIDS in 1981 to the death of Hollywood icon Rock Hudson in 1985, which forced the disease into public discourse, the New-York Historical Society’s exhibition AIDS in New York: The First Five Years presents an incredibly important record of both the silence surrounding the growing crisis and the bravery of early activists and caretakers.
Last week when I found myself in Times Square late in the evening hours, there was a man in a perfectly pressed suit, sitting in chair before the TKTS booth staring intently into space. There was a girl in glittery underwear and bunny ears hopping around a construction area for tips. There was the gold mime off of work asking for a cigarette from a businessman who had also just left the office. In other words, any hour in Times Square, especially in the evening, has some seedy tone of the surreal. This week’s Times Square After Hours program, called Cabin Fever: An Alpine Fantasy, similarly was a performance event with its own touches of the surreal, particularly with a human/taxidermy collaboration.
Kymia Nawabi took home first prize on season two of Bravo’s Work of Art: The Next Great Artist, taking home $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. On the final episode of Work of Art, she organized her works in a presentation entitled Not for Long, My Forlorn, a series of drawings that acted as meditations on life and death channeled through ravenous, otherworldly beings and animals that inhabit a purgatory-like space.
Although even if she’s not in the NSA, I guess I’ve just spilled the beans anyway …