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Posted inArt

Samsara Provides an Inspiring, if Purposeless, Display of Human Spirituality and Creativity

Still from Samsara by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson Samsara, a Sanskrit word that means “world” or “cyclic existence,” is also a recently released documentary by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson. It’s a collection of mind-blowing, Planet Earth-style shots, but instead of taking on the natural world, the film’s directors chose to represent a topic […]

Posted inArt

The Curator Is Present

No, the artist was not present at Film Forum for a screening of her documentary, The Artist Is Present, a couple of weeks ago. The artist is Marina Abramović, and though she wasn’t there — neither was the director of the film, Matthew Akers — I kept expecting her glamorous self to storm in as a last-minute surprise. But who was there was the reason I showed up for the screening: Mr. Klaus Biesenbach, chief curator at large of the Museum of Modern Art and director of MoMA PS1.

Posted inArt

WTF Is Up With Marina Abramović: The Movie? A Review

Hyperallergic writers and siblings Brendan and Marisa Carroll recently went to see Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, a documentary about the performance artist’s Museum of Modern Art retrospective. The museum retrospective included photos, videos and re-creations of Abramović’s performances from her 40-year career, but the documentary, directed by Matthew Akers, focuses almost solely on Abramović’s new piece for the exhibition, “Sitting With Marina.” In that work, the artist sat motionless in the same chair for seven hours a day, every day that the show was on, and museumgoers were invited to sit across from her, silently, one at a time. Brendan visited the exhibition back in 2010; Marisa did not. Below are their impressions of the film.

Posted inArt

A Story of Love, Plants and Death

Based on Alejandro Zambra’s masterful novella, the film Bonsái is a story of love, plants, death and the literature that seamlessly links them all. Bonsái premiered at Cannes to favorable reviews and took the top prize at the Miami Film Festival earlier this year. Directed by the Chilean Cristián Jiménez (Illusiones Opticas), it is an exercise in minimalism and nuance.

Posted inArt

Quattro Volte: A Film That Slows Down Time

Le Quattro Volte will mess with your perceptions. No hallucinogenic drug or psychedelic trip, this movie creates a heightened sense of reality by slowing actions and narrative down, simplifying them into only their base elements. Events happen quietly in this film, if they happen at all. A man traverses his village’s land. A goat is born, lives and dies. A mound of wood is burned into charcoal. These small things are magnified and intensified until they become casually monumental, a brushed confrontation with the ineffable scale of life and nature. It’s easy to come out of the film’s womb-like enclosure with the sense that everything around you is happening a long way off, moving too quickly.

Posted inArt

Tribeca Film Fest Special: In Saint Laurent Film, Opposites Attract

When fashion impresario Yves Saint Laurent was once asked to name his favorite poet, he paused for a moment, smiled and spoke Pierre Bergé’s name in a soft tone. This “poet” was the designer’s devoted companion for over fifty years. He was also the impresario that ran the logistics of the Yves St. Laurent Couture House from day one in 1961 until its final bow in 2002. But his was probably his knack for finding the right word at the right time that enabled both their business and romance to last.

Posted inOpinion

Gregory Crewdson Shoots Ancient Rome

Photographer Gregory Crewdson is largely known for his surreal suburban landscapes, posed and shot like something out of a postmodern Edward Hopper painting. But the artist also has a more sensitive side. In this series featured in the New York Times, Crewdson shoots a partly retired Italian movie set with a different kind of sensitivity.

Posted inOpinion

Are Movies the Art of Our Time? The Verdict

A month ago, artists Michelle Vaughan and John Powers made a bar bet — I’m guessing it was a drunken one — over one of Powers’s bombastic claims. He made the sweeping statement that “movies are the art of our time.” Not one to step away from a challenge, Vaughan disagreed. Eventually Vaughan, who is a painter, and Powers, who is a sculptor, decided to transition their debate online and I offered to judge their exchange and declare a winner. Today is that glorious day. Click through for the final verdict.