Post-hols stripped-back Sunday links

Post-hols stripped-back Sunday links

Welcome home – to sunshine, a much-neglected blog and more than 1,700 spam comments that need (rapid) reviewing. Here is a developing list of some of the things I’ve found interesting in the past few days since I have been back from a wonderful time in Italy.  With apologies for not giving credit where it’s due for the pieces I didn’t discover myself.

NOW THEN: a new batch of brilliance from Adam Curtis.

The down and dirty history of TMZ: a completely compelling profile of the above by Anne Helen Petersen for Buzzfeed.

The pervasive power of Rupert Murdoch: an extract from Hack Attack by Nick Davies, courtesy of the Guardian.

‘Hollywood Exiles in Europe’ – feeling alienated and anxious: Kenneth Turan for the Los Angeles Times on a UCLA season of movies made by those who driven away by the Red-baiting of the 1950s.

Excerpt from Crying at the Movies: a section of Marion Sprengbether’s ‘film memoir’, published in 2002.

Insomnia – unbearable lightness: Jonathan Romney for Criterion on the 1997 Norwegian thriller.

Moonrise Kingdom – Wes in Wonderland: David Bordwell on current notions of auteurism as highlighted by Anderson’s film.

Hollywood transformed: Tom Shone for the Financial Times on China and the contemporary cinema.

Edinburgh 2014 – brain benders of the Black Box: Harriet Warman for Sight & Sound at the EFF showcase of experimental moving images.

Andrew Dickson on Shakespeare in the Wild West: great podcast.

• The Nether ”trailer”: a smart interactive experience for the show currently at the Royal Court.

Mastersinger: Alex Ross profiles Joyce DiDonato for The New Yorker.

The all-American expo that invaded Cold War Russia: Matt Novak at Paleo-future on the American National Exhibition in Moscow, July 1959.

Prefab, post fab and just fab: John Grindrod visits Catford’s Excalibur Estate of post-war pre-fabs.

No moral, no uplift, just a restless ‘click’: Holland Cotter at The New York Times on MoMA’s Garry Winogrand retrospective…

In transit: … and a very fine Geoff Dyer piece on Winogrand from the London Review of Books archives.

Musical gold: a fine Rebecca Mead New Yorker piece on investing in Stradivari.

Brief lives: Luke McKernan on writing for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (which I’ve also been doing recently)

At the crime scene: a remarkable London Review of Books essay by Adam Shatz on the sado-masochism (and more) of Alain Robbe-Grillet.

What is the great American novel?: for TLS Sarah Graham reviews Lawrence Buell’s The Dream of the Great American Novel.

Big air: The New Yorker‘s Ben McGrath at the X Games.

BBC R&D at the Commonwealth Games 2014: the future of broadcasting is here – or, at least, it’s in Glasgow.

• Beyond digitisation – new possibilities in digital art history: James Cuno for Iris at The Getty.

Citizen Bezos: Steve Coll on Amazon for The New York Review of Books.

Understanding the participatory culture of the web – an interview with Henry Jenkins: … by Trevor Owens at a Library of Congress blog.

Sunday links stripped-down

Sunday links stripped-down

From the Bard to Bart – how Mr Burns challenges our common culture: Mark Lawson at the Almeida (above, Tristram Kenton’s Guardian image of the production).

Recovered, discovered and restored – DVDs, Blu-rays and a book: a round-up of recent releases by Kristin Thompson.

Charles Barr on Ealing 13: the best writer on British film considers Network’s most recent release of rarities from the studio.

The forgotten great theatres of London: Joe Carroll at the Londonist.

‘Peter Brook is an exceptional human being’: Rupert Christensen for the Telegraph.

Life and death: John Grindrod on his parents and the demolition of Taberner House in Croydon.

Save the Warburg library!: for The New York Review of Books, Anthony Grafton and Jeffery Hamburger.

Think big. Build big. Sell big: Carol Vogel on Jeff Koons for The New York Times.

Garry Winogrand, street photographer – a retrospective, in pictures: Jonathan Jones introduces a glorious selection.

Beyond Pong – why digital art matters: an illustrated Guardian essay by James Bridle.

Inside the color factory – my chat with a photo colorizer: Matt Novak interviews Dana Keller.

The internet with a human face: Maciej Ceglowski’s talk from Tellerrand last month.

Big Bang Data: site (in English) for an important exhibition in Barcelona.

E-books vs paper?: Julian Baggini for the Financial Times.

Inheritance: Ian Parker profiles Edward St Aubyn for The New Yorker.

• Paupers and richlings: Benjamin Kunkel on Thomas Piketty, from London Review of Books.

The literature of the second gilded age: for LA Review of Books, Stephen Marche on Thomas Piketty and contemporary literature.

• Football considered as one of the arts: from Luke McKernan.

Sunday links

Sunday links

This weekend’s The New York Times Magazine has an essay by Heather Havrilesky, ‘Clues that lead to more clues that add up to nothing’, lamenting the narrative plotting of post-Lost television drama. ‘The empty thrills, the ticking clock that never runs down, the pointless twists and turns that are neither motivated nor resolved’ are in danger, runs the rather shrill argument, of killing American television’s new ‘golden age’ (The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men et al). For a more nuanced discussion, take a look at Lost in a great story: evaluation in narrative television (and television studies), scholar Jason Mittell’s October 2007 blog post at Just TV from with his appreciation of, among other qualities, the show’s ‘twists and turns’: ‘For me and many other viewers, the ability to be pleasantly surprised by a television series violating conventions and expectations keeps us tuning in and anticipating future twists, offering a wealth of pleasures within both the show’s story content and storytelling form.’ Mittell has just posted the text of a keynote that’s also directly relevant, The qualities of complexity: aesthetic evaluation in contemporary television. It’s an essential read – and see also posts at InMediaRes about Popular seriality (one of them Mittell’s). Across the break, further links to good stuff.


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Sunday links

Sunday links

This is not the first time we have led a selection of links with one of Adam Curtis’ essential posts at The Medium and the Message – and I trust it won’t be the last. His latest The Bitch, the Stud and the Prawn is subtitled The rise of geezer capitalism in Britain, and it continues his analysis of the narrowing of political possibilities in post-war Britain. It is also a wonderfully colourful and profoundly depressing tale of tycoon George Walker, Guy Hands, bankers and boxers, film finance, tax dodges and a mutant prawn boxing movie. The post also features some fabulous extracts from BBC programmes – here, if nowhere else, is the BBC archive being productively plundered in the most imaginative and intelligent way. Below, a handful of other links to stuff that I’ve found interesting over the past week (and which remains a work in progress until I add some more later on).
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Sunday links

Sunday links

Highlight of the weekend was definitely Thomas Ostermeier’s Hamlet at the Barbican. Today’s matinee performance was the last (Wednesday’s show was cancelled because of strike action), so any recommendations of reviews will only give you a sense of what you missed. Staged across nearly three hours with no interval, acted by a cast of six (one actor plays both Gertrude and Ophelia), and set on a large square of dark, damp earth, it is certainly one-of-a-kind: bonkers, brilliant at times, silly, self-indulgent, extraordinarily physical, intense and thrilling, vibrantly theatrical and anti-theatrical, but also at moments all-too-obvious. For more, read the Guardian‘s Lyn Gardner, Kate Kellaway for the ObserverDaisy Bowie-Sell for the Telegraph. Then, go below for other links to interesting stuff from the past week.
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Sunday links

Sunday links

Looking for a Christmas present? For the start of Advent, here are links to my five favourite 2011 exhibition catalogues: Degas and the Ballet: Picturing Movement by Richard Kendall and Jill DeVonyar, from the wonderful Royal Academy of Arts show (above, until 12 December); Eyewitness: Hungarian Photography in the Twentieth Century by Peter Baki and Colin Ford, also for a wonderful RA show this autumn; de Kooning: a Retrospective by John Elderfield, accompanying the landmark MoMA show (until 9 January); Pacific Standard Time: Los Angeles Art 1945-1980, edited by Rebecca Peabody, Richard Perchuk and Glenn Phillips, which provides the background to all the shows on at present in L. A. and the surrounding area; and Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990 edited by Glenn Adamson and Jane Pavitt for the current V&A show (until 15 January). Across the jump, links to articles that I’ve found interesting across the past week.
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Sunday links

Sunday links

Friday in Denver, Colorado saw the opening of the long-awaited Clyfford Still Museum. The reclusive Abstract Expressionist painter, who died in 1980, stipulated in his will that his personal collection (which was far and away the bulk of his work) should be given to the American city prepared to build him a museum. The fascinating tale is told well by Leah Ollman for The Los Angeles Times in Clyfford Still’s will is executed with Denver museum, while in Abstract expressionist made whole Carol Kino files from Denver for The New York Times. The Denver Post has a terrific slide-show from Friday with images (including the one above) by Andy Cross. [Update: Christopher Knight in The Los Angeles Times is also hugely enthusiastic: 'a graceful small museum, reserved for experiencing one great artist's art.' Inside the new Clyfford Still Museum is a brief New York Times slide-show narrated by the artist's daughter Sandra Still Campbell.] Below, the usual Sunday links to other stuff that interested me during the week.
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Sunday links

Sunday links

Among a host of good writers who blog regularly about cinema (David Bordwell and Jonathan Rosenbaum are two obvious names) The New Yorker‘s Richard Brody is one of my favourites. And this week he posted a short piece, Redeeming criticism, that we would all do well to recall whenever we write about any cultural object. Prompted by the responses in the States to Clint Eastwood’s new movie J. Edgar (above) and by a great Los Angeles Review of Books essay by Jonathan Lethem, My disappointment critic (read this too), Brody teases out what criticism should do: ‘Criticism is, at best, contacting the spark, the idea, the inspiration, the creative moment, the inner life from which the work arises, followed by working outward to see how the work became that which it is—in effect, re-living the artist’s creative process.’ Below, more links to pieces that caught my eye this week.
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Sunday links

Sunday links

Perhaps you have all already seen Adam Curtis’ latest post, Dream on (it’s been up a week), but if not you have to take a look now. It tells what he describes as ‘an odd, romantic, but ultimately very sad story… [about] a pessimistic belief that all one’s dreams for a better future are just illusions – and [suggests] how that pessimism then came to paralyse the left in Britain throughout the eighties and nineties.’ The cast list for this saga of the sixties is extraordinary: activist and agent Clive Goodwin, painter (and Goodwin’s wife) Pauline Boty (above), filmmaker Ken Russell, philosopher Herbert Marcuse, writer Nigel Kneale, radical Michael X and the nineteenth century utopian writer Charles Fourier. Adam Curtis illustrates his story with some glorious archive extracts – and if you surrender youself to its twists and turns, his story should make you both sad and angry. Across the jump, more links to good stuff…
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Sunday links

Sunday links

At his Confessions of an aca-fan web site, Henry Jenkins discusses a richly illustrated and fascinating post from the USC Civic Paths research group, The visual culture of the occupation: month one and counting. The stand-off at St Paul’s makes this study of the images created by #Occupy movement all the more pertinent. ‘The Civic Paths team has been studying alternative forms of activism,’ Jenkins explains, ‘especially those which involve the intersection between popular culture, participatory culture, and youth, for more than two years.’ And he adds his own gloss to the visual analysis: ‘Occupy is not so much a movement, at least not as we’ve traditionally defined political movements, as it is a provocation. If the mainstream media has difficulty identifying its goals, it may be because its central goal is to provoke discussion, to get people talking about things which our political leadership has refused to address for several decades now.’ Below, the usual Sunday miscellany of further links to good stuff.
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