Links for the weekend

Links for the weekend

I am not sure if Jonathan Bate’s list of 100+ of the Best Books on Shakespeare has been around for a good while, but it’s new to me – and that feels like sufficient reason to feature it at the head of today’s Links. (Apologies by the way for absences in the past couple of weeks; I’m back for the start of the new term.) Bate is among the very best Shakespearean scholars writing today and one of the editors of The RSC Shakespeare Complete Works from Palgrave Macmillan (this is the one-volume edition I use most frequently, although nothing beats the individual volumes in the Arden series). He is also the author of The Genius of Shakespeare (1997), which if I had to recommend to someone just a single book about the Bard, this would be the one. It is described here as ‘a biography of the idea of Shakespeare and perceptions of his greatness’. Fortunately, we can all read many more than just one – and this list is a great place to start. There are many more links below, with thanks this week to @AndyKesson, @footage@cinetourist@KarlinMarc@zilkerfilms@filmstudiesff and @Z.
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Links for the weekend

Links for the weekend

On at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art until 27 May there’s an exhibition that I really want to see. Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity is a sumptuous assembly of 80 or so figure paintings along with ‘period costumes, accessories, fashion plates, photographs, and popular prints’ which explore the relationship between fashion and art from the mid-1860s to the mid-1880s. But I’m pretty certain that I won’t get there before the end of next month and so I’m contenting myself with frequent virtual visits to the show – and, you know, I’m OK with that. The Met has a really good web site about the show with a room-by-room guide and great photos; there’s a catalogue of exceptional splendour and sumptuousness edited by curator Gloria Groom; and I can read detailed criticism about it like Paris: The thrill of the modern by Anka Muhlstein in the New York Review of Books. Who needs Manhattan? Below, more links to more stuff, with thanks for recommendations this week to @emilybell and @KeyframeDaily.
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Weekend links

Weekend links

Here’s a little campaign that is well worth supporting: Save the 35 Ken Russell BBC Films. Or, as the Facebook page (above) also – and more accurately – argues, Free the 35 BBC Films of Ken Russell. The late, great director made wonderful documentaries and drama-documentaries for the BBC between 1959 and 1968 (for details, start with Michael Brooke’s BFI ScreenOnline page). These include the much-loved Elgar, produced for Monitor in 1962 and repeated on BBC Four last week (available on iPlayer until 30 January). But thanks to extortionate commercial expectations from BBC Worldwide, not one of these films is legally available in the UK on DVD (although a number have been released in the USA). A decade back the BFI partnered with the BBC on releases of Elgar and Song of Summer (1968), but when it came time to re-licence these, the terms expected were such that the BFI had to discontinue the titles. So it’s a wholly worthwhile aim to try to get at least some of the films out into the world. Go to the campaign’s Facebook page for more – and go below for further links to interesting stuff.
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Cool for catalogues

Cool for catalogues

As I have blogged previously, the Reading Room initiative from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is terrific. This makes available for reading online a selection of the museum’s past catalogues. The ‘flippingbook’ format is perhaps not the easiest to use but crucially it preserves the illustrations, layout, typography and something of the materiality of these historical records. Now the Guggenheim has launched a similar initiative (the press release is here; thanks to @RebeccaJLittman for pointing me in the direction of this) as well as, intriguingly, a number of eBooks for the Kindle (priced at $1.99 each) created from curatorial essays. The e-book collection is a smart publishing initiative complementing a very smart and valuable free-to-access resource – and I can’t think of anything comparable from a British cultural institution.
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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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The best just got better

The best just got better

What’s the best museum or gallery in the world? You can say it depends what you mean by ‘best’, or you can respond by asking ‘best for what?’ But however you spin it, there’s really only one answer: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Its collections, from the ancient world to the contemporary, are simply unparalleled. The scholarship is exemplary. The exhibitions, essential. The displays, immaculate. The whole kit and kaboodle unrivalled. (For a taste, see my A Sunday at the museum post.) And now, with the press opening this week of fifteen (and this is the Met’s preferred title) Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia and Later South Asia – very roughly and problematically, ‘Islamic Art’ – the best just got a whole lot better.
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