John Wyver writes: Welcome to a handful of links to recent articles (no videos this week) that I have found engaging in the past few days. Not as compendious as some weeks (although I may add a few more a little later), but I hope you’ll find something to enliven the interregnum until New Year’s Day.
• Shondaland’s Regency – on Bridgerton: let’s start with an excellent piece by Patricia A. Matthew for LA Review of Books about Shonda Rhimes’ series (above), new on Netflix:
With such a diverse cast, Bridgerton not only enters the contemporary regency-era lexicon at a time when contemporary Black writers, artists, critics, and scholars have successfully punctured the myths about its homogeneity but also gives us a multicultural world that feels organic and allows its young characters of color their own bildungsroman.
• How Netflix changed the channel: by way of a review of No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer, Ian Leslie reflects on the success of the streaming service for New Statesman.
• “The manifesto was: let’s trust our heritage, our talent and each other”: Shabier Kirchner on shooting Small Axe: I missed this terrific interview with the Small Axe cinematographer by Aaron E. Hunt for Sight & Sound earlier in the month – it’s very well worth seeking out, as of course are the five Steve McQueen films, now on BBC iPlayer.
• A great deaf bear [£ but limited free access]: James Wood on Beethoven from the first 2021 edition of the LRB.
• The Age of Innocence at a moment of increased appetite for eating the rich: Hillary Kenny for The New Yorker re-reads Edith Wharton’s great chronicle of Gilded Age New York:
Novelists before Wharton understood that storytelling was an act of exposure, but she built it into the architecture of “The Age of Innocence” and weaponized it. And status made her story more than believable—it made the story real.
• The artists who re-designed a war-shattered Europe: a very fine Jason Farago New York Times review, with great images, of MoMA’s new show ‘Engineer, Agitator, Constructor: The Artist Reinvented‘, drawn from an exceptional collection of graphic arts of the 1920s and ’30s – another show that, like Matisse at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, I’m aching to see; thankfully, the MoMA website has 80 installation images and 21 audio recordings about individual works.
• Art Deco from the 1930s and 1980s – railway posters by Pierre Fix-Masseau: a simply gorgeous, informative feature by Arjan den Boer from Retours about the art of the French designer.
• Philip Guston’s discomfort zone [£ but limited free access]: for New York Review of Books, Susan Tallman asks about the late Abstract Expressionist master, ‘how is it that Philip Guston, dead these forty years, is still pushing our buttons?’
• Let’s start over: a rich and largely optimistic group of New York Times Opinion pieces about what life might be like in 2021, although it’s disappointing there’s not one about theatre and performance; of the ones I have read so far, Rhonda Garelick on the likely changes in the fashion world is especially good.