Links for the weekend

21st April 2013

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.

New Amsterdam: along with the Met show, I’m pretty keen also to get to the re-opened Rijksmuseum, about which you can read courtesy of Peter Schjeldahl for The New Yorker; standing in front of Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’ he experiences ‘a moment of fancying the almost hundred-and-eighty-five-square-foot canvas as a raft for the self-respect of Western civilization’.

Review – L.A.’s satisfying sprawl: and, yes, here’s one more museum show I want to see, Overdrive: L.A. constructs the future, 1940-1990 at The Getty Centre in Los Angeles; here, L.A. Times critic Christopher Hawthorne reviews this ‘big, sprawling and somewhat over-stuffed’ study of the city’s modern architecture.

The jarring reality and artful beauty of photography: also from the L.A. Times, a thoughtful essay on war photography from critic Geoff Dyer.

The rules of the game – a century of Hollywood publicity: only just catching up with this, a long, reflective and fascinating five-act piece by Anne Helen Petersen for the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Surface, sociopaths and Spring Breakers: thanks too to @annehelen (Petersen) for highlighting Jeffrey Sconce’s remarkable post at ludic despair.

The Paris of ’50s noir – Becker, Dassin and Melville: this is an absolutely wonderful post from the Cine-Tourist about what we see of Paris in three great French crime films of the 1950s, one of which is Jacques Becker’s 1954 classic Touchez pas au grisbi

A great Cold War movie: David Denby for The New Yorker is very good on the 1965 film version of John Le Carré’s The Spy who Came in from the Cold, which is an excuse for another great trailer…

Double vision – the joys of twin projection cinema; William Fowler looks forward to this coming Wednesday and two programmes of twin-projection films in NFT1 at BFI Southbank.

The return of the Flipside: also from BFI, Sam Dunn acts as barker for his series of DVD and Blu-ray releases of cult films which is extending our sense of the boundaries of British cinema history.

Why filmmakers need to act more like rock stars: Marc Schiller at Indiewire has some smart advice about self-distribution and ways of turning movie screenings into live events.

Cinema as social practice – confessions of a cinephile: a terrific piece by Jonathan Rosenbaum that links growing up in a house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright with the death of cinema as a ‘kaleidoscopic, democratic institution’.

People being stupid about Shakespeare VI: now this is a serious (and brilliantly engaging) take-down by Holger Syme at dispositio of Nicholas Hytner’s recent Guardian article about his new production of Othello, described by Syme as ‘chock-full of strange claims, mischaracterizations, exaggerations, and ill-informed observations’; definitely one of this week’s essential reads.

Clearing the men’s room for Thatcher: in a lovely piece for the blog of the New York Review of Books the China correspondent Jonathan Mirsky muses on why he was invited to Wednesday’s funeral.

Diary: Peter Pomerantsev in the London Review of Books on the last days of Boris Bereszhovsky.

History lessons: from Frieze, Malcolm LeGrice on the history of Central St Martins art school.

• London Book Fair – Neil Gaiman keynote: a half-hour talk by the celebrated author about – what else? – the future of the book; Frank Rose at Deep Mediaprovides an intro and gives you a sense of why it’s worth watching.

Mixed metaphors: … and here’s Philip Jones reporting for FutureBook on the conference at which Neil Gaiman spoke.

Proms digital guide: Laura Davis, publications editor for the BBC Proms, on using iBooks Author to create a downloadable version of the official Proms guide, available for iPads here at a cost of £4.99.

Why no one clicked on the great Hypertext story: apart from anything else, this Steven Johnson piece at Wired has a really smart online layout, but for those of us who remember the excitement about Hypertext (and for those who don’t) this is well worth reading…

afternoon’s legacy: … as is this reply to Johnson by Mark Marino at Writer’s Response Therapy.

• The National Digital Public Library is launched: Robert Darnton in the New York Review of Books welcomes theDigital Public Library of America.

Tyrannical loops – the inappropriateness of instant replay in the wake of destruction: Chris Baraniuk at The Machine Starts on the worrying aspects of Vine and the like when applied to the terrible reality of an event like the Boston marathon bombing.

Is your social media editor destroying your news organisation today?: one of the best early analysis pieces about social media ion the swirl of events in Boston this past week, from Choire Sicha for The Awl.

Boston bombing – how internet detectives got it very wrong: another good piece about Boston, this time from Dave Lee at BBC News.


  1. Paul Tickell says:

    Thanks for the link where Holger Syme exposes the intellectual shortcomings of Nicholas Hytner pontificating about Shakespeare. For an even more hilarious take on his petit-bourgeois mentality and on his court of servile retainers at the National Theatre, see composer Luke Haines’ satirical memoir POST EVERYTHING where he recounts the trials and tribulations of having a musical work-shopped there. To ‘protect’ the guilty, Haines calls everyone at the NT ‘Graham’ or a variation thereon, whether he’s caricaturing the big boss, a yeah-saying director or a fence-sitting literary manager, or whether it’s a male or a female employee in his sights…. In my years of involvement with the various culture industries – music, fashion, film, tv or books – I have encountered conservatism and banality aplenty but in the theatre it’s on a whole other scale. Hytner is far from alone in the smugness and superficiality which Syme and Haines expose – anyone for Sam Mendes on THE TEMPEST?

  2. The link titled “The jarring reality and artful beauty of photography” was fantastic. I have always thought war time photography is incredibly interesting and captivating.

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