T+L's Arts Preview, 2005
Published: May 2009
T+L's arts preview—from rare drawings by Rubens and lobster telephones by Dalí, to eye-catching architecture in Porto, to premieres in London and Houston, and more.
EUROPE London Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600-1600 Royal Academy of Arts (through April 12). "A storm on horseback" was how one chronicler described the successive waves of Turkish warriors who swept from China to the Mediterranean, leaving in their wake magnificent architecture, paintings, manuscripts, and textiles. This unprecedented survey traces the legacy of conquerors whose influence spanned East and West and lasted a millennium. Lee Miller: Portraits National Portrait Gallery (Feb. 3-May 30). The American photographer Lee Miller's glamorous and engaged life led her from a successful New York modeling career to Surrealist circles in Paris to the front lines of World War II, which she photographed as a correspondent for British Vogue. In addition to her documents of war, this exhibition showcases her portraits of friends, lovers, and cultural luminaries such as Picasso and Man Ray. Stockholm Munch by Himself Moderna Museet (Feb. 19-May 15). A fascinating look at the development of Edvard Munch's self-portraits, from the Norwegian painter's early, elegant portrayals of himself as a striking fin de siècle dandy, to his intensely Expressionistic representations of the artist as victim or skeptic. Málaga Picasso/Toros Museo Picasso Málaga (March 31-July 3). The art of bullfighting, with its mixture of sensuality and violence, and the bull, that icon of snorting, heaving masculine desire, inspired Picasso throughout his long career. This focused show of paintings, drawings, and sculpture, from collections in Europe and the U.S., examines his passion for la corrida.
UNITED STATES New York Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640): The Drawings Metropolitan Museum of Art (through April 3). Celebrity, diplomat, and court painter, Peter Paul Rubens was also a master draftsman whose vibrant renderings of man and beast reveal in intimate form the progress of his singular talent. The retrospective focuses on these drawings and includes dozens that have never before left Vienna's Albertina Museum. Cy Twombly: Fifty Years of Works on Paper Whitney Museum of American Art (through May 8). New York art lovers have eagerly awaited this survey of works by American master Cy Twombly, whose haunting, delicate, and profoundly mysterious images, evoking sources as diverse as Abstract Expressionism, the classical world, and Neolithic cave paintings, have arrived at the Whitney after a lengthy European tour. Baltimore SlideShow Baltimore Museum of Art (Feb. 27-May 15). In the 1960's, slide shows—previously confined to darkened living rooms—became fertile fields for artistic experimentation. This groundbreaking exhibition explores the aesthetics of a nearly obsolete technology with avant-garde works by an international group of artists and photographers, including Nan Goldin and Dan Graham. Philadelphia Salvador Dalí Philadelphia Museum of Art (Feb. 16-May 15). Despite Dalí's immense public acclaim, his impact on contemporary art remains underestimated. This retrospective, ranging over seven decades of subversive and Surrealist activity, includes 150 paintings, as well as sculptures, drawings, films, theater designs, writings, and collaborations. Chicago Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist's Eye Museum of Contemporary Art (Feb. 12-June 5). An ambitious museum-wide survey explores the links between tourism and contemporary art, focusing on a range of globally mobile artists, such as Maurizio Cattelan, Anish Kapoor, and Rirkrit Tiravanija, who make work in response to their experience of different cultures. Expect visual pleasure and intellectual delights. Santa Monica Jacques-Louis David: Empire to Exile Getty Center (Feb. 1-April 24). One of three exhibitions at the Getty devoted to the preeminent artist of the French Revolution and his colleagues, who, like him, found inspiration in both Roman classical models and contemporary upheavals. This is the first to examine David's late career as propagandist to Napoleon and his exile in Belgium.
Here and abroad, arts institutions are unveiling gleaming new buildings and striking expansions of their existing sites.
UNITED STATES Strathmore, Maryland William Rawn Associates, which created the "modern barn" look of Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, designed the new 1,978-seat concert hall known as the Music Center at Strathmore (www.strathmore.org), located just outside the Beltway in North Bethesda, to suggest the area's hilly landscape. The maple seating (which wraps around the concert platform), walls and floor of red birch, and bronze mesh on the walls all promise resonant acoustics. On February 5, conductor Yuri Temirkanov and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra inaugurate the year-round performing arts center with a premiere by American composer Michael Hersch. Minneapolis The Walker Art Center (www.walkerart.org), a Midwestern temple of Modernism housed since 1971 in an Edward Larrabee Barnes brick building, opens a major expansion on April 17. The Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron doubled the museum's size with new galleries, a 385-seat theater, a renovated cinema, and a restaurant from Wolfgang Puck. They also added a high-tech luster, with embossed aluminum-mesh panels and a 60-foot-long ribbon of etched glass along Hennepin Avenue that doubles as a giant video screen.
EUROPE Porto, Portugal Designed by Rem Koolhaas and Ellen van Loon, Casa da Musica (www.casadamusica.com) is more architectural fun house than cozy "house of music." The concrete faceted polyhedron holds a 1,250-seat Grand Auditorium with glass walls and views of the city; a 315-seat Small Auditorium; and a Cybermusic Arena, where artists can install multimedia projects and composers produce electronic works. The interiors are pure Koolhaas: jarring textures, colors, and patterns, including the VIP room's Portuguese-tile murals. Performances by resident ensembles begin April 14.
EUROPE London National Anthems Old Vic Theatre (Feb. 1-April 23; 44-8700/606-628; www.oldvictheatre.com). In a role he first performed 15 years ago, Kevin Spacey plays a working-class character who intrudes on the suburban household of an affluent couple, portrayed by Steven Weber and Mary Stuart Masterson, in the British premiere of playwright Dennis McIntyre's parable of American materialism. Macbeth Almeida Theatre (through March 5; 44-207/359-4404; www.almeida.co.uk). Three luminaries of the English-speaking theater join forces in a new production of Shakespeare's Scottish play. Simon Russell Beale takes on the title role, with Emma Fielding as Lady Macbeth; John Caird directs. A Life in the Theatre Apollo Theatre (opens Feb. 2; 44-207/494-5070). In the West End, art still imitates life. Joshua Jackson (best known as Pacey on Dawson's Creek) makes his London debut in the role of a young actor who learns at the feet of a stage veteran, portrayed by Patrick Stewart.
UNITED STATES New York City Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Imperial Theatre (opens March 3; 212/239-6200; www.dirtyrottenscoundrelsthemusical.com). A rollicking musical version of the movie that starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin comes to Broadway. This time around, John Lithgow and Norbert Leo Butz are the scheming gigolos who con women on the French Riviera. Moonlight and Magnolias Manhattan Theatre Club (March 29-May 22; 212/581-1212; www.mtc-nyc.org). Playwright Ron Hutchinson's comedy acts out an apocryphal scenario: What happens when producer David O. Selznick demands a rewrite of Gone with the Wind two weeks before shooting and locks a writer and director in a room to accomplish the seemingly impossible?Lynne Meadow directs the mayhem. Los Angeles As You Like It Ahmanson Theatre (Feb. 7-March 27; 213/628-2772; www.taperahmanson.com) Sir Peter Hall directs Shakespeare's enduring, gender-bending comedy for the first time in his distinguished career. At least one member of the cast is familiar: his daughter, Rebecca Hall, luminous in the role of Rosalind.
UNITED STATES Los Angeles Roméo et Juliette Dorothy Chandler Pavilion (Jan. 29-Feb. 23; 213/972-8001; www.losangelesopera.com). This adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy by 19th-century French composer Charles Gounod has two of opera's most glamorous and talented young singers, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko and Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón, in the title roles. Conductor Frédéric Chaslin leads this new production at the Los Angeles Opera. Houston Lysistrata Wortham Theater (March 4-19; 800/626-7372; www.houstongrandopera.org). The Houston Grand Opera is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of premieres, including Lysistrata (or, The Nude Goddess), by American composer Mark Adamo, based on Aristophanes' renowned make-love-not-war satire. New York City Visions of the Beyond New York Philharmonic (March 17-April 16; 212/875-5656; www.nyphil.org). As part of a four-week festival that considers questions of existence, guest conductor Kent Nagano will conduct the New York Philharmonic, March 24 through 26, in performances of Messiaen's luxuriant Éclairs sur l'au-delà (Illuminations of the Beyond), which requires 130 musicians. A who's who of conductors lead other concerts: Charles Dutoit, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Riccardo Muti. A Festival of International Competition Winners Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (April 14-17; 212/570-3949; www.metmuseum.org). For more than 50 years, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has helped launch the careers of leading musicians. In April, it produces an unprecedented event: four days of recitals by six young first-prize winners. Among them: Severin von Eckardstein (the Queen Elisabeth, in Belgium), Boris Giltburg (Spain's Paloma O'Shea Santander), and Olga Kern (the Van Cliburn in Texas). Call the festival a prelude to the highly anticipated Twelfth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, which this year meets May 20 through June 5 in Fort Worth (Bass Performance Hall; 800/462-7979; www.cliburn.org).
EUROPE London 1984 Royal Opera House (May 3-19; 44-207/304-4000; www.roh.org.uk). Conductor Lorin Maazel is also a composer, and his first opera, with a libretto by J. D. McClatchy and Thomas Meehan, is based on George Orwell's mordant novel of government gone bad. Robert Lepage directs baritone Simon Keenlyside as the doomed Winston Smith and soprano Nancy Gustafson as his love Julia, with Richard Margison as O'Brien, the evil instrument of Big Brother.
August Strindberg is most widely known as a playwright, and London's National Theatre presents A Dream Play, his Surrealistic drama and the author's "most beloved" work. The new English-language version is by British dramatist Caryl Churchill (Feb. 15-May 15; www.nt-online.org). But Strindberg was also a talented visual artist. The Tate Modern assembles 150 paintings, photographs, drawings, and sculptures by the Swedish polymath in an exhibition that runs concurrently with the play (Feb. 17-May 15; www.tate.org.uk). • In Berlin, the Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin (through April 11; www.gropiusbau.de) examines the legacy of the legendary movie director Stanley Kubrick with an exhibition that includes scripts, costume designs, cameras, equipment used for special effects, and the Star Child from 2001: A Space Odyssey. And the 55th International Film Festival Berlin (Feb. 10-20; www.berlinale.de), which features production design as this year's theme, screens many of Kubrick's movies, among them Lolita and Full Metal Jacket.
New York Hugo Boss Prize Guggenheim Museum (March 8May 11; 212/423-3500; www.guggenheim.org). An exhibition devoted to Rirkrit Tiravanija, the latest recipient of this award, given every two years to a contemporary artist. Born in Buenos Aires and raised in, among other places, Thailand and Ethiopia, Tiravanija has installed an auto repair shop in a Swiss museum and served vegetable curry to Chelsea gallery-goers—and then invited them into a reconstruction of his East Village apartment. What will he think of next?New Haven William Hodges, 17441797: The Art of Exploration Yale Center for British Art (through April 24; 203/432-2800; www.yale.edu/ycba). The first retrospective dedicated to 18th-century landscape painter William Hodges, who accompanied the celebrated explorer Captain James Cook on trips to Polynesia, Antarctica, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. In these stunning tableaux, Hodges conjures up the sublime beauty and danger of these virginal worlds for his European audience. Philadelphia Philadelphia in Full View: American Painting and Sculpture (17202005) Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (through April 10; 215/972-7600; www.pafa.org). Founded when the American Revolution was still a recent memory, the nation's oldest art museum and school celebrates its 200th anniversary with its most extensive display to date of American masterpieces by Charles Wilson Peale, Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, and others, as well as the opening of a new building to house its postwar collection.
New York Joan Weill Center for Dance (212/405-9000; www.alvinailey.org). After 47 years, New York City's pioneering Ailey American Dance Theater unveils its first permanent home on March 2. Located just a few blocks from the new Time Warner Center, the gleaming glass-sheathed six-story building draws inspiration from Texas-born Ailey's signature dance work Revelations, in which a river of billowing blue fabric ripples across the stage. Architects Iu + Bibliowicz have capped the building with white "veils." Inside is a 295-seat theater for performances by visiting dance companies. The Ailey troupe will continue to tour; this month, the company visits Los Angeles, Palm Springs, and Phoenix. Chattanooga The Hunter Museum of American Art (423/267-0968; www.huntermuseum.org), with a collection that spans Hudson River School painting to contemporary glass sculpture, unveils an addition by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout on April 23. The Frank Gehry alum added a lively glass, oxidized zinc, and stainless-steel wing onto the original Hunter, a genteel 1905 Neoclassical mansion. Stout's architecture reflects the museum's setting: a limestone bluff towering 80 feet above the Tennessee River. Beyond a glass-walled lobby are galleries for temporary exhibitions, an auditorium, and outdoor sculpture terraces and a café overlooking Chattanooga's riverfront.
Washington, D.C. Regina Kennedy Center (March 1012; 202/467-4600; www.kennedy-center.org). Patti LuPone brings star power to a semi-staged concert of Marc Blitzstein's operatic adaptation of The Little Foxes, Lillian Hellman's sharp tale of a ruthless Southern family in the midst of a changing era. The production is part of the center's series A New America: The 1940's & the Arts. San Francisco The Sweetest Swing in Baseball Magic Theatre (through February 20; 415/441-8822; www.magictheatre.org). In the difficult world of the contemporary New York art scene, an artistically (and emotionally) blocked woman painter takes inspiration from the unlikeliest of sources: the bad boy of baseball Daryl Strawberry, whose personality she assumes. Amy Glazer directs the American premiere.
Boston The Flying Dutchman Boston Symphony Hall (March 1115; 617/266-1492; www.bso.org). As the new music director of the Boston Symphony, James Levine can bring the resources of the venerable orchestra to concert performances of opera, including Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, with Finnish baritone Juha Uusitalo in the title role and Deborah Voigt as Senta. New York The Pearl Fishers New York City Opera (April 1022; 212/307-4100; www.nycopera.com). By comparison with Carmen, Bizet's opera, set in ancient Sri Lanka, is rarely produced. A high priestess, Leila, portrayed by soprano Mary Dunleavy, is at the center of a love triangle that includes two pearl fishers, at first friends, then rivals. Evocative in a different way is Puccini's La fanciulla del west (The Girl of the Golden West), where a saloon keeper, Minnie, who is beloved by a town of California gold miners, unknowingly falls in love with a bandit. Set during gold rush days, the opera is adapted from a play by the American dramatist David Belasco (also at New York City Opera; April 323). New York Faust Metropolitan Opera (April 21May 21; 212/362-6000; www.metopera.org). Tenor Roberto Alagna takes his turn in the title role of the wayward scholar, with bass Rene Pape as his foil Méphistophélès. Andrei Serban stages the Met's new production of Gounod's opera. Sets and costumes are by Santo Loquasto. James Levine conducts.