The Arts

Being Real

01/05/2001
Staff Writer

Growing up was never easy for copper-skinned Rebecca Walker, the trophy baby of a new America. Born in 1969, the “Movement Child” of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and activist Alice Walker and civil rights lawyer Mel Leventhal, Walker spent the first two decades of her life failing to fit into a country that still assumes fixed racial categories.

Split Infinitives

11/09/2001
Staff Writer

Pity poor Zeno, tormented by his weakness for cigarettes, guilt about his mistress and unresolved tensions with his father. At his psychoanalyst’s suggestion, Zeno writes his memoirs, but the result is the imperfect recollection of an intelligent man blindsided by swirling desires and frozen by inhibitions.

Zeno, the prematurely aged protagonist of Italian Jewish writer Italo Svevo’s comic masterpiece “Confessions of Zeno,” deeply resonated with William Kentridge when he first read the book in college.

Goldberg's Variations ... Not Bach

05/09/2003
Staff Writer

Legend has it that Johann Sebastian Bach composed the Baroque masterpiece known as the "Goldberg Variations" for an insomniac ambassador to be played on sleepless nights by the diplomat's teenage harpsichordist, Johann Gottlieb Goldberg (1727-1756).

The clarinetist Andy Biskin had Bach's work in mind when he playfully named his latest composition "Goldberg's Variations." But the only person losing sleep in this case was the composer himself.

The (Jewish) Mother Of DNA

04/18/2003
Staff Writer

In March 1953, Maurice Wilkins of the King's College London announced the departure of his colleague Rosalind Franklin in a private letter to his friend Francis Crick, a scientist at the rival Cavendish Laboratory. "Our dark lady is leaving us next week," Wilkins wrote.

'Wartime' For Hitler

04/11/2003
Staff Writer

Just as they had won over some of their harshest critics, the people behind an upcoming miniseries about Adolph Hitler find themselves on the defensive again.

This week's TV Guide quotes Ed Gernon, who was executive producer of "Hitler: The Rise of Evil," as characterizing the German leader's ascent to power as a cautionary tale for Americans today.

Giving Second Avenue Its Due

04/04/2003
Staff Writer

Think of the East Village, and the names Charlie Parker, Allen Ginsburg and even Emma Goldman come to mind. At least to the mind of Philip Hartman, a filmmaker and restaurateur who recently founded the Federation of East Village Artists "to honor the historic role of the East Village as the cradle of the city's, if not the world's counterculture," according to the group's press release.

Writers Without Borders

03/21/2003
Staff Writer

Just after the attacks of 9-11, as the intifada simmered outside, Peter Cole, a poet and publisher living in Jerusalem, sat down at the breakfast table to read the morning e-mail from New York. One message contained a verse by the great scholar Gershom Scholem, and it represented one of the first translations of Scholem's poetry into any language.

The View From Inside

03/14/2003
Staff Writer

For those who were spared the horrors of the Holocaust, the events that made up the Nazis' Final Solution persist as a collage of black-and-white images - documentary photographs taken by the Nazis to record their horrific achievements or film footage taken by the Allies as evidence of the tragedy they encountered at liberation. Even Steven Spielberg's cinematic rendering, "Schindler's List," preserved the duotone palette of historical Holocaust memory.

High Gloss

02/21/2003
Staff Writer

The Times Square tower where Conde Nast pumps out titles like The New Yorker and Vogue is a river away from Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where Jennifer Bleyer lives. It's a boundary that Bleyer is making very clear.

The third issue of Heeb, Bleyer's year-old magazine, hits the streets later this month with a striking disclaimer: "Please note that this is not a f-ing Conde Nast publication. It is a tiny independent venture, publishing by the skin of its teeth about twice a year on nothing that even resembles a schedule. Thank you for your patience."

I'll Be Your Mirror

02/14/2003
Staff Writer

The lineup for New York's newest blockbuster art exhibition begins this week as lucky ticket holders for "Matisse Picasso" make their way to the Museum of Modern Art's temporary digs in Long Island City. The retrospective exhibition promises to reward long waits in chilly winds with works that shaped modern art and a thrilling tale of one of the most creative rivalries in art history. Elsewhere in Queens, a different kind of thrill awaits viewers in an exhibition that offers a glimpse of art's future.

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