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Archive for September, 2010

Review: Citrus Country by John Brandon

Book Review
Fiction
Citrus County
By John Brandon
McSweeney’s Rectangulars; $22; 224 pages.

citrusBy Gina Webb

John Brandon likes his geography slightly warped — half-real, half-fictional corners of the rural South where almost anything might happen. He names his books after their locations: “Arkansas” (2008) and now, “Citrus County.”

The Gulf Coast native sets his newest in a desolate Florida backwater populated by rednecks, scorpions and missing dogs, a town where “you couldn’t keep anything unless you had a good hiding spot for it.”

He zeroes in on a handful of brooding misfits, two of whom are in middle school and one who teaches there, all of them eyeing the skies for something that will turn their disappointing, meaningless, mind-numbing existence into authentic gold. In a place where even the insects are “creatures with stingers and pincers and scorn in their hearts, ” you just know that whatever comes along to do the job is not going to be pretty.

Toby McNurse, at 14, would …

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How the MacArthur Foundation finds its ‘geniuses’

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

On  Tuesday, Atlanta sculptor Elizabeth Turk was named as one of 23 recipients of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “genius grants.”

Turk, 48, will receive an award of $500,000, paid quarterly over five years, from the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. There are no strings attached and no oversight from the foundation, which has made the grants for 30 years. Grantees aren’t even required to report how they spend the money.

We asked MacArthur Fellows director Daniel Socolow,  a part-time Atlantan, to tell us how it decides who gets the surprise grants.

Q: So, the folks who receive the grants have no idea the MacArthur Foundation has been considering them?

A: It’s one of the most amazing things that drops out of the sky on people who have no idea we’ve been looking at them. You get one call from me: I say, “Guess what, we’ve been looking at you. We think you’re terrific, we think the work you do is fantastic and …

Continue reading How the MacArthur Foundation finds its ‘geniuses’ »

Watch out: High to add Dalí masterwork on Nov. 16

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Enlarge photo

The Persistence of Memory. 1931. Oil on canvas, 9 1/2 x 13".

The Persistence of Memory. 1931. Oil on canvas, 9 1/2 x 13″.

Time to set your melting watches.

One of Salvador Dalí’s best-known surrealist masterworks, “The Persistence of Memory,” will be added to the High Museum of Art’s popular exhibit “Dali: The Late Work” on Nov. 16.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned that New York’s Museum of Modern Art will lend the Atlanta museum the iconic painting, which depicts melting timepieces and a swarm of ants, among other curious visual elements, set against a backdrop of the golden cliffs of Dali’s home in Spain’s Catalonia region. The High will make the announcement Tuesday.

In his autobiography “The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí,” the artist recounted painting “Persistence” after dinner one evening in 1931 while his wife, Gala, was out at a movie. Dalí was looking at a landscape he had started, trying to think of something fantastical to insert into it. His eyes …

Continue reading Watch out: High to add Dalí masterwork on Nov. 16 »

Booth Museum exhibit shows Ansel Adams’ true nature

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

CARTERSVILLE — There are pages upon pages of posters of Ansel Adams’ Old Faithful photographs available for sale on the Web. But none capture the wonder of that natural wonder quite as well as the potent 1942 image — a furious white eruption cast against a foreboding black sky — in a just-opened exhibition at the Booth Western Art Museum.

Georgia O’Keeffe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, 1937, Photograph by Ansel Adams, Collection Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, © 2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Courtesy of Booth Western Art Museum Georgia O’Keeffe and Orville Cox, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona, 1937, Photograph by Ansel Adams, Collection Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, © 2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California, 1944, Photograph by Ansel Adams, Collection Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, © 2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

Courtesy of Booth Western Art Museum Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine, California, 1944, Photograph by Ansel Adams, Collection Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, © 2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

Rose and Driftwood, San Francisco, 1932, Photograph by Ansel  Adams, Collection Center for Creative Photography, University  of Arizona, © 2010 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Courtesy of Booth Western Art Museum Rose and …

Continue reading Booth Museum exhibit shows Ansel Adams’ true nature »

Makers of famed art paper honored with Paper Museum exhibit

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Kathryn and Howard Clark aren’t household names, but they loom large in the worlds of paper-making and hand-made fine art books. The founders of Twinrocker Paper Mill in Indiana will attend the 5-7 p.m. Thursday opening reception of the exhibit “Twinrocker: Forty Years of Hand Papermaking” at the Robert C. Williams Paper Museum on the Georgia Tech campus, 500 10th St. N.W., Atlanta.

Among artists represented in the show (through Dec. 17) are Robert Rauschenberg, Sally Mann, Louise Bourgeois, Jasper Johns, Jim Dine, Chuck Close, Willem de Kooning and Larry Rivers.

“Twinrocker has been and will continue to be a studio where artists can invent, improve and experiment with paper,” Kathryn Clark said.  “When we started, we sought to lead handcraft techniques to new artistic ends.  We wanted to encourage the revival of hand papermaking in America.  Twinrocker still works toward these goals.”

The Williams Paper Museum exhibit is free. …

Continue reading Makers of famed art paper honored with Paper Museum exhibit »

Kenny Leon to make feature film directorial debut with true story of rape, mistaken identity

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Atlanta director Kenny Leon, whose Broadway mounting of August Wilson’s “Fences” won a Tony this year for best revival, has been selected as director of his first feature film.

Leon will direct  “Cotton,” an independent feature based on the memoir “Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption” by rape victim Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and the man she mistakenly accused, Ronald Cotton.

Production is expected to start early next year, and Leon told the AJC on Tuesday that he “would love to see ‘Cotton’ shot in the South, maybe Georgia, but that has not been decided.”

Artistic director of Atlanta’s Kenny Leon’s True Colors Theatre Company, Leon has been inching closer to Hollywood in recent years, after shooting the 2008 TV movie of “Raisin in the Sun” (based on his hit Broadway revival) and episodes of “The Ghost Whisperer” and “Private Practice” last season.

Producer David Friendly said that he sought out Leon while he was in …

Continue reading Kenny Leon to make feature film directorial debut with true story of rape, mistaken identity »

High curator Labaco hired away by New York design museum

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Ronald Labaco, the High Museum of Art’s curator of decorative arts and design since 2007, is departing Atlanta to become part of the curatorial team at New York’s  Museum of Arts and Design.

It’s the second loss of a curator of impact  for the High in recent months. In August, photography curator Julian Cox left the High, where he had worked since 2005, to become the founding curator of photography for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and chief curator of its de Young Museum.

“I am thrilled to be joining such a talented and distinguished team, and to find ways to further push the envelope with them,” Labaco said in a statement released by the Museum of Arts and Design.

Like Cox, Labaco is credited with mounting strong exhibits while building his respective area of the High’s collection. Though he did not organize the recent touring show “European Design Since 1985: Shaping the New Century” that handsomely filled the High’s Anne Cox …

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Puppetry center seeks photos, memories to tell its history

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The Center for Puppetry Arts’ marks its 32nd anniversary on Sept. 23 and is looking forward with a book project that looks back.

With an eye to producing an illustrated history of the Midtown institution for its 35th anniversary, education director Alan Louis is asking Atlantans to share images and information from the Midtown institution.

Of special interest to the puppetry center:

  • Photos, slides and stories from its 32 years, especially Jim Henson on opening day, September 23, 1978, and the as well as anything historic from Vagabond Marionettes (1966 through the late 1980s).
  • The sign on the lawn for “The Art of The Muppets Exhibit” in 1981.
  • Any photos of Vagabond’s first touring van (1966-69) that had “Here Comes Big Steve” painted across the front of it.
  • Any photos of the Vagabond Marionettes performing at the Lenox Square Auditorium or Theatre Atlanta (now Center Stage). Any photos of Vince Anthony and Vagabond …

Continue reading Puppetry center seeks photos, memories to tell its history »

What national critics are saying about High’s Dalí exhibit

By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

The High Museum of Art appears to be engineering a deeper appreciation for Salvador Dalí, according to reviews and commentary from national publications and blogs sparked by its exhibition “Dalí: The Late Work.”
Critical response is running favorable (with some reservations), much like the take of AJC freelance critic Catherine Fox, who termed the show “illuminating, fascinating and fun.” The New York Times’ recent review by staff critic Roberta Smith, headlined “Antics Aside, a Dalí of Constant Ambition,” was especially head-turning with its strongly positive assessment.
A look at some opinions:

  • Roberta Smith, The New York Times: The High exhibit “largely lays waste to the presumption that late Dalí is bad Dalí.

“Dalí is overwhelmingly present — in photographs, on film, in quotations emblazoned on the wall — and is often fairly obnoxious, eyes abulge, signature mustache adroop.  [However,] once the art takes over, this is a terrific, even …

Continue reading What national critics are saying about High’s Dalí exhibit »

High Museum gives 21 Georgia works, publications to MOCA GA

 By Howard Pousner
hpousner@ajc.com

Helping a sister institution fill gaps in its collection, the High Museum of Art has transferred ownership of 21 works by 14 Georgia artists to the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia. The paintings, from the 1940s to ’70s, are by artists including Lamar Dodd, Ben Shute, Gladene Tucker, Shirley Bolton and Ferdinand Warren.

“Through the transfer of these works to MOCA GA, whose mission celebrates the contemporary art of Georgia, we are excited that Atlanta and regional communities will have greater access to view and study these artists and their work,” said High director of collections and exhibitions David Brenneman in a release.

Added MOCA GA president and director Annette Cone-Skelton: “This collaboration between MOCA GA and the High is significant and an important step for the arts,”

The High also has transferred more than 700 duplicate publications about contemporary and world art to MOCA GA, which is developing a reference library …

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