Grateful Reverence for the Way Things Are

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For those who are interested in looking at lots and lots of art packed into one place, this weekend is the time to be in Houston. Two art fairs will be open there this Thursday through Sunday. The big one is the Texas Contemporary, which will be at the George Brown Convention Center. It opens Thursday night with a special preview party.

The Houston Art Fair at the Silver Street Event Space will also open on Thursday night with a preview party.

Art fairs have become one of the most common venues for buying and selling art throughout the world. It’s understandable, because potential collectors have a chance to see multiple dealers and a wide variety of styles and prices, all in one place.

Look for my new collage, Grateful Reverence for the Way Things Are in the Moody Gallery booth at the Texas Contemporary Fair at the George Brown Convention Center. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the letter is one addressed by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller to the I.R.S. back in the 1940’s. The collage was inspired by a Henry Church painting in her collection in Williamsburg.

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Mademoiselle

Madame Rubinstein and Barbizon Dreams

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Growing up in Houston in the 50s and 60s, our world was shaped not just by television but by the magazines and newspapers that arrived at the house- mainly my mom’s Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, House and Garden, Town and Country and Antiques Magazine.  My sister and I shared Children’s Highlights, National Geographic and later Seventeen and Mademoiselle.  We occasionally glimpsed at my dad’s Fortune and Wall Street Journal.  And of course we all shared Life magazine.

My sister and I were curious little girls and teenagers, poring over the images and text, looking for clues about life beyond Houston and what it’s like to be an adult. We viewed for the first time photographs by Irving Penn, Cecil Beaton and Richard Avedon without knowing their importance.

Our magazines regularly published writers such as Truman Capote, Joyce Carol Oates, William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, James Baldwin, Flannery O’Connor, Jane Smiley, Mary Gordon, Barbara Kingsolver, Alice Munro, and Jean Stafford, but we seldom payed much attention to those. We hadn’t started asking the big questions, questions of the deeper and sometimes darker things, of the things that last and the things that don’t.  

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If You Like John Waters, You Will Like This Movie

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If you like John Waters, you will like this movie. Torchsong was the first of Joan Crawford’s descent (?) into high camp, and it’s on TCM, Monday night at 7:00 PM. Even if you decide to watch the debate, you can at least catch an hour of it.

The movie was Joan Crawford’s return to MGM after a 10 year absence. Why did her old studio do this to her? I have always wondered if the director had it in for Joan, and why she agree to do the film.

Where do I start?  The Torchsong Joan is as mean as Veda in Mildred Pierce. She stomps and snarls throughout the movie. Her personality is as hard as your granite countertop. She even hates the seeing eye dog needed by her blind pianist, played by Michael Wilding. Joan’s costumes are odd and often the color combinations on screen are as well.

I can’t decide which of the musical numbers did her the greatest disservice. Because MGM was watching the budget, they opted not to commission new songs for this musical.

Why did they ask Joan to dance to the exact same arrangement of the song Burton Lane and Alan Jay Lerner had written two years earlier for Fred Astaire in the 1951 MGM musical, Royal Wedding?

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Tired of Politics? Catch These Classic Films

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You’re tired of politics and not a football fan? Then catch these classic films on Turner Movie Classics this weekend. I’m always surprised to learn how many friends have never seen some of the best movies ever made, just because they were made years ago. Here are four you don’t want to miss.

At 7:30 AM, CST Saturday morning is the film noir classic, The Postman Always Rings Twice  from 1946.  Adapted from the best selling novel by James M. Cain, it stars Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway, and Hume Cronyn. Lana Turner’s of course the femme fatale. When she shows up in her starched white shorts outfit, complete with turban and white pumps, she’s clearly not planning on spending the rest of her life helping her husband fry pork chops at the diner. She just might get dirty. It’s typical noir. People get used and people die.  It may be a little early in the morning for this kind of movie, so you can always record it to watch later.

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Go have lunch, but get back in time for Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd at 3:00.

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Star Wars’ George Lucas Founding Art Museum

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Back in 2013, no one knew who bought Norman Rockwell’s Saying Grace at Sotheby’s for a record $46 million dollars. Recently we’ve learned the mystery buyer was film maker, George Lucas, and that it’s one of 755 works of art designated as the initial “seed” collection for the new Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. The museum will eventually have access to the over 40,000 paintings, works on paper and film-related objects Lucas has collected over the past 40 years.

Negotiations to build the museum in Chicago failed, so Lucas is looking at San Francisco’s Treasure Island and Exposition Park in Los Angeles as possible locations. He’s wisely brought Don Bacigalupi, former director at Alice Walton’s Crystal Bridges Museum of Art,  in as founding president. Charles Desmarais, art critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, brings us up to date:

The project has acquired some of the significant trappings of any serious museum, with an informative website and a qualified board that includes the founder and prominent educators, museum professionals and business executives. In hiring Bacigalupi, the museum landed a strategic thinker about art and audience, and an articulate spokesman for the institution’s mission and raison d’etre; he will soon be joined by a new director of curatorial strategies and a director of film strategies.

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