Next week, Neil LaBute’s play The Shape of Things (2001) becomes the latest in a line of staged readings to grace the Phillips’s narrow but noble stage. Shakespeare Theatre Company‘s Alan Paul directs this one-night-only art-world drama in an art-world context. Here is our cheat sheet to prepare for the program (other than, ahem, reserve your tickets):
1. Ask yourself soul-searching questions, like “what would I do for love?” and “how far would I go for art?”
3. Read up on art projects that involve transformations of the human body–the play made us think about ORLAN especially.
4. Watch the 2003 movie (or take a shortcut with the trailer below), starring Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz. LaBute directs the original cast with whom he had premiered the play at London’s Almeida Theatre two years earlier.
5. Listen to some Elvis Costello. The Grammy Award-winning English singer-songwriter wrote the brooding, abrasive soundtrack for the 2003 film.
In light of all the talk at work about Jasper Johns and targets, I feel compelled to admit that I love Target . . . the store. I go there at least twice a week, and on a recent visit with my son, we stumbled across this Andy Warhol-inspired display by Campbell’s Soup. The company produced 1.2 million brightly colored, limited-edition cans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Warhol’s 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans. For just 75 cents, you can purchase this bit of art and pop culture paraphernalia. But I’d suggest you hurry–when we were there, another shopper was buying a whole case to give as holiday gifts!
My son shopping for Warhol-inspired Campbell’s Soup. Photo: Brooke Rosenblatt
Exhibition announcement outside the Pinacothèque de Paris. Photo: Brooke Rosenblatt
I’ve had a soft spot for Modigliani ever since the 2005 Phillips exhibition (and I suspect Paul does too). The Pinacothèque’s exhibition features the collection of Jonas Netter, a trademark agent who amassed his collection in Paris in the 1920s. His drawings and paintings by Modigliani blew me away! I also had my first opportunity to see a painting by Modigliani’s partner, Jeanne Hébuterne.
While I loved looking at the artwork, what surprised me most during my visit is the way that the Pinacothèque conducts tours. Not surprisingly, the exhibition was crowded–think wall-to-wall people. Entering one of the galleries, I saw a group of about twenty focused on what I presumed to be a tour guide. As an educator, I tend to be one of those people who glom onto tours, so I tried to listen in but didn’t hear anything. That’s when I realized everyone in the group was listening to the guide through a handheld device and headset.
I was somewhat disappointed that I couldn’t eavesdrop, but at the same time, this method was a revelation! The galleries were extremely full, and the Pinacothèque’s system provided a tour for those who wanted it, while not disturbing visitors who preferred to look at the art on their own. I spoke with the guide after the tour, and she confirmed that the devices deliver great sound quality.
The experience delighted me, especially as we have just started using assistive listening devices in the galleries at the Phillips. While we don’t yet have enough devices for each person on a tour to have his or her own, the system has been very well-received by those who have used it. Personally, I enjoy using it when I’m an a very crowded tour; it eliminates a lot of background noise and focuses me on the guide’s remarks.