Films at The Phillips: Hold Me Down

Filmed in the locations where the events depicted actually occurred; in the Mott Haven Housing Projects and in an actual brothel, and features a cast of non-actors / women survivors of sexual exploitation and domestic violence, Hold Me Down depicts a day in the life of a 19-year-old single mother in the Bronx who works as a stripper at an illegal nightclub to support her child.

Written and directed by Swedish director Niclas Gillis, Hold Me Down was made with support from The Swedish Film Institute, Sveriges Television, and IFP. Following its world premiere at the Gothenburg International Film Festival, Hold Me Down has been celebrated for its authoritative realism and the outstanding performances of the cast.

The Phillips Collection will be hosting a screening of Hold Me Down on Thursday, October 18, at 6 pm. Following the film, the director Niclas Gillis will be in conversation with Klaus Ottmann, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Academic Affairs at The Phillips Collection. Tickets available.

Nordic Impressions Opens to the Public this Saturday at The Phillips

Nordic Impressions is a major survey of Nordic art spanning nearly 200 years and presenting 53 artists. The exhibition celebrates the incredible artistic diversity of Nordic art, from idealized paintings of the distinctive Nordic light and untouched landscape to melancholic portraits in quiet interiors and mesmerizing video works that explore the human condition.

While the question of what constitutes a distinctively Nordic art has been a constant debate, the art in the exhibition retains a certain mystique and focus on themes that have held a special place in Nordic culture for centuries: light and darkness, inner life and exterior space, the coalescence of nature and folklore, and women’s rights and social liberalism.

(Finland) Akseli Gallen-Kallela, The Defense of The Sampo, 1896, Tempera on canvas, 48 x 49 3/16 in., Turku Art Museum

(Finland) Akseli Gallen-Kallela, The Defense of The Sampo, 1896, Tempera on canvas, 48 x 49 3/16 in., Turku Art Museum

The exhibition pays tribute to the artistic excellence of Nordic painters from the Golden Age and Romantic era, follows the artists who balanced nationalism and French influence, explores the influx of experimental and conceptual art, and considers the international platform of artists of today. Nordic Impressions demonstrates how Nordic artists have inspired each other across national boundaries while honoring deeply rooted cultural traditions.

Nordic Impressions opens on October 13 and runs through January 13.

Larrakitj Poles

Larrakitj Poles in Marking the Infinite. Photo: Lee Stalsworth

Larrakitj Poles in Marking the Infinite. Photo: Lee Stalsworth

Larrakitj were once created by the Yolngu (indigenous peoples from the northeastern Arnhem Land region) to house the bones of their dead. For these traditional burial poles, only the most perfectly symmetrical hollow trunk eucalyptus trees were used. Once stripped of bark, the surface would be decorated with detailed paintings intended to guide the deceased to their spiritual home. Larrakitj still play an important role in Yolngu mortuary rites and memorial practices, but no longer function as receptacles for human remains. In the 1980s, artists began making Larrakitj for the art market, departing from the strict conventions of ceremonial design. They became less concerned with symmetry and, in the 2000s, began exploring the surface features of the trunk, utilizing imperfections as integral parts of its expressive form.

Nonggirrnga Marawili’s works (as seen in top image) often reference the four key elements of Madarrpa Law: lightning, fire, water, and rock. Cascading diamonds convey water and fire; jagged lines are reminiscent of lightning; dark shapes indicate rocks; and white dots suggest sea spray or the barnacles adorning rocks. Each of these elements is connected to specific ancestral events in Madarrpa country. While Marawili alludes to the visual conventions of ceremonial painting, she ultimately represents her own interpretations. In doing so, the artist demonstrates the deep connection that Yolngu ancestral forces have to their lands as well as to their identity. The Yolngu word “Yurr’yun” refers to the water marks produced by a powerful wave crushing against a rock, from splashes to droplets to mist.

This work is on view in Marking the Infinite: Contemporary Women Artists from Aboriginal Australia through September 9, 2018.