Art News Headlines: March 6, 2011

Paris Through the Window by Marc Chagall, 1913 Oil on canvas, 53 1/2 x 55 3/4 inches

For the past few years, the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been offering focused close-ups of its exceptional holdings of early modernist art, including past installations of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. Now this impressive sequence continues, fittingly, with “Paris Through the Window: Marc Chagall and His Circle,” a look at the émigré artists from Eastern Europe who helped to define Paris as the center of the artistic avant-garde. Chagall is responsible for more than a third of the 70 paintings, sculptures, and works on paper that make up the exhibition in the museum’s Perelman building. Only five works, including several major paintings by Chagall, are loans. Picasso is noticeably absent from the show because the two greats emerged from different circles.

A new exhibit from Italy that opened Friday at New York’s Discovery Times Square captures the final gasp of the ancient city of Pompeii before it was buried under volcanic ash, mud and rock when Mount Vesuvius erupted 2,000 years ago. The eerie exhibit chronicling this famous tragedy includes copies of body casts that researchers created from the skeletal remains of Pompeii’s residents buried alive—among these are a crouching man covering his mouth, a chained dog, and a family of four huddling together. “Pompeii The Exhibit: Life and Death in the Shadow of Vesuvius” also features a short film recreating what Pompeians might have felt as they tried to flee the ash, including a vibrating museum floor. Judith Harris, exhibition consultant and Pompeii expert commented, “The exhibition provides a complete picture of life in an ancient city. No archaeological excavation gives the totality of life like Pompeii.”

Collectrium phone app

This past weekend, iPhone-toting visitors to New York art fairs Pulse, SCOPE, VOLTA NY, Fountain, and Moving Image experienced a “next-gen” mobile technology that recognizes artworks. Visitors to the fairs equipped with the Collectrium mobile app had the ability to point their iPhone at any registered artwork exhibited at the fair and instantly receive extensive information on the artist and the piece, share with friends via email and social media outlets, and even contact the gallery about the artwork. Essentially, art lovers were able to walk away from the fairs with their own virtual gallery of artwork. This revolutionary app meshes nicely with Google’s recent initiative to catalogue various beloved works of art in famous galleries with its Google Art Project.

Although street artist Banksy did not win the Oscar for which he was recently nominated—for his first film “Exit Through the Gift Shop”—it seems the subversive Briton may be waging an unorthodox awards campaign on the walls and billboards of Los Angeles. Several examples of graffiti bearing the hallmarks of Banksy’s style and humor have turned up in areas of the city in recent days, including a Charlie Brown figure apparently bent on arson, and a cocktail-swigging Mickey Mouse. The Mickey Mouse graffiti, first spotted on Wednesday, featured a lascivious Mickey grabbing the breast of a model, painted on a billboard opposite the Directors Guild of America offices near Hollywood’s Sunset Strip. The billboard was taken down late on Wednesday. “Exit Through the Gift Shop” is billed as “the world’s first Street Art disaster movie” and premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. At that time, Banksy hit Park City, Utah, where the festival is held, to paint up the streets.

California’s well-known fashion designing sisters Laura and Kate Mulleavy of the couture line Rodarte are enjoying the limelight as their tutus featured in the recent film “Black Swan” are currently being displayed as part of the fashion line’s first West Coast solo exhibition called “Rodarte: States of Matter,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The movie’s intricately designed tutus are displayed as art as opposed to clothing, filled with resin sculptures that show the form of the pieces but don’t distract in the way that full mannequins might. Hanging from the ceiling on wires, the tutus slowly spin for an ethereal and undeniably eerie effect—not unlike the movie itself. There are six tutus on display that recent Academy Award winner Natalie Portman wore for the role, along with a variety of dramatic black and white Rodarte couture creations. The extensive ballet research that the Mulleavy sisters conducted for the film was evident in their recent undeniably ballet-esque runway collections.

Laura Lawson paints when writer’s block strikes and writes when painter’s block strikes. She has studied fine art at LCAD and is pursuing a degree in journalism. Recently diagnosed with the degenerative eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, she strives to bring hope to those without vision through her blog. She is currently working on her first book about coping with vision loss.

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