Saturday, December 14, 2002

Arts&Culture File
NY TimesFRANKFURT-YOU are what you buy. If that truism describes life in a consumer society, so does its corollary: you are how you buy. Artists have long been intrigued by this latter notion — that is, the aesthetic aspects of how we look at, savor and acquire the temptations and rewards that the material, and materialistic, world has to offer. Now, "Shopping," an exhibition perched between art and everyday life, has brought together a range of contemporary works that address these themes. The show originated at the Schirn Kunsthalle here, where it recently closed, and will open in England at Tate Liverpool later this month. It proposes that every discerning shopper is something of an artist, too — or at least a natural aesthete.

NY TimesOn Friday ... Alexander Payne's screen adaptation of Mr. Begley's book is released in New York, Los Angeles and, fittingly, Omaha, Schmidt will receive an exquisite comeuppance. In transferring his story to film, Mr. Payne and Jim Taylor, his screenwriting partner, have exacted a karmic payback for the character's snobbery and insularity. Albert Schmidt has been reincarnated as Warren Schmidt, a newly retired executive at a medium-size insurance company in Omaha. ... Culturemongers, in the meantime, both mock and celebrate the ordinary guy, the average American, who is at once an allegorical figment and a person who lives at a specific address, holds a particular job and drives a readily identifiable kind of car. He is both scapegoat and tragic hero, martyr and buffoon — an archetype whose manifestations include Willy Loman and Homer Simpson. He struggles and strives, but he can never win: when he is happy, his contentment reflects the lamentable (and often laughable) constriction of his soul; when he is sad, his suffering indicts the cruelty and materialism of the social order.

Time magazineCharles Sheeler was trained as a painter at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts — and throughout his life that is what he chiefly considered himself to be. For the most part, art history tends to treat him the same way. The show of Sheeler's photography that runs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, through Feb. 2, then moves to New York City, Frankfurt and Detroit, is the first major museum exhibition devoted entirely to his work with a camera. ... In 1927 the Ford Motor Co. commissioned Sheeler to spend six weeks photographing Ford's immense new River Rouge assembly plant near Detroit. Ford Plant, River Rouge, Criss-Crossed Conveyors, one of the most famous images in 20th century photography, divides the plant into a multitude of planes, angles and openings with an unmistakable resemblance to the buttresses and steeples of a soaring medieval church. It's no surprise that the next lengthy photo series that Sheeler worked on was a study of the great French cathedral at Chartres. He had already treated the Ford plant as a house of God.,9171,1101021118-388940,00.html

No comments: