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SundayArts News 11/20/2011
Posted: November 21st, 2011
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Luminous Modernism: Scandinavian Art Comes to America 1912
Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America is the home of The American-Scandinavian Foundation, the leading cultural and educational link between the United States and the Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The exhibition currently on view here is titled “Luminous Modernism: Scandinavian Art Comes to America 1912.” The show’s core selection of works revisits the first exhibition organized by “The American-Scandinavian Foundation” in 1912. But its scope has been expanded, to cover the full range of artistic expression throughout the region during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Out of the almost 50 works on display, 3 were created by Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch, one of Scandinavia’s most celebrated painters. “Snow Landscape from Kagero” is a remarkable example of the artist’s powerful, raw depictions of nature. “Girl Under the Apple Tree” marks a shift in Munch’s artistic focus, from nature to expression. This was an influential development that lead to Munch’s art becoming a source of inspiration for the emerging German Expressionists. “Bathing Boys” centers on a recurring subject in Munch’s works: people bathing in the open air. The facial expression of the standing boy reflects the painter’s ability to convey the inner workings of human character. This exhibition is on view through February 11, 2012.

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical
Next week, New York University’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts presents “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical.” The show is part of a program of live performances for young people – the “Big Red Chair Family Series” – whose current season runs through April 2012. This musical production is an adaptation of an award-winning picture book by Mo Willems. It brings to life the enchanting story of a little girl: Trixie, her father, and her favorite stuffed animal: Knuffle Bunny. A trip to the local Laundromat starts as an exciting adventure, but takes a dramatic turn when Trixie and Knuffle Bunny get separated. From November 25th through the 27th, children and their families can enjoy this true-to-life tale about what happens when Dad’s in charge and things go hilariously wrong. The show runs for five performances at the Skirball Center’s theater on Washington Square Park.

Relatively Speaking
Relatively Speaking” — at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on Broadway — is made up of three one-act comedies penned by three prolific writers: Woody Allen, Ethan Coen and Elaine May. The show’s director, John Turturro — another film and theatre veteran — said about this trio of plays: “The only thing that connects them all is there’s humor in every one and they’re all about crazy families.” “Talking Cure” uncovers the sort of insanity that can only come from family; “George is Dead” explores the unlikely hilarity of death; and “Honeymoon Motel” invites you to the sort of wedding day you won’t forget!

Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan
On Madison and 36th street, The Morgan Library & Museum has assembled an exceptional exhibition of illuminated Islamic manuscripts. They are on view through January 29th. Titled “Treasures of Islamic Manuscript Painting from the Morgan,” the show includes works from as early as the 13th century, to the 19th century. The earliest illustrated manuscript on view is a Persian study on animals and their uses, that showcases elaborate naturalistic miniatures. One of the most notable manuscripts is a Turkish translation of “Stars of the Legends”, which includes depictions of the life of Rumi, the great Persian poet and mystic. The importance of the Qur’an to Islamic life is represented by a large mosque Qur’an that takes center stage at the beginning of the exhibition. It is accompanied by early Qur’ans—beautifully handwritten on vellum and in oblong format— and by later Qur’ans—on paper and in vertical format.

Golem
La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Theatre is located in the East Village, on the site of what used to be known as Turn Hall. In 1882 this location was home to the first professional Yiddish theater production in the United States. As part of La MaMa’s 50th Anniversary season, Czechoslovak-American Marionette Theatre presents “Golem” a dance-theater rendition of this famed Jewish myth, conceived, written and directed by Vit Horejs. According to legend, in order to protect the Prague Jewish ghetto from persecution and violence, Rabbi Loew and his two students fashioned a walking clay giant or “Golem.” But Rabbi Loew lost control of his creature. The Golem spread death and destruction everywhere and had to be stopped. To this day, the story endures that the “Golem” lies covered by cobwebs in the attic of the Alte-Neue Shul, the famous 15th-century synagogue of Prague. This theatrical production features nine actor/dancer/puppeteers and a whole cast of small to life-sized wooden marionettes. It runs through December 4th.

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SundayArts is made possible in part by First Republic Bank and by the Rubin Museum of Art. Funding for SundayArts is also made possible by Rosalind P. Walter, The Paul and Irma Milstein Foundation, The Philip & Janice Levin Foundation, Elise Jaffe and Jeffrey Brown, Jody and John Arnhold, and The Lemberg Foundation. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional funding provided by members of THIRTEEN.