The Bearden Project
A cornerstone of The Studio Museum in Harlem’s collection is the artwork of Romare Bearden, a 20th century master of the visual arts, who was instrumental in the founding of this museum. “The Bearden Project” was launched last fall to celebrate the centennial of Bearden’s birth. On view through September, it showcases works by contemporary artists who have been influenced by this innovator in the use of collage as a means of personal reflection and social commentary. In creating works inspired by Bearden’s life and legacy, the artists have mined a wealth of themes, starting from the medium of collage and including Modernism, jazz and urbanism. Artist Kira Lynn Harris is known for a practice that mixes video, photography and drawing. She pays homage to Bearden by means of this chalk on black paint installation that you can see around me. In this work, Harris was inspired by “The Block” – an iconic collage depicting life in Harlem that Bearden created in 1971. Forty years later, Harris reimagines the vibrant scene of “The Block” in the context of a contemporary, alternate Harlem. Her site-specific installation explores light, space and perception in a way that conjures memories of childhood, drawings and street games played by the children of Bearden’s block.
New York Jewish Film Festival
The 21st annual New York Jewish Film Festival runs from January 11th to the 26th at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s theaters. It provides a diverse global perspective on the Jewish experience by presenting 35 features and shorts from 11 countries. “Remembrance” brings back to life a love story that blossomed in a Nazi concentration camp in Poland in 1944. “400 Miles to Freedom” documents the escape to Israel of a secluded 2,500 year old community of observant Jews from the northern Ethiopian mountains. “Mabul (The Flood)” reveals the physical and psychological ordeals that Yoni, a 13-year old boy, struggles to overcome before his Bar Mitzva. “Deaf Jam” explores the beauty of American Sign Language poetry through the story of deaf teen — Aneta Brodski — who ventures into the spoken word poetry slam scene. An Israeli immigrant living in New York, Aneta ends up collaborating with Tahani Salah, a hearing Palestinian slam poet, in a performance that transcends politics. In “Mary Lou” a young man learns about love with the help of the gay community in Tel Aviv, while performing — as a drag queen — to the rhythms of Israeli pop music.
The Birth of Promotion: Inventing Film Publicity in the Silent-Film Era
Just a few steps away, in the Lincoln Center Plaza, you can explore a very early age in the history of film. An exhibition currently on view at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts offers some context to a world that has come under the spotlight again, due to the Oscar buzz around a recent silent film. “The Birth of Promotion: Inventing Film Publicity in the Silent-Film Era” focuses on the development of posters, promotional magazines, advertising, and exploitation campaigns, from pre-cinema to the transition to sound film.
Kids ‘N Comedy
The ambiance of the 1920s is also alive at the Gotham Comedy Club, located next door to the historic Chelsea Hotel. Every month this club presents original stand-up comedy shows written and performed by young people — aged 11 to 18 — from the tri-state area. The shows are produced by “Kids ‘N Comedy”– a leading presenter of young comedians. Each show features at least six comics, who often venture into edgy terrain. Their sources of inspiration can vary from allergies to… uncomfortable social situations. On January 15th they will present a “New Year’s Resolution Show” – about promises that you’ll never, ever keep. And on January 29th they will deal with the confusion of adolescence in “The Philosophy Show.”
2012 Winter Festival: FIRE
This month Jacques Lacombe and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra present three programs as part of “2012 Winter Festival: FIRE.” The first program, titled “The Hero’s Fire”, features Yevgeny Sudbin on the piano and includes Stravinsky’s mythical “Firebird”; Scriabin’s arresting “Poem of Fire” and Wagner’s “Magic Fire Music.” The festival concludes with a celebration of light and warmth, with Anssi Karttunen on the cello, taking the audience through glowing scores by Haydn and Finnish master Kaija Saariaho.