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The Johnston Letter
by Jill Johnston
Cross-Country:
A memoir of France
by Paul Ben-Itzak
Art Investment News
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& The Artful Voyager
by Paul Ben-Itzak
Vignettes (Archives)
by Tobi Tobias
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de Valois
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The Arts Voyager and The Dance Insider are for sale, individually or together, to the highest bidder. E-mail publisher Paul Ben-Itzak. Below you'll find the first images and paragraphs of our latest stories and galleries, including Arts Voyager Galleries, dance, theater, and art house cinema reviews from around the world with a special emphasis on the French, American, and Hungarian arts and art scenes, travelogs, Paul Ben-Itzak's Cross-Country, a Memoir of France, our Martha Graham Archives, Jill Johnston, Tobi Tobias's Vignettes column, and Paul's Buzz column. Subscribers get full access to the complete stories as well as our 15-year archive of dance, theater, film, and art reviews from around the world. To subscribe, for just $29.95/year, click on the Paypal 'Subscribe' button below, or e-mail us if you'd prefer to send a check. Advertise now on the Arts Voyager and reach up to 100,000 monthly visitors who love to travel to see museum exhibitions, festivals, art house cinema, and dance and theater performances, with 24/7 Home page banners now as little as $99/month. Contact publisher Paul Ben-Itzak to find out about advertising and Sponsorship opportunities. Be sure to ask about Trade advertising. Looking for our coverage of art investment with more stunning art? Visit Art Investment News. Looking for more dance reviews? Click here.


Among the treasures on sale at Christie's Amsterdam's May 29 sale of Impressionist and Modern Art is, above: Herman Bieling (1887-1964), "A dancing nude," signed and dated 'Bieling. '17' (lower right). Oil on canvas, 62.5 x 45 cm. Painted in 1917. Pre-sale estimate: 3,000-5,000 Euros ($3,886-$6,476). Copyright Christe's Images Ltd. 2013. For more gems from well- and lesser-known masters on auction, click here to read the article-gallery on our sister magazine Art Investment News.


If you want to look for where art is being made in Paris today, don't look in the hills of Montmartre but the heights of Belleville. And if you want to look inside the artists' studios, check the Portes Ouverte of the Artists of Belleville, taking place through Monday, May 27. Besides seeing recent work by living artists (including, top, Sarah Dugrip's "Liseuse" and, bottom, Catherine Olivier's "Parcour IV techniques mixtes," both on view in Olivier's atelier at 42 bis rue des Cascades), the promenade offers some of the most extraordinary views of the City of Light, including that of the Eiffel Tower from the parc Belleville. For more information on the Portes Ouverte and the artists of Belleville, click here. To see images of more work by Olivier, visit her web site or see our 2012 Arts Voyager Gallery, and by Dugrip, click here.


A scene from Ingmar Bergman's 1960 "The Virgin Spring." Image courtesy Anthology Film Archives.

Flash Festival Review, 5-23: Eternal Springs
Age-less Middle Ages at Anthology Film Archives
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

In her introduction to Anthology Film Archives's Middle Ages series, resuming this week and running through June, medieval scholar and series collaborator Martha W. Driver, citing art historian Erwin Panofsky, compares the making of a film with the making of a cathedral, because of the many planners and executors involved. I'd beg to differ in one respect: As monuments and signifiers of history go, cathedrals are easy to locate and visit; in France whole tours have been designed around them. Great films, however -- as I'm reminded just about every time Anthology programs a series on just about anything, with the putative theme often becoming a (worthy) excuse to share forgotten gems of cinema -- often repose in obscurity, just waiting for a pro-active cinematheque to dig them up to be re-discovered by a new public. Subscribers click here for the full review with more images. (Not a subscriber? Subscribe today for just $29.95 using the PayPal 'Subscribe' button above.)


Before there was a C.M. Russell Museum in the city that cowboy artist Charles M. Russell (1864-1926) called home for so many years, the place in Great Falls, Montana to see work by the artist locals still refer to as "Charlie" was the Mint Saloon, whose owner Sid Willis, a close friend of Russell's, amassed a collection of oil paintings, watercolors, illustrated letters, and a rare set of wax models. When Willis sold the Mint Saloon and its Russells in 1945, his wish that the artworks remain in Montana was thwarted for lack of funds and they were bought by Amon Carter, later to form the basis, along with his Frederic Remington collection, of the Fort Worth museum that bears his name. The collection is now back in Great Falls through September 13 in the Russell's exhibition "I beat you to it": Charles Russell at the Mint, including, (bottom): "The Hold Up," 1899, oil on canvas, courtesy of The Petrie Collection, and (top) "Alaska or Bust" [Colonel Bell], n.d., watercolor, pen and ink on paper. C.M. Russell Museum, Great Falls, Montana, gift of Charlie Russell Riders, in memory of Moose Dunne, Bud Ozmun, and Don Stewart.


Promotional poster for Delmer Daves's 1947 "The Red House." Image courtesy Anthology Film Archives.

Flash Festival Review, 5-10: Overdue Daves
An actor's director at Anthology Film Archives
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

In assessing filmmakers, it's easy to concentrate on the obvious -- their technical and compositional skill at the art of making movies -- and forget that movie directors, like stage directors, are also coaches of actors, adept at recognizing their strengths and treating their weaknesses, with the ultimate end of advancing their performances in the service of the plot. The biggest revelation that comes out of a screening of four of the films Anthology Film Archives will be showing beginning beginning May 10 in Overdue, curated by critics Nick Pinkerton and Nicolas Rapold and this year focusing on Delmer Daves, is the miracle Daves performed with Glenn Ford. A prototypical Hollywood he-man of the late forties through sixties, Ford often seemed to just show up, relying on his charisma to charm the audience. His one-dimensional interpretations deadened major films with meaty scripts, notably the WW II Occupation epic "The Four Horseman of the Apocalypse" and "Human Desire," an adaptation of Emile Zola's "La Bete Humaine," in which Ford paled next to Jean Gabin in Renoir's version. But Daves, working with a much less dazzlingly dramatic material for the realist 1958 cattle drive pic "Cowboy" (one might even call it a range procedural) was able to succeed where, respectively, his much more acclaimed colleagues Vincente Minnelli and Fritz Lang were not, practically transforming Ford into a Method actor in the finest performance of his career. Subscribers click here for the full review with more images. (Not a subscriber? Subscribe today for just $29.95 using the PayPal 'Subscribe' button above.)


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KEITH HARING, BORN MAY 5, 1958. For Keith Haring: the Political Line, running through August 18, the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris has gathered more than 250 works (20 more large scale pieces will be on view at Centquatre) that design the life of a signature artist who was not just proliferate but multiply engaged, with an exhibition parcourse divided into themes like the Individual versus the State, Capitalism, Public Art, Religion, Mass Media (Haring presciently warned of the danger of substituting technological 'reality' for human reality), Racism, Ecocide, and Sex, AIDS, and Death -- no mean feat, considering that so much of his work was public art, and cannot be moved. Just ignore exposition co-commissar Odile Burluraux's ludicrous claim that in the mid-'80s, Haring found a more sympathetic audience in Paris than New York; je hallucine! Why do French curators always seem to feel they need to justify programming American artists by implying they appreciate them more than we do? (And, it must be said, why couldn't such a mammoth exhibition have been mounted to celebrate two of their own, Albert Camus and Jacques Prevert, both of whose centennials this year merit hardly a murmur among France's cultural establishment? Perhaps because unlike Haring, Camus and Prevert's political art hits too close to home.) The reality is that only in a country like the U.S. could a young man from Bum F*** Pennsylvania have found such rapid acclamation in a world art capital like New York. Burluraux cites Jean Dubuffet as one of Haring's inspirations, but she doesn't mention that the French artist was barred in his lifetime from France's national museum of art (now the Pompidou). Paris and the artistic establishment laughed Paul Cezanne back to Provence -- and he didn't even paint on subways. -- PB-I . (Above: Keith Haring, "Untitled," 1982. Private collection. Vinyl paint on vinyl tarp, 304.8 x 304.8 cm. © Keith Haring Foundation.) Want more of Haring? Subscribers click here to see the artist's early work, "Drawing Penises in front of Tiffany's." Not a subscriber? Click the Paypal button above to subscribe for one year for $29.95.


Camille Pissarro (1830-1903), "Boulevard de Rochechouart," 1880. Pastel on beige wove paper, 23 9/16 x 28 15/16 inches. Copyright Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1996.5.

Arts Voyager Gallery, 5-4: Line Dancing
Impressionist Drawings & Prints at the Frick: Revising impressions of major artists
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

The true delight of exhibitions like The Impressionist Line from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec: Drawings and Prints from the Clark, 58 drawings and prints on view at the Frick in New York through June 16, is that one gets to see work by the masters less frequently exposed than their oil paintings which expands and in some cases even revises our appreciation of their virtues. Subscribers click here for the full article with more images. (Not a subscriber? Subscribe today for just $29.95 using the PayPal 'Subscribe' button above.)

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
22: Le jour se leve
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

Portable houses & New Year's Eve in Saint-Germain des Pres

Pam and I were walking back from Barbes -- the French Arab section of lower Montmartre immortalized in Marcel Carne's "Les portes de la nuit," Montand's screen debut in which he introduced the original French version of "Autumn Leaves" (in French called "The Dead Leaves") -- after an unexpected feast at the Cafe Royale, which was celebrating break Ramadan by augmenting the standard couscous royale dinner with a lemony lentil soup and sticky honeyed pastries, arrosed with fresh mint tea. I was about to learn that Pam had given me something I'd not known since my childhood best friend and I walked into a hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon that was more greasy than we'd anticipated outside Durham, North Carolina, starving and sleepless after a harrowing night with a black bear in the Pisgah National Forest where we'd been camping out before returning to college, and quickly realized that if we didn't want to get very sick, we would need to figure a way out of there that wouldn't offend the owner/grease ladler in chief without being able to talk it out: that quality where your points of view are so alike that you can be in any situation and divine what the other's thinking. Subscribers click here to read the full Chapter. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)


Coming soon on the Arts Voyager: Because she was a woman and liked to paint domestic scenes, contemporary and subsequent critics often under-rated Berthe Morisot (1841-1895) by praising the 'soft,' 'feminine,' and 'gentle' qualities of her work, oblivious that the craft that went into depicting her subjects was as meticulous and often more sophisticated than her male Impressionist colleagues. But watercolors can sometimes reveal craft better than oil painting, which is all the more reason to be grateful for The Impressionist Line from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec: Drawings and Prints from the Clark, running through June 16 at the Frick in New York. Morisot's 1875 "Before a Yacht," an 8 1/8 x 10 9/16 inch watercolor over graphite on cream wove paper, highlights how she often worked with a minimal number of colors (here, green, black, and brown), using gradation to give the illusion of a full spectrum -- which makes for a much more unified canvas than a broader palette might have. Copyright Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.1964.


Ballet Preljocaj dans "Ce que j'appelle l'oubli" d'Angelin Preljocaj. Photo copyright JC Carbonne.

PARIS -- Basé sur un fait divers à la fois sordide et extra-ordinaire, dans le sens premier du terme, la nouvelle chorégraphie d'Angelin Preljocaj, "Ce que j'appelle l'oubli," surprend d'abord par son parti pris : celui de la voix du jeune comédien Laurent Cazenave, narrateur à la voix puissante et monocorde qui va accompagner le mouvement des danseurs presque sans interruption, distillant progressivement un malaise grandissant, le choc, et puis la tristesse du texte magnifique et majeur tiré du livre de Laurent Mauvinier. Cliquez ici pour continuer en français. Or click here for an English translation of the article.


Flash Flashback, 4-23: Grave Matters
TAGLIONI'S NOT IN MONTMARTRE
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2004, 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

(To celebrate its 15th anniversary as the leading online dance magazine and raise money for its return to Paris this Spring and Summer, the Arts Voyager and Dance Insider is revisiting its archives from more than a decade as the leading English-language source of coverage of the French dance scene. To contribute to our campaign to return to Paris, please use the PayPal 'Subscribe' or 'Donate' buttons above, or e-mail us if you have frequent flyer miles to donate or would like to send a check. This article was first published on October 6, 2004. Today is Marie Taglioni's 209th birthday.)

PARIS -- Officials at the Montmartre Cemetery this morning agreed to take Marie (also known as Maria) Taglioni's name off cemetery maps after an Italian Institute-Dance Insider conference revealed Taglioni, the first dancer to use pointe artistically, is not buried in the cemetery tomb which bears her name, but in the Pere Lachaise cemetery under the name of the ex-husband she divorced after he turned her away from their home because she wouldn't stop dancing. Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)


'Out-takes' of films shot by Jonas Mekas so closely resemble masterpieces from anyone else, that the first part of the title of Mekas's 2012 video, "Out-takes from the Life of a Happy Man," receiving its U.S. theatrical premiere April 25 - May 2 at Anthology Film Archives, might be misleading for anyone unfamiliar with Mekas's oeuvre. I once stood in front of a passage of industrial England painted by Camille Pissarro during his exile from France. In its unfiltered original, the subject could not have been more bleak, but Impressionist painting is less about the subject than the point of view of the artist, and the tools he deploys to convey that feeling to his audience. So I could quote to you snippets from this latest Mekas marvel: a flamenco dancer in Central Park (the setting for many of the moments recalled here), a girl trudging through the snow outside a fence in knee-high boots, a couple carrying the largest toilet in the world across a busy Manhattan street.... but the magic is in the selection and the decoupage, the splicing and the prism, not the putative subject: "Just fragments of this world, my world, which is not so different from any other, anybody else's world," Mekas says in one of the leitmotifs of a poetic and occasional narration whose sing-song rhythm (enhanced by the euphoric melancholy of Auguste Varkalis's piano improvisations) matches the cadence of the images. Then a Fifth Avenue street magician appears, as if on cue, and we understand who the real wizard is. (Image from "Out-takes from the Life of a Happy Man" copyright 2012 Jonas Mekas and courtesy Anthology Film Archives.)


Martin Rico y Ortega (Spanish, 1833-1908), "Rio San Trovaso, Venice," 1903. Oil on canvas. Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Museum purchase with funds from The Meadows Foundation, MM.07.01. Photo by Michael Bodycomb.

Arts Voyager Gallery, 4-21: Prado on the Prairie
Martin Rico at the Meadows: Painting in the light
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

FORT WORTH, TX -- From the glut of French, European, and touring exhibitions focused on the usual suspects in recent years, it might be easy to forget that Impressionism didn't spring whole cloth from the French canvas of landscape painting. Unless you're at Dallas's Meadows Museum. As part of Southern Methodist University, the Meadows takes seriously the educational and scholarship part of its mission. Not content to simply act as a showcase for the collection of Spanish paintings bequeathed to SMU in 1962 by local businessman Algur H. Meadows to found the museum (he also furnished the funding seeds), the Meadows has taken to heart its founder's charge that it become a "Prado on the Prairie." That sobriquet took on new meaning in 2009, when the Meadows and its Madrid inspiration set up an elaborate partnership involving everything from exhibition loans to internship exchanges. That collaboration has assumed an even grander scope with Impressions of Europe: 19th-Century Vistas by Martin Rico, the first museum retrospective devoted to the pioneer in the development of European landscape painting, a panorama of 106 works of art, including paintings, drawings, and highlights from 40 sketchbooks recently acquired by the Prado which have never previously been seen by the public. After an earlier run at the Madrid institution, the exhibition runs through July 7 in Texas. Subscribers click here for the full article with more images. (Not a subscriber? Subscribe today for just $29.95 using the PayPal 'Subscribe' button above.)


Pablo Picasso, "Femme assise dans un fauteuil (Eva)" (Woman in an Armchair), 1913. Oil on canvas, 59 x 39 1/8 in. (148 x 99 cm). Leonard A. Lauder Cubist Collection. Copyright 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Arts Voyager News, 4-14: Game-changers
From Lauder, a trove of Cubist Masterpieces for the Met; Le Corbusier at MoMA
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

In an epoch where high culture is more than ever in danger of being drowned out by the noise of so-called popular culture in a mass media that no longer just caters to the tastes of the middle- and low-brow but seems determined to lower standards, museums more than ever must play an educative role -- not in the dry didactive sense of that word but in the enlightening one. And yet, in portraying the full panoply of art history in all its richness, they're often hamstrung by the fact that so much of that catalogue remains in private hands, only to surface briefly when it comes up for sale. Meanwhile, institutions like the Museum of Modern Art which steward a substantial part of that history feel they must charge admission prices which -- twice the cost of going to the movies -- can discourage the masses from discovering their collections. All the more reason to celebrate when a museum which still lets patrons pay what they can, as does the Metropolitan Museum, receives a mission-enhancing gift like the 78 works by Picasso, Braque, Gris and Leger just bestowed on it by Leonard Lauder. Even moreso with the additional news that in connection with the acquisition of this trove, the Met is establishing a new research center for modern art to be suppored by a $22 million endowment set up by Lauder and other supporters. Click here for the full article and more images.


With Corot hard to locate between the collections of the Louvre and the Orsay, and Delacroix not safe at the Louvre-Lens (see news items below), this might be a good time to buy work by these masters for yourself -- especially when Christie's has them available for a relative song this month. On auction in New York April 29 (left): Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796-1875), "Paysage aux bouleaux argentes." Oil on canvas, 10 1/4 x 7 in.. Painted circa 1860-65. Pre-sale estimate: $50,000 - $70,000. And at Chrisitie's Paris April 10 (right): Ferdinand-Victor-Eugene Delacroix (Saint Maurice 1798-1863 Paris), "Jeune femme nue debout." Plume and brown ink, filigrane 'J Berger.' 385 x 218 mm. Pre-sale estimate: 6,000 - 8,000 Euros $7,679 - $10,238. Both images copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.

The Art Maverick, 4-9: French Art Beat (illustrated)
New director at the Louvre; battle over a Signac; bring me the head of (Courbet's) 'Creation of the World' (just don't try showing her naked body on Facebook); Delacroix defaced; where's Corot?; where to buy Delacroix, Corot, Laurencin, Sisley, Millet & more for peanuts
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

French newspapers were aflutter last week with the story of Jerome Cahuzac, a former Socialist budget minister who confessed to having squirreled away 600,000 Euros in a Swiss bank account to avoid paying taxes on the income after previously having denied doing so and denounced others who did. The headline-grabbing 'cultural' news was the death of a doctor participating in "Koh-Lanta," the French answer to "Survivor." One had to scroll to the bottom of the websites of Le Monde and Liberation, two of the major Paris dailies, to discover political and artistic news that France has reason to be proud of: That a new president has been named for the Louvre -- chosen by President Francois Hollande, who personally informed the lucky man, chief of the Louvre's department of Greco-Roman antiquities Jean-Luc Martinez, 48, a sign of the importance France places on culture. That Hollande's selection over-rid the preference of his culture minister, Aurelie Filippetti -- who was determined to nominate a woman for the position -- signaled that the French president, who spoke little about the arts in his 2012 electoral campaign, is finally taking cultural decisions seriously. Still, if you'd rather not trust your art conservation to politicians -- and if you want a legal place to bank your money -- we're including in this update on French art news a special illustrated preview of some of the bargains available at upcoming Christie's sales from the likes of Corot, Delacroix, Utrillo, Sisley, Rodin, Laurencin, Millet, Fragonard, and others, at pre-sale estimates of as little as $8,000. Subscribers click here for the full article with more images. (Not a subscriber? Subscribe today for just $29.95 using the PayPal 'Subscribe' button above.)


Left: József Faragó, a cover page design for the album "Farago's Review," 1898. 1907-320. Paper, ink, pen. 411 x 317 mm. Owner: Hungarian National Gallery. Right: József Faragó, "Our Country's Greats in Paris, 1900." Farago 1902-51. Paper, ink, pen. 324 x 249 mm. Owner: Hungarian National Gallery.

Art Voyager Gallery, 4-8: Pioneers of the Ninth Art
How József Faragó Expanded Honore Daumiér Beyond the Frame
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

One risk of the Franco-centrism of most of the world's international-caliber museums of classic art (by classic I mean before 1950) is that the indigenous culture often gets short shrift, even when it compliments the French masters as sources of inspiration and emulation for the local talent. In Hungary -- which has a rich culture too often over-looked by the global curatorial brain-trust -- the recently reunited Budapest Museum of Fine Arts and Hungarian National Gallery have neatly addressed this lapse by mounting, as their first collaboration since the merger, complimentary exhibitions on Honore Daumiér (1808-1879), the pioneering French caricaturist, and József Faragó (1866-1906), who succeeded Daumier chronologically but just may have exceeded him artistically, creating work that, while topical, can stand on its own as art whether or not one knows the historical context and even if one doesn't speak the language. Subscribers click here for the full article with more images. (Not a subscriber? Subscribe today for just $29.95 using the PayPal 'Subscribe' button above.)

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
21: ... in which the Old Boy Network Finally Pays Off -- with a New Gal Pal
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

Old Nassau on the Right Bank

Something I think about even now, as I struggle to get back to France: The qualities I get, or would like to get, from my three cats, particularly in their manners of dealing with their final days and months: From Mesha, my black and white European male, grace. From Hopey, my tortoise-shell calico, determination; we had just moved to the country, living outside a tiny burg in the southwest Dordogne department of France, she must have thought the river we lived on the largest bowl of water she'd ever seen -- inveterate faucet licker that she was -- and came back from a coma to march three times to the Vezere river, panting and pausing along the way (except when the black horse ran towards her, she thought chasing her, the electrified fencing invisible to her eye). From Sonia, resilience; if a cat has nine lives, I counted 14 for her, the number of times Sonia defied death, particularly in her last year before her battery finally ran out at 20-something. For me, determination has often meant failing at something when I no longer had a clear reason to want to succeed at it, then trying again when one became apparent. Inevitably the failure -- when a situation no longer worked -- came when the bottom fell out of my social life. So it was that I left Princeton -- once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to study with people like Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Fagles, Stephen F. Cohen, and Ellen Chances not being enough to keep a lonely 19-year-old in school (today I would go back just to have time to read; education is wasted on the young) -- then came back not so much to study but because I wanted to be a journalist, and already as a freshman I'd risen to managing editor of the campus weekly and exposed a case of collusion between the student government and the daily newspaper involving a future governor and eventual eminent jurist. In my second go-round, I'd tried out for a student group called the University Press Club whose members acted as correspondents for local and national papers and wires, and promptly written a front-page story for the daily Trentonian when Princeton's nuclear fusion reactor started up for the first time (only just accepted to the club, I'd been monitoring events over Christmas vacation; "nothing ever happens"), then written about the Princeton gargoyles for the New York Times as a summer replacement stringer before the press club kicked me out because I refused to stop writing for the paper when the regular stringer returned in the fall. My social circle falling apart again, I'd left Princeton for a second time. The student affairs vice president (a.k.a. "the Kraut" for her German accent and severe manner) was unsympathetic, when I pleaded personal problems; "Other students are able to have personal problems and not let it affect their school work." Subscribers click here to read the full Chapter. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)


Montmartre disparu qui me manque toujours: Among the treasures available at two photography sales chez Christie's New York this week is Brassai (1899-1984)'s "Le Bal des Quatre Saisons, rue de Lappe, Paris," c. 1932. For more images of the stunning vintage photographs on auction, visit our sister publication Art Investment News. Above photo gelatin silver print, printed in the 1960s. Signed in pencil, annotated 'Pl.22' in ink and Faubourg-St.-Jacques copyright credit stamp (on the verso). Image/sheet: 9 1/4 x 11 7/8in. (24 x 30.7cm). Pre-sale estimate: $6,000 - $8,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.


Flash Flashback, 4-3: My Dinner with Billy
Prix Fixe with Forsythe and the Paris Opera Ballet
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2000, 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

(To celebrate its 15th anniversary and raise money for its return to Paris this Spring, the Dance Insider is revisiting its archives from more than a decade as the leading English-language source of coverage of the French dance scene. This article, first published on November 3, 2000, is yours for free when you subscribe to the Dance Insider for just $29.95/year, as is access to our entire archives. Help ensure more coverage of the French dance scene by subscribing or donating today, using the PayPal buttons above, or e-mail us if you'd prefer to send a check.)

PARIS -- In American companies, the ballets of William Forsythe hold a funny place. They're the "wierd" ballets that instantly give a classical ballet company street cred among the moderns, the young set, and even the intellectuals. They usually appear on a program called "Contemporary Series" or "New Generations." In such a context -- even when surrounded by other "contemporary" work -- their effect can be startling: Forsythe makes ballets that might be called neo-neo-classical, their relation to the rest of the scene being, I imagine, much like what Balanchine's was in his time to that scene, particularly in the 1950s of "Agon." But as much as "neo-classical" is the easiest category in which to place Balanchine, his palette was wide. It's long since been proved that an evening of Balanchine ballets not only won't repeat itself, it is likely to range from neo-classical to classical to clever and, on occasion, even include a stinker. Apropros my evening with Billy and the verve-alicious dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet last night at the Palais Garnier, where an all-Forsythe program was served up, the question uppermost in my mind was: Could Forsythe sustain interest for an entire evening? Or would what seems startling on a program of other less daring ballets seem rote by the end of the evening? And how would the dancers survive a whole night of having their limbs pulled and dipped in such arch ways -- and on an incline, no less, dancing as they were on the Palais Garnier's raked stage? Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)


Among the treasures available at two photograph sales at Christie's New York next week is Brassai (1899-1984)'s "La Cage aux fauves aux Folies Bergere," c. 1932, a unique inside view of the Paris performance palace made famous by the American dancers Josephine Baker and Loie Fuller. For more images of the stunning vintage photographs available -- many evoking the City of Light -- visit our sister publication Art Investment News. Above image from a gelatin silver print signed, annotated 'Pl.711, page 147' in pencil/ink, title, date, annotations by Mme Gilberte Brassai in pencil and Faubourg-St.-Jacques credit stamp (on the verso). Image/sheet: 9 1/2 x 7 1/8 in. (24 x 18.6 cm). Pre-sale estimate: $12,000 - $18,000. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.


Flash Flashback, 3-28: Who Can I Run to?
Out in the Cold with Josephine Baker in the Valley of the Dordogne
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2004, 2006, 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

(To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Dance Insider has been revisiting its archives. Since 2000, the Dance Insider has been the leading English-language source of coverage of the French dance scene. This article was first published on September 3, 2004.)

CASTELNAUD-LA-CHAPELLE, Valley of the Dordogne, France -- She could be any homeless person, a bespectacled middle-aged woman, her hair covered unflatteringly in a scarf, a blanket pulled over her lap and plastic water bottles surrounding her bare feet as she camps on the doorstep of the home of 22 years from which she's just been evicted and locked out. But she is not just any homeless woman, and not just any woman. She's the woman Hemingway once called the most beautiful in the world. She is Josephine Baker, one-time star of the Folies Bergere, child of St. Louis who went on to become hero of the Resistance, black performer who refused to play segregated halls when she returned to her native land, American darling of 1920s France sometimes credited as the inventor of the Charleston and inspirer of Le Jazz Hot, mother to 12 adopted children -- a legend, unceremoniously dumped on the back porch like a piece of meat past its prime, poignantly pleading to a reporter, "I won't leave my home." Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)



Aida Vainieri in Pina Bausch's 1985 "Two Cigarettes." Photo copyright Jochen Viehoff and courtesy Sadler's Wells.

LONDON -- There's a claustrophobic feel to the bright, cell-like setting of Pina Bausch's 1985 "Two Cigarettes in the Dark," seen February 17 at Sadler's Wells on Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. The white walls, intersected by a back window looking out on a garden and an aquarium partially visible through a window cut into the wall at downstage left, suggest the privileged habitat of people who turn out to behave as if they are imprisoned by their wealth -- a Los Angeles mansion perhaps, or a museum to exhibit the bored, empty and dysfunctional couples and individuals within. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)


Promotional posters for (left) Robert Mulligan's "Baby the Rain Must Fall" and (right) Jacques Tourneur's "Witchita." Images courtesy Anthology Film Archives.

Flash Festival Review, 3-21: Redemption Songs
'Expressive Esoterica' from Sarris and Anthology
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

If the concept of 'cinema d'auteur' was first championed by Cahiers du Cinema (whose leading scribes Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut were themselves budding auteurs), it was given nuance by the long-time Village Voice critic Andrew Sarris, broken down in his classic 1968 opus "American Cinema: Directors and Directions, 1929-1968" into categories like "Less Than Meets the Eye," "Pantheon Directors," "The Far Side of Paradise," and "Expressive Esoterica." This last trove -- into which Anthology Film Archives has dipped for its festival honoring Sarris (who died in June) which continues through March 31 -- the critic defined as "the unsung directors with difficult styles or unfashionable genres or both," whose "deeper virtues are often obscured by irritating idiosyncrasies on the surface, but they are generally redeemed by their seriousness and grace." But a great critic's choices don't just reflect taste and curatorial flare. The brilliance of Anthology's series, curated in collaboration with C. Mason Wells, is that the films selected also reveal the critic as philosopher, advancing the very American idea that no one is beyond redemption. (And its inverse: That even heroes can fail ignobly.) Subscribers click here to read the full Review and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)



American Repertory Ballet in Douglas Martin's "Rite of Spring." Photo by Peter C. Cook.

Flash View, 3-13: Revisiting 'Rite'... and Rights
100 years after 'Le Sacre' exploded conventions, conventional women's roles persist
By Christine Chen
Copyright 2013 Christine Chen

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Last Sunday, we set the clocks forward. It was the first "spring rite" I performed this year (and it feels oddly premature given it was snowing the day before in New York). Other spring rites which I'll need to address soon include spring cleaning, spring training (for a half marathon my husband signed us up for), and of course, the spring season for American Repertory Ballet, of which I'm managing director. This last rite's 'Rite' -- artistic director Douglas Martin's new 'Rite of Spring,' which I'll write about here -- is all about rights. Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)


Flash Flashback, 3-13: No Sacrifice
Paris Opera Ballet gets Down to Earth for Bausch's "Sacre du Printemps"
(When Will New York Ballet Companies Stop Pretending Mats Ek, Maguy Marin, and Pina Bausch Never Happened?)
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2002, 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

(To celebrate its 15th anniversary, the Dance Insider has been revisiting its archives. For 10 of those years, the DI was published from Paris and was the leading source of English-language reviews of the French dance scene. This review was first published on May 21, 2002.)

PARIS -- I've never seen anything like what I saw Friday at the Garnier, when Pina Bausch's 1975 take on Igor Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps" was channelled by the Paris Opera Ballet, the only company besides her own that Bausch has allowed to perform the work. Her confidence was not misplaced. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)



Van Cliburn, conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya, and the Fort Worth Symphony. Photo by and copyright Ellen Appel and courtesy Fort Worth Symphony.

Flash Flashback, 3-5: What is America to Me?
Van Cliburn and the Fort Worth Symphony rise to the occasion
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011, 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

(Van Cliburn died Wednesday in Fort Worth, at the age of 78. after a six-month battle with skin cancer. This article was first published on September 2, 2011.)

FORT WORTH, Texas -- In the 10 years since the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, Uncle Sam's shoulders have often seemed to slump from the competing weights of terrorism that menaced the nation's security and responses that took the lives of innocents and threatened the sanctity of Americans' own Constitutional rights. Thus my own initial response to a mini-festival called Celebrate America was less than enthusiastic. But this was a gross misapprehension of the event as planned and executed last weekend by the Fort Worth Symphony, as lead by music director and conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya and, for Saturday's performance at Bass Hall, hoisted upon the sturdy shoulders of one of the country's most celebrated bearers of non-military victories in international relations of the 20th century. And Van Cliburn was perfectly cast in the title role in Aaron Copland's "Lincoln Portrait." Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)



Calder at the Circus: One of a set of seven drawings on auction at Christie's New York's First Open Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art March 8. For more, see our sister publication Art Investment News. Alexander Calder (1898-1976), Untitled (Studies of Figures in Movement). Drawn in 1925. Pencil on paper, 19 1/2 x 14 in. (49.5 x 35.6 cm). Pre-sale estimate: $30,000 - $50,000. Image copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2013.


A downtown dance diva at a legendary downtown dance club, captured by Keith Haring: Christie's New York is billing its March 8 First Open Sale of Post-War and Contemporary Art as, among other things, an opportunity to explore lesser-known works by established artists, and the above definitely qualifies. For more, see our sister publication Art Investment News. Keith Haring (1958-1990), "Grace Jones at Paradise Garage," gouache on paper. 23 3/8 x 37 1.4 in. (59.4 x 94.6 cm). Painted in 1986. Estimate: $80,000 - 120,000 U.S. dollars. Image éChristie's Images Ltd. 2012.)

For years a sleepy institution, the ballet of Toulouse's Theatre du Capitole has taken on a new dynamism under rookie dance director Kader Belarbi, the former long-time principal with the Paris Opera Ballet, part of which is a new collaboration with the Cinematheque de Toulouse, long the most original and innovative cinematheque in France. The two institutions have combined to present a season-long series of dance evenings, most hosted by Belarbi. Luke Cresswell's 1997 "Stomp out Loud" (above), shown February 19, will be followed March 26 by a baroque dance themed evening, May 12 by Vincente Minelli's 1948 "The Pirate," and June 28 by Charlie Chaplin's 1928 "The Circus." Meanwhile, the cinematheque's festival Japan in the '50s: The Golden Age continues through February 28. Images courtesy Cinematheque de Toulouse.

Featuring over 200 works of various media -- painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, drawings, and graphic design, as well as video and documentary film -- Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde, which closes February 25 at the Museum of Modern Art, looks at a fructive and turbulent era in the Japanese scene. Above: Ay-O, "Pastoral (Den'en)," 1956. Oil on panel, 72 1/16" x 12' 1 13/16" (183 x 370.4 cm). Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. é Ay-O, courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo.

Flash Festival Review, 2-21: Turning Japanese
Radical Japanese film of the 1960s & '70s @ Anthology
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

If you think Butoh is the excruciatingly slow (or delectably languorous, depending on your point of view) dance interpreted by performers doused in flour that its Western acolytes have laid claim to with Zen-like fervor and wonder why this post-Hiroshima and Nagasaki artform was once called the 'dance of darkness,' Donald Richie's 1959 "Sacrifice / Gisei," being screened Sunday February 24 at Anthology Film Archives as part of its mini-festival of Film Experiments in 1960-70s Japan (meant to coincide with the Museum of Modern Art's Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde exhibition closing Monday), will set you straight. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

The Buzz, 2-20: Can-can attitude, can-do arabesque
La Goulue lifted her dress, La Taglioni her pointes, and both lifted women's rights
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

If French women didn't get the right to vote until after World War II, this doesn't mean they placidly accepted male dominance. Agnes Giard, who writes the 400 Culs column for the French daily Liberation, notes a parallel between contemporary women who protest by mooning and the 19th century can-can dancers who made the reputation of the Moulin Rouge. Subscribers click here to read the full Column. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Very top: Pierre Vidal, "Couverture pour 'La vie a Montmartre," 1897. Lithograph, 20 x 27.5 cm. Private collection copyright DR. Bottom, Left: Theophile Alexandre Steinlen, "Affiche de la tournée du Chat Noir." Lithograph, 58.5 x 79 cm. Collection musee de Montmartre copyright DR. Top Right: Anonymous, "Au premier Chat Noir," avant 1885. Tirage photographic, 17.7 x 23.6 cm. Collection musee de Montmartre copyright DR. Bottom Right: Exterior view of the atelier of Suzanne Valadon, Musee de Montmartre. Copyright Guillaume Lachaud.

Arts Voyager Gallery, 2-17: Patrimoine
A revitalized Musée de Montmartre revives le Chat Noir
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

What sets Paris apart from any other art capitol in the world is that it is not just a city of museums, it is one, both a showcase for art and the place where that art was created. . Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

Top (currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art): Pablo Picasso, "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon," 1907. Oil on canvas, 8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. é 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Bottom: The Bateau-Lavoir in Montmartre, where Picasso created the work.

Call for Artists, 2-17: Revivifying a Monument
The Bateau-Lavoir is looking for a new visage
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

Lest you think that the Musee de Montmartre, under its new stewards the Kleber Rossillon Group, is only concerned with glorifying artists of the past, as its first exhibition, on the Chat Noir, does, the museum has also organized a competition to revivify the neighborhood's other storied cradle of art in a way that encourages living artists: The concourse to design a new vitrine for the Bateau-Lavoir -- best known as the place where Picasso and Braque essentially invented Cubism -- invites scenographers, designers, graphistes and sculptors to submit their proposals (by March 1!) to re-make the storefront (which for years has contained just a spare, lightly illustrated recounting of the site's history) that is the only remnant of the original building. Click here to read the full article.


Top: Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848-1894), "Paris Street; Rainy Day," 1877. Oil on canvas, 83 1/2 x 108 3/4 in. (212.2 x 276.2 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Charles H. and Mary F. S. Worcester Collection. Bottom, left: Gustave Caillebotte (French, 1848-1894), "At the Café," 1880. Oil on canvas, 60 1/4 x 44 15/16 in. (153 x 114 cm). Musée d'Orsay, Paris. On deposit at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. Bottom, right: Henri Fantin-Latour (French, 1836-1904), "Edouard Manet," 1867. Oil on canvas, 46 5/16 x 35 7/16 in. (117.5 x 90 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Stickney Fund.

Arts Voyager Gallery, 2-12: Fashionistas
'Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity' at the Met: Ignore the conceit, go for the art
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

If context illuminates in Cezanne and the Past, on view at the Budapest Fine Art Museum through February 17, for Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art February 26 and running through May 26, it threatens to obscure (at least if one is to judge by the press release). Co-curated by the Art Institute of Chicago and the Musée d'Orsay, the exhibition's thematic presentation seems to super-impose a subject-driven mode of operation which was never the Impressionists' primary concern. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

Tumultuous Times: 12 years of dance in Europe
Charming Babilee Can't Save New Nadj
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2003, 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

(For more than 12 years, the Dance Insider has been the leading English-language source for reviews of the European dance scene. Help the Dance Insider return to Paris and increase its coverage of European dance by finding us investors. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, e-mail publisher Paul Ben-Itzak. This Flash Review was first published on November 5, 2003. To see a panoplay of images from Jean Babilee's 70-year career, recently published on Le Monde, click here.)

PARIS -- The landmark Spring 2001 France Moves festival, which introduced New York audiences to or re-acquainted them with several leading French dance companies, also introduced the choreographer Josef Nadj to Jean Babilee, in town for a screening of "Le Mystere Babilee.". Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Top: Edouard Manet (Paris, 1832- Paris, 1883) "Picnic in a Wood," n. d.. Black chalk, partly reinforced with pen and black ink, with green, blue,brown and black watercolor on paper, 478 x 317 mm. Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology University of Oxford, Oxford, inv. no. WA1980.83. Mathey 35 B. Bottom: Paul Cézanne, (Aix-en-Provence, 1839-1906, Aix-en-Provence), "Bathers," 1899-1904. Oil on canvas, 51.3 x 61.7 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago, Amy McCormick Memorial Collection, Chicago, inv. no. 1942.457. RP 859. For more on these two tableaux and the relationship between Manet and Cezanne, see below and follow the link to our complete article and gallery.

Arts Voyager Gallery, 2-7: Back to the Future
Cezanne in Budapest: Even the 'father of us all' had parents
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

It's easy to be cynical about the trend by museums over the past decade to exhibit major figures in juxtaposition with other artists (not always peers). To me it's often seemed like a marketing ploy, as if curators don't credit the reputations of Pissarro, Picasso, Manet, Monet, and Cézanne as sufficient to draw visitors, and need to re-brand them in a new context. But Cézanne and the Past -- Tradition and Creativity, an assemblage of 100 works by the master juxtaposed with work by his antecedents (from Le Nain to Poussin up to Manet and Courbet), on view at Budapest's Museum of Fine Arts through February 17, has opened my eyes to the value of context as illumination. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

L'enfant sauvage: Kelyna Lecompte in Valerie Massadian's "Nana." Photo: Valerie Massadian.

Flash Film & Livestock show Review, 1-25: Let there be blood
Cinema verité in French "Nana"; Grand illusions at the Fort Worth Rodeo & Livestock Show
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

I still don't know which shocked me more: The wild boar hanging upside down with its purple blood dripping onto the concrete floor in front of the butcher's stall, or that I was the only person in the busy indoor Marche St. Quentin in Paris's cosmopolitan 10th arrondissement that early Saturday morning who seemed to notice it. Years later, checking out the annual animal fair in the rural southwestern village of Le Bugue, I may have also been the only person who thought the donkeys behind a rope looked depressed, no doubt at the prospect that they might be destined to finish as donkey salami. (Smells like dung, tastes delectable, but you have to get the kind that's mixed with pork; the Savoyard is best.) Comparing the livestock component of the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo (the oldest indoor rodeo in the world) with Valerie Massadian's 2011 "Nana," the French film which opens January 25 at New York's Anthology Film Archives, I think I understand better my typically American reaction to the sanguine sanglier, and the solution: Subscribers click here to read the full Review and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)


In Memorium, 1-16: Rebecca Jung
Sweet Paradise: a Personal Recollection
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

(Author's note: I only recently learned of the death of the veteran Pilobolus dancer Rebecca Jung from gastric cancer, at the age of 46. The following is a memory of Becky, and of our relationship.)

We were on a beach in Ocean City, Maryland, where Becky's mother -- who had just published a book on Frederick Law Olmstead, the conceiver of Central Park and so many other landmarks of the American passage -- had a condo overlooking the Atlantic. Becky was recovering from Pilobolus's relentless July season at the Joyce, a month-long crucible of the kind of rigorous, athletic, physically taxing and, at times, emotionally draining dances the company had been famous for since it was founded in 1971 by three smart-aleck jocks who stumbled into a Dartmouth dance class, soon joined by their teacher. It was the summer of 1997, and after seven years with the company, at the age of 32, Becky was burned out, a crash accelerated by having to teach the dances to the three of the company's six performers who were new. Because here's the thing about those dances: What elevated them from mere gymnastics and made the physical science and brainy concepts of the directors into art -- besides the choreographic rigor that that Dartmouth dance teacher, Alison Chase, had instilled in the boys when she joined the company -- was not just the agility but the versatility of the dancers chosen by Chase, Robby Barnett, Michael Tracy, and Jonathan Wolken to execute their vision, particularly the women, typically two to the four men. They not only had to be strong, elegant, and eloquent, comedic as well as tragic, but musical and lyrical. And the feats of balance required weren't merely physical; they also had to be able to find and make equilibrium from the sometimes competing visions of the four directors. Tracy might choreographic a sequence, the dancers spend days working over it and refining it, only to have Wolken come in and throw it out, pulling seniority on Tracy. (The directors were even in therapy, Becky had told me. They got a grant for it.) As the dance captain, Becky had to insulate her colleagues, as much as possible, from that anarchy.

So it's understandable why that August at Ocean City, Becky slept a lot. And that she'd be annoyed when a couple of teenage boys kicking a soccer ball around kept hitting us. But when I warned them, half-kiddingly, "You better watch out, she's a dancer," meaning that she might use those strong legs to kick them, the boys just snickered, Becky upbraided me: "You have to understand that in most parts of the country, when you say 'dancer,' they think 'stripper.'" Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Alexandra Lematre in Bruno Dumont's "Hors Satan." Photo courtesy New Yorker Films.

(Updated with photos!) Flash Review, 1-16: Les Fleurs du Mal
Fallen Angels, Resurrected "Hors Satan"
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

I watched Bruno Dumont's 2011 "Hors Satan" (which could be translated as "Out of Satan" or "Outside of Satan"; personally, I like "Satan Outside of the Box"), opening Friday at New York's Anthology Film Archives, after viewing new episodes on American television of the Good Wife and the Mentalist, and the episode of M*A*S*H* in which an injured bomber pilot claiming to be "Jesus Christ" gets sent home because, after all, what would Jesus be doing in a war zone? These days, He'd probably be way too busy to intervene in the petite accablements of a young woman (Alexandra Lematre) living with her mother and abusive step-father near a terrain vague outside Boulogne-sur-Mer and fending off the unwanted attentions of a forest guard in the gothically austere Nord Pas de Calais region of France. So (spoiler alert), the task is left to an itinerant drifter (David Dewaele) who shoots the step-father with a rifle hidden in a windmill, beats the guard to a pulp, and who (if we take the story literally), judging by the way he resurrects the girl (identified as just 'the Girl' in the credits) at the end of the film, may in fact be the fallen angel, re-descending to Earth in search of redemption. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Flash Guide, 1-14: Inside Presenting
From the cradle to the grave, 10 new ways to build your audience (from the experts)
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

The Dance Insider is celebrating 15 years as the leading magazine for dance professionals, teachers, and serious students, publishing 100% original content that can't be found anywhere else. First published in the DI's debut print issue of Summer 1998, this story is published online today for the first time.

"If what I'm saying about my art is that it is a metaphorical rumination on society, then I should be out in it."

-- Bill T. Jones.

After months of practicing with the basketballs, the stars were being recognized for their hard work. Their fans mobbed them for autographs. The scene was the New Victory Theater on Broadway, where Peter Pucci Plus dancers had just premiered "Basketball Jones." Like a corps de ballet of women which metamorphosizes into swans, the eight basketball-wielding performers had become an extra-human species. Magic had taken place. Pucci, performing as part of the theater's Family Series, had also revealed a practical truth: If you build an outreach program, they may come, but if it's not good, they ain't coming back -- let alone coming backstage for autographs. Keeping this tenet in mind, here, shared exclusively with the Dance Insider, are 10 cradle-to-grave ideas from presenters, choreographers, directors, and performers -- ranging from choreographer Bill T. Jones to former Kennedy Center director Lawrence T. Wilker -- for expanding the legions of dance maniacs. Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Frantisek Kupka, "Localization of Graphic Motifs II," 1912-13. Oil on canvas, 78 3/4 x 76 3/8" (200 x 194 cm), frame: 78 3/4 x 76 3/8" (200 x 194 cm). National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund and Gift of Jan and Meda Mladek. Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington. é2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.

Arts Voyager Gallery, 1-8: The Big Bang Axiom
Back to the Future with "Inventing Abstraction" at MoMA
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

If you think the world only started getting smaller -- and the many worlds of art cross-fertilizing -- with the advent of the Internet, you need to get yourself to the Museum of Modern Art in New York. With "Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925," a pan-media exhibition of 350 paintings, drawings, prints, books, sculptures, photographs, recordings, dances, and more, running through April 15, MoMA returns to its historical and pedagogical roots and, not incidentally, furnishes a much-needed refresher for a 21st century New York art world as evidently rootless as it is profligate, as well as a template for today's would be multi-media hopscotchers, too often content with dilettante dabbling and dipping in their sister art forms. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

From the exhibition "Inventing Abstraction: 1910-1925," on view at the Museum of Modern Art through April 25: Vaslav Nijinsky, "Untitled. (Arcs and Segments: Planes)," 1918-19. Crayon and pencil on paper, 11 1/4 x 14 9/16" (28 x 37 cm). Collection John Neumeier. é2012 Collection John Neumeier. For our full gallery / article on the MoMA exhibition, subscribers can click here. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Flash Flashback, 1-8: Where's Ida Rubinstein?
Nijinsky at the Orsay: Mis-steps at an Exhibition
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2000, 2013 Paul Ben-Itzak

First published on October 25, 2000.

PARIS -- Millions more people go to museums than to dance performances. As well, dance, unlike the visual arts, is ephemeral. So whenever there is an exhibit of dance-related visual art in a museum, it is reason to celebrate. More people are being exposed to our art, including many who have never been to an actual dance performance. ("I'm going to get myself to a proper ballet performance one of these days," a visitor to Musee d'Orsay, where a new exhibit on Vaslav Nijinky opened yesterday, resolved to his companion in a Cockney accent.) However, precisely because this is in many cases the only exposure a wide public will get to dance, a curator's responsibility to be scrupulous in representing our history is acute. While the new multi-gallery exhibit at d'Orsay, running through February 18, is thus reason to celebrate, the curating by Martine Kahane and Erik Nasland commits at least one error, misidentifying a crucial dancer, so that her name is left entirely out of the exhibit. This, at least one other sin of omission, some questionable choices for inclusion, and one noticeably puzzling display order mar an exhibit that otherwise provides several high-points to leave one breathless, so vivid is the portrait that emerges of the man regarded as the greatest male dancer ever. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

They made Belle Epoque Paris a 'museum for the masses,' and now they're in a museum. On view through January 20 at the Dallas Museum of Art, Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries presents 100 examples of this street art, including, by Jules Chéret (French, 1836-1932), top left: "Bal du Moulin Rouge," 1889, color lithograph (sheet: 48 1/2 x 35 in. or 123.2 x 88.9 cm), and top right, "Folies Bergere: Loie Fuller," 1897, color lithograph (sheet: 48 x 33 7/8 in. or 121.9 x 86 cm), both collection of Jim and Sue Wiechmann, photographed by John Glembin, Milwaukee Art Museum; and, both color lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, 1864-1901), gifts of Mrs. Harry Lynde Bradley and photographed by Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Art Museum, bottom left, "Moulin Rouge-La Goulue," 1891 (sheet: 76 7/16 x 48 in. or 194.2 x 121.9 cm) and, bottom right: "Divan Japonais," 1893 (sheet: 31 5/16 x 23 15/16 in. or 79.5 x 60.8 cm), featuring Jane Avril, the brainiest Can-Can dancer ever (see story below for more on Avril).

Flash Flashback, 12-21: The woman in the poster
Jane Avril by Francois Caradec: There's a reason she inspired Toulouse-Lautrec
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2010, 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Jane Avril, the svelte red-headed dancer immortalized by Toulouse-Lautrec, lucked out in landing the late Francois Caradec, a giant of the French literary scene, to pen her story. Caradec was a tireless bibliophile, and this passion served him well in reconstructing the life of this seminal thinking dancer's dancer. Subscribers click here for the full Article. (Not a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
20: An American Protester in Paris
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011 Paul Ben-Itzak

C'est pas chez toi

"Alors, tu fait l'opposition de l'exterior, c'est bien ca?" I had just told the petite, dirty blonde lawyer with the impertinent blue eyes and girlish voice in the floppy gray trench-coat that I was not even tempted to go back to the U.S. as long as Bush was president. We were at the chipped mosaic "zinc," or counter, of le Valmy, my 'café d'habitude' on the Quai Valmy of the Canal Saint-Martin (I was stationed on the corner stool, from which I could look out at the canal through the Sun-streaked cracked window), a mythic Parisian water-way which runs all the way to the Bastille (moving underground a panhandle at the Boulevard Richard Lenoir, where Simenon's Commissar Maigret lived with his doting wife), immortalized in films like Jean Vigo's 1934 "L'Atalante," in which Michel Simon's crusty sea captain takes his first mate and his bride on a honeymoon tour of France's water-ways (I'd copped an imprecation uttered by Simon to one of the cats who make up his menage when she jumps on his dinner table to use with my own feline roommates: "Allez Mignon, c'est pas chez toi!"; it sounded more lyrical than "Mesha Mesha if you're able, get yourself off the table, this is not a kitty's stable!"); Marcel Carné's 1947 fairy-tale "Les portes de la nuit," in which Yves Montand made his debut (introducing "The Dead Leaves," neutered in the American version as "Autumn Leaves") as a man who misses the last Metro to live a dreamish night in Barbes (in now mostly Arabic lower Montmartre; the lanky, swarthy, Italian-born young Montand would fit right in) which ends with his lover's body being fished out of the canal; and "Hotel du Nord," also by Carné, in which the legendary music hall chanteuse Arletty indignantly tells a paramour in her high-pitched voice, "Atmosphere!? Atmosphere!? Is that all I am to you?!" It's a canal intersected by locks, and when I lived in Paris, pedestrians still made time to stop if they happened to find themselves on one of its bridges (from which "Amelie" liberated her goldfish) when a ferry was about to pass under. Subscribers click here to read the full Chapter. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Top left: Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), "Le Luxe I," 1907. Oil on canvas, 82 11/16 x 54 5/16 in. (210 x 138 cm). Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris. Purchase, 1945. Top right: Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), "Drawing for 'Le Luxe,'" 1907. Charcoal, squared for transfer, on paper mounted to canvas, 88 9/16 x 53 15/16 in. (225 x 137 cm). Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris. Gift of Marguerite Duthuit, 1976. Bottom: Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954),, "Luxe, calme, et volupté," 1904. Oil on canvas, 38 3/4 x 46 5/8 in. (98.5 x 118.5 cm). Centre Pompidou, Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris. Gift in lieu of estate taxes, 1982. On extended loan to the Musée d'Orsay, Paris. All images and works é2012 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Arts Voyager, 12-18: Moving in the Light
Matisse at the Met: A body of work, also at work on the body
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Before he changed the shape of dance, Diaghilev published a pivotal art magazine. Before he launched Balanchine in America, Lincoln Kirstein fervently tried to get the original, 10-hour version of Eisenstein's film "Viva Mexico" to these shores. Like Balanchine, Martha Graham's work wasn't just an annex in the genesis of modern art, but one of its principal exponents. In an epoch when cloistered dance students sometimes grow up to be choreographers who think they're also plasticians and playwrights even if they've had no training in these mediums, it's vital that dancers continue to be reminded that they are part of a larger artistic movement. So we continue in these pages to cover Anthology Film Archives (whose founder, Jonas Mekas, once shared the fabled 80 Wooster Street with Trisha Brown, and later realized Kirstein's dream to show that uncut version of "Viva Mexico"); the Morgan Library, whose upcoming 160-piece Surrealism exhibition includes an evening of dances by Graham (apparently one of the few women artists represented in the exhibition); the Museum of Modern Art, whose imminent 350-piece exhibition, "Inventing Abstraction," includes evenings of live dance as well as archival film extracts of the work of Mary Wigman and Rudolf von Laban; and, today, Henri Matisse, whose revisiting of subjects is explored in the Metropolitan Museum's new exhibition Matisse: In Search of True Painting -- an Exploration of Matisse's Painting Process, on view through March 17, and which, not incidentally, also reveals how Matisse highlighted the contours of the human body. Herewith a plentitude of examples which the Met has generously provided from the self-assured master who, as Clement Greenberg put it in 1949 in The Nation, "can no more help painting well than breathing" -- a description which might well apply to many dancers. Click here to read the full article and see more Images.

Tumultuous Times: 12 years of dance in Europe
Tanz-Miniatures from Wolfl and Neuer Tanz
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2003, 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

(For more than 12 years, the Dance Insider has been the leading English-language source for reviews of the European dance scene. Help the Dance Insider return to Paris and increase its coverage of European dance by finding us investors. For more information, e-mail publisher Paul Ben-Itzak. This Flash Review was first published on April 24, 2003.)

BOBIGNY, Seine-Saint-Denis, France -- Sure, I kept re-inserting noise-muffling bits of wetted toilet tissue in my ears to save my hearing. Sure, the constant quick black-outs and lights back up were giving me an eye-ache. Sure, the repetitions were at times exasperating, and sure, I was watching the clock. But by the end of "Greenspans Aktentasche," VA Wolfl's 2001 tour-de-force not-about-Alan Greenspan's briefcase dance on the astonishingly and specifically virtuosic Neuer Tanz to open the Rencontres Choregraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis last night, the only reason I was watching the clock was to be sure I made the Last Metro, for I had been transported into Wonderland. Click here to read the full Review.

Love on the run: Ben Gazzara, Audrey Hepburn, and a whole lotta real New Yorkers star in Peter Bogdanovich's 1981 "They All Laughed." Courtesy Home Box Office.

The Arts Voyager, 12-13: Lovable Losers
Woody who?; Anthology fetes Ben Gazzara, the real NY Everyman
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

When is a tribute to Ben Gazzara, the quintessential tragedian of the New York film school who died in February at 81, more than just a tribute to Ben Gazzara, who after all never obtained super-star status? When the retrospective is presented by Anthology Film Archives (December 13-23), where it's transformed into a festival of the type of cinema d'auteur promoted (and practiced) by Jonas Mekas, who founded the fabled New York cinematheque more than four decades ago and is still going strong at 90. Subscribers click here to read the full Review and see more images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Martha Graham wasn't just the creator of American Modern Dance, but a co-creator of American Modern Art. Thus it's appropriate that Modernage's 1972 gelatin silver print of Barbara Morgan (1900-1992)'s "Martha Graham -- 'Lamentation,' 1935" (left) should be part of "Big Pictures," running March 5 - April 21, 2013 at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, whose current exhibition "To see as artists see: American Art from the Phillips Collection," showing through January 6, includes (right) Walt Kuhn (1877-1949)'s oil on canvas "Plumes, 1931" (acquired 1932, The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.). For more work from current and upcoming exhibitions at the Amon Carter, click here. For more on Martha Graham, click here. (Morgan photo éBarbara Brooks Morgan. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas. Gift of the artist P1974.21.28..)

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
19: Oui, je parle baguette
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Just because you speak French doesn't mean you understand the French

Here's the secret to successful baguette-buying in France: When shopping at an unfamiliar boulangerie, always order the next step up from the basic baguette. It's sometimes called the Retrodor or the Petite Ghana, but most often called the Tradition, pronounced tradi-CION, with a Tevya-like flourish at the end; if you say 'tradi-SHUN' the vendeuse will shun you, feigning not to understand. (The French are like that; get one consonant wrong, and instead of just giggling, grimacing or correcting you, they'll screw up their faces and pretend they have no idea what you're talking about.) Subscribers click here to read the full Chapter. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Cross Country / A Memoir of France; or, 100 French Women
18: If the hat doesn't fit, comment trouvé l'amour?
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011 Paul Ben-Itzak

For the love of a tuba, rendez-vous raté

"Whadda ya mean, the hats are in Germany?" "I got a call from a delivery service in Wiesbaden and they're being held up because of a strike. They won't be here for at least another ten days." "But it will be too late then; the hat show will be over. Let me check into it." I'd met Laura Daly when she was managing a dance company in Connecticut, Momix. Discovering that she designed hats -- and had a whole line of them, most of which looked to me chic-ly French -- I offered to host a show for her in my Paris flat on the rue de Paradis, nestled among the crystal and porcelain shops. The problem was that we were in April 2002, and in one of its many nonsensical security measures, the U.S. government had decided that any package over two pounds destined for Europe would be routed through Wiesbaden, and the stock for her show was reduced to the box she was able to cart with her on the plane. I invited my own reduced stock of Parisienne candidates d'amour: Benedicte, who had forgiven me for breaking up with her when Sylvie stole my heart; Sylvie, who'd rebuked me by pretending I hadn't kissed her; and Gillian, a trés chic new candidate. Sabine and I weren't speaking since I'd answered her suggestion that Judaism wasn't a culture or race but just a religion by fleeing her car while she was retrieving her clown costume. This is a bad habit I have; ending the argument by escaping it. Subscribers click here to read the full Chapter. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Peter William Holden's installation "Solenoid." Image éMedial Mirage Matthias Moller.

MARSEILLE -- On my first visit to the Cité Phocéenne, to cover the Festival de Danse et des Arts Multiple this past summer, I was greeted by construction everywhere in preparation for the city's year as the European Capital of Culture 2013. Cranes towered high over the Old Port and barriers kept pedestrian traffic to a single lane on a busy Friday night. Living up to my expectations for the capitol of Provence, the days were hot under clear blue skies and the obsessive green-clad cleaning teams who are omnipresent in Paris and most other French cities seemed non-existent. But there was a good buzz in town and the architecture on the precipitous and storied Canabière, the main shopping street which descends into the port and which was once the city's main gathering place, is a fascinating mix of European and Moorish. The tour bus that wends its way from the Old Port out to the beach, along the Corniche Kennedy, past the Frioul islands and the Château d'If, then up a steep hill to Notre Dame de la Garde provides an ideal overview of the city's scenic highlights, including the fishing village Vallon des Auffes, where the chase scene in "The French Connection" was shot. The view from the hilltop is spectacular and worth the climb. Subscribers click here to read the full Review and see more images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

New on our sister publication Art Investment News: On November 16 & 17, Christie's Paris hosts its largest auction ever in France, with 175 photographs, including, above: Elfried Stegmeyer (1908-1988), Untitled (Girl In Clouds), 1936. Epreuve sur papier albuminé, montée sur support cartonné. Estimated at 4,000 - 6,000 Euros ($5,136 - $7,703). éChristie's Images Ltd. 2012. For our complete story and more images, click here.

The Arts Voyager, 11-15: The case of Albert Camus, the Stranger who looks like us
A plea to the French government to step in and sponsor his centennial exhibition
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

News item: Planned centennial exhibition, "Albert Camus, the stranger who looks like us," to be curated by scholar Benjamin Stora for Marseille - Provence Capital Cultural European 2013, cancelled by the committee for Marseille - Provence Capital Cultural European 2013. (Click here to read -- in French -- the preliminary scenario for the exposition conceived of by Benjamin Stora and Jean-Baptiste Péretié, as initially approved by Catherine Camus, the author's daughter and rights-holder.)

The occasion was as opportune as the disappointing denouement was perhaps inevitable, given the tendency of the interested to alienate people on both sides of any given question with a point of view and approach that often defied any fixed ideology, bred from the melanged influences of ideas and experience, intellect and instinct, reflection and urgency. At the heart of the Mediterranean capital Marseille's campaign to win the European Union's coveted and potentially lucrative Cultural Capital of Europe designation for 2013 would be the man who not only embodies everything that is heroic about France, a champion of philosophy, letters, the theater, even -- as editor of the underground newspaper Combat -- the Resistance to the German Occupation, but who better than anybody embodies in one man the intricate, still conflicted mosaic that is France's relations with its former colonies, its own Mediterranean first man, Albert Camus. Click here to read the full Article.

Donna Scro in her "One. Constant. Change." Photo éDaniel Hedden.

NEW YORK -- When Stacie Shivers appeared before the audience to open "Breath of the Heart," the first piece on the bill for Donna Scro / Freespace Dance's concert on September 23 at Peridance Capezio Center, an excited young boy behind me whispered, "That's my teacher!" It was both disconcerting and illuminating to see performer as pedagogue; instead of being absorbed into the scene, one became alert, prepared to learn lessons. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

The bad news is that this season the Ballet du Capitole de Toulouse will be littered by ballets by its new director, the former Paris Opera Ballet star Kader Belarbi, at best a mediocre choreographer. The good news is that "La fille mal gardé," the oldest ballet around (it's as ancient as the French revolution), will be revived to enter in the company's repertoire. The bad news is that Balanchine and Robbins, championed by the former directors, are apparently out. (I'd certainly prefer Mr. Belarbi to Mr. Balanchine, wouldn't you?) The good news is that besides the tired strategy of presenting horrid "contemporary" ballets in an effort to make ballet accessible (as opposed to just performing the classical ballets earnestly), the company is promoting several ancillary activities, one of which is a year-long film cycle at the Cinematheque de Toulouse. Coming soon: Vincente Minnelli's 1948, "The Pirate," starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland (right), playing May 12 (to go with Belarbi's attempt to make his own "Corsaire") and Charlie Chaplin's 1928 "The Circus" (left), timed with the premiere of Israeli choreographers Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak's "Oyster." (I'd certainly prefer the non-dancey Pinto to Mr. Robbins, wouldn't you?) Time to go to the movies! Images courtesy Cinematheque de Toulouse. -- PB-I

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
18: If the hat doesn't fit, comment trouvé l'amour?
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

"Whadda ya mean, the hats are in Germany?" "I got a call from a delivery service in Wiesbaden and they're being held up because of a strike. They won't be here for at least another ten days." "But it will be too late then; the hat show will be over. Let me check into it." I'd met Laura when she was managing a dance company in Connecticut. Discovering that she also designed hats -- and had a whole line of them, most of which looked to me chic-ly French -- I offered to host a show for her in my Paris flat on the rue de Paradis, nestled among the crystal and porcelain shops. The problem was that we were in April 2002, and in one of the many nonsensical security measures installed by the American government, it had been decided that any package over two pounds destined for Europe would be routed through a private company. So the bulk of Laura's hats were stranded in Wiesbaden, and the stock for her show was reduced to the box she was able to cart with her on the plane. I invited my own reduced stock of Parisienne candidates d'amour: Benedicte, with whom I'd broken off ("I thought American boys were serious!" she'd scolded me) when Sylvie stole my heart; Sylvie, subsequently rebuked me; and Gillian, a trés chic new candidate. Sabine and I weren't speaking since I'd answered her suggestion that Judaism wasn't a culture or race but just a religion by escaping from her car (in which we'd been having this debate) while she was in the laundry retrieving her clown costume. Subscribers click here to read the full Chapter. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Rudolf Nureyev and Noella Pontois in "La Bayadere," Palais Garnier, 1974. Photograph by André Chino. Courtesy CNCS.

SAN FRANCISCO -- With its love of pageantry -- the city's eternal scribe Herb Caen once declared "If all the world's a stage, San Francisco is the cast party" -- it's no surprise that an exhibition focused on the accouterments of Rudolf Nureyev would find its sole U.S. venue at the City by the Bay's de Young Museum. Subscribers click here to read the full story and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

Flash First Person, 9-19: 'That was Rudy for you!'
Working with -- and dancing for -- Nureyev
By Marcello Angelini
Copyright 2012 Marcello Angelini

Marcello Angelini, artistic director of the Tulsa Ballet, worked with Rudolf Nureyev for over eleven years, frequently alternating with him in principal roles, as a guest artist invited by Nureyev in companies where his works were being staged, in ballets choreographed by Nureyev, and in companies in which Nureyev was guesting. To help fill out the man celebrated in the new exhibition Rudolf Nureyev: A Life, opening October 6 at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, Dance Insider editor and publisher Paul Ben-Itzak posed Angelini several questions about Nureyev's legacy and his most piquant memories working with him.

What is Nureyev's greatest legacy to you personally, and professionally?

I don't know where to start. Imagine that in my first professional performance I danced the Wolf in "The Sleeping Beauty" while Rudolf was the Prince.... I then kept meeting him wherever I went, whether in Berlin or with Northern Ballet Theater or in the various opera houses in Italy and, by age 23, I was alternating with Rudolf in ballets like "The Sleeping Beauty," "The Nutcracker," "Miss Julie," "Coppelia," "The Lesson," "Spectre de la Rose," and many others. Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Flash Flashback, 9-19: You Oughta be in Pictures
Nureyev's "Cinderella" is More than Ready for its Screen Test
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2005, 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

For 10 years, the Dance Insider was the leading source of English-language reviews of the French dance scene. This story was first published on the Dance Insider on May 3, 2005.

PARIS -- Continuing Thursday's theme, the second reason we decided to open up a bureau here in 2001 was that on my Fall 2000 visit, I found the Paris Opera Ballet a revelation, and realized that our readers would be missing out if we did not give them regular news of this company, at that point the best ballet company I had ever seen. Performing in a house that managed to be ornate and intimate at the same time, presided over by a giant Chagall mural of the arts enacted there, the electrifying dancers cascaded down the raked stage in a repertory that careened (in the three programs I saw) thrillingly from Balanchine to Robbins to Preljocaj to "Raymonda" (staged by Nureyev) to an entire evening of Forsythe in which "In the Middle Somewhat Elevated" was nowhere to be seen. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Straight up with chasers: The pluckiest 'regional' troupe in the U.S., American Repertory Ballet, helps baptize the Union County Performing Arts Center's brand new Hamilton Stage in Rahway, New Jersey September 28-29 with a mixed program highlighted by former Joffrey Ballet principal Mary Barton's "Straight Up with a Twist" (above, with the Company), complete with live music by Kaila Flexer and Friends. Speaking of Joffrey alumni gone choreographers, the program also includes Trinette Singleton's "Capriccios" and ARB artistic director Douglas Martin's "Ephemeral Possessions" and "Romeo and Juliet." ARB unveils Barton's latest, untitled at presstime, October 6 at Raritan Valley Community College, accompanied by the company premiere of Ann Marie DeAngelo's "Blackberry Winter" and the revival of longtime Joffrey director Gerald Arpino's "Viva Vivaldi." Peter C. Cook photo courtesy ARB.

Top: Ruth Asawa (b. 1926), printed by Clifford Smith. "Nude," 1965. Lithograph. é1965 Ruth Asawa. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.1965.210. Bottom: Ruth Asawa (b. 1926), printed by Jurgen Fischer. "Nasturtiums," 1965. Lithograph. é1965 Ruth Asawa. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas. 965.214.

The Arts Voyager, 8-14: Arts Voyager, Generations
Ruth Asawa: From darkness into light
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

For Annette, Eva, Sharon, and all the other parents of the Alvarado Arts Program.

PERRYVILLE, Maryland -- Lafayette, when he traversed it on General Washington's orders, called the mighty Susquehanna River his "rubicom." This morning as the Sun rises over this vast blue reflecting pool right near where it opens up into the Chesapeake Bay, and I reflect on how a kid from San Francisco's Noe Valley got here, at the end of a three-month arts voyage and personal journey that now finds me in a house where Lafayette 'lui-meme' slept, owned by another kid from SF (neighboring Eureka Valley) and her husband, I find myself thinking of Ruth Asawa, who from a childhood interned in a prison camp by her own country (is this what Lafayette and Washington fought for?) went on to turn thousands of kids like me and my pal on to art. I think of art and I think of humility, I think of museums and I think of access. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

First she was his muse. Then he painted her. Eventually she joined the collection of Parisian socialite Helene Rochas. Now you too can own her, when Christie's Paris hosts the auction "The Collection of Helene Rochas" on September 27, preceded by viewings September 11-26. She is "Japanese Woman with Red Table 1967-1976," painted by Balthus (1908-2001) in casein and tempera on canvas, and, measuring 144 x 192.5 cm, she's expected by Christie's to go for 3 million to 5 million Euros. Copyright Christie's Images Ltd. 2012.

Tanztheatre Wuppertal's Shantala Shivalingappa and Fernando Suels Mendoza in Pina Bausch's "Bamboo Blues." Photo é Jong-Duk Woo.

LONDON -- One great harvest of the Olympics being held in London this year is the cultural Olympiad, which has brought us Tanztheatre Wuppertal Pina Bausch, under the leadership of Dominique Mercy and Robert Sturm. In a tribute to Bausch under the rubric "World Cities," ten works which were inspired by the choreographer's reactions to ten different cities around the world and made between the years of 1986 and 2007 played alternately at the Barbican Theatre and Sadler's Wells, both of whom collaborated in this Bauschian tour de force. Subscribers click here to read the full Letter and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

Tanztheatre Wuppertal's Dominique Mercy in Pina Bausch's "Der Fensterputzer." Photo é Ulli Weiss.

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Flash Flashback, 7-27: Breathless
Pina throws a press conference
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2004, 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

First published on the Dance Insider on June 4, 2004. Re-published today for Pina's children of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. -- PBI

PARIS -- "What is the source of your imagination?" The question comes at the end of Pina Bausch's Wednesday press conference at the Theatre de la Ville - Sarah Bernhardt, which tonight sees the French premiere of "Nefes" (Turkish for "Breath"), Bausch's latest site-created work for the Tanztheatre Wuppertal, this one developed in Istanbul, where it premiered last year. Bausch, seemingly forever clad in black, leans her chin on one palm, her eyes rolling upwards -- not in exasperation, but as if searching her head for the words -- as long tendrils of smoke spiral from the long cigarette held in her long fingers. (Only Pina Bausch can imbue cigarette smoke with drama; one could swear the smoke is lit with its own follow spot.) Subscribers click here to read the full Press Conference. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Above: A scene from Goncalo Tocha's "It's the Earth, not the Moon." Image courtesy Anthology Film Archives. Below: Sylvie Testud in Jessica Hausner's "Lourdes." Images courtesy Anthology Film Archives.

The Arts Voyager, 7-22: A course in miracles
Essays in direction at Anthology Film Archives
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Two quirky films on view this month at the persistently, even heroically non-conformist Anthology Film Archives, as it almost single-handedly maintains New York's otherwise long-lost title as a cradle of avant-garde cinema among a sea of pop culture altars that shows no sign of abating, demonstrate how the art house cinema founded more than 40 years ago by Jonas Mekas continues to showcase films that in one manner or another confound expectations. Subscribers click here to read the full Review and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Is anyone more responsible than the French for elevating the perception of filmmakers from "director" to "author," or auteur? Take the case of Alfred Hitchcock, from whom the Cinematheque de Toulouse is showing 29 films this month. "How to evoke the considerable craze of which (Hitchcock) was the object during the 1950s and '60s, even to the point -- a rare privilege -- of seeing his name declined like an adjective -- 'Hitchcockien' -- to indicate that the cinematographic forms deployed by this or that director could be qualified as grand art, to signify in one word that they were 'Auteurs' (capital A) and not simple 'makers' of cinema?," writes Christophe Gauthier in his introduction to an accompanying exhibition at the cinematheque of French publicity posters for films made from 1946 to 1966, the years selected to answer Gauthier's question, revealing how the later posters featured not the acting stars, but Hitch himself. The exhibition and festival also mark two important anniversaries for the French love affair with the British filmmaker, the 50th anniversary of the radio interviews conducted with him by Francois Truffaut -- there's not much higher sign of respect than a Frenchman genuflecting before an Englishman, and Truffaut interviewing Hitchcock addresses him more like an eager pupil like an equal -- and the 60th anniversary of the cinamatheque's archives, which began in 1962 when Raymond Borde, perusing a flea market in Saint-Sernin, bought a copy of Hitchcock's 1927 "The Ring," an anniversary which will be feted in a cine-concert later this month at the cinematheque, whose collection today numbers 40,000. Images of Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 "Vertigo" (left) and 1948 "The Rope" courtesy é the Collections of the Cinematheque de Toulouse.

The Arts Voyager, 6-6: What is hip?
Of "hipsters," "coffee culture," and the resonant silence of Jean Epstein
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

For Jim Marron and Herb Caen, who I never knew personally, but who made my world possible, and for Jill Johnston, who made it credible.

NEW YORK -- Okay, looks like I finally found an Arts Voyager opening for the "hipster" rant that's been percolating in my blood for the last two years, ever since I returned to my home town of San Francisco, where I was weaned on hipster-ism that didn't need quotation marks, Ferlinghetti (forget Ginsburg; Ferlinghetti da man, for his much wider influence, as not only a poet who captured and articulated an age's gestalt, but a publisher and bookseller who opened up that world and its expression beyond himself), Rexroth, and others fertilizing the terrain for the hippies of my parents generation, Enrico's and the Old Spaghetti Factory laying down the templates for the coffee houses that became their fields of dreaming, the baseball metaphor hardly hackneyed even from a hack wannabe Beat like me because Willie Mays also hit the Baghdad by the Bay in '58, when Herb Caen's nom de ville evoked not bombs over Iraq but conjured that country's 5,000-year literary heritage to corronate the one being born astride the Golden Gate, as the best minds of a generation defied vertigo and made a grand literary leap into heretofore unknown but ultimately fertile territory. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

The Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas, which was out in front in amassing photography archives long before the current escalation of the market for art photography, regularly showcases its collection in innovative thematic grouping. The Medium and Its Metaphors, on view through September 12, pairs photography with critical and other literary conceptions. Above: Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), "Dan with Rider" (.064 Second), One Stride in 8 Phases (Left Lead), ca. 1887. Collotype. Amon Carter Museum of American Art. P1970.56.13.

The Arts Voyager, 5-17: Ridin' Away
Dawson, Harris, & the Texas Trailhands put the 'whole' back in wholesome
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

FORT WORTH, TX -- There are artists content to follow and occupy themselves with their own star, and then there are those who strive to change the constellation. Devon Dawson, the dulcet-voiced cowgirl heart of the Texas Trailhands -- though cowboy vocalists "Hoot Al" and "Roncho Ron," with their invitingly warm but not overpowering Texas twangs, should not be under-rated, nor should the other instrumentalists who set the ambiance -- and a latter-day Dale Evans in her own right, makes up part of the latter, a game-changer not just in the realms of music and the West but for young people as well, which is why it's important to consider her and a prodigy, the sensational teenager Kristyn Harris, a reincarnation of Patsy Montana and Patsy Cline if ever there was one, in the same breath. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

On view currently in the Alfred H. Barr Painting and Sculpture Galleries, Fifth Floor of the Museum of Modern Art: Salvador Dali, "The Persistence of Memory," 1931. Oil on canvas, 9 1/2 x 13" (24.1 x 33 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Given anonymously. é 2011 Salvador Dali, Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Art Investor, 5-9: Seeing Red (and Orange and Yellow)
Christie's sale sets new record for post-war & contemporary art; Rothko sells for $86.5 million
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

The explosion in the market value of art soared to staggeringly stratospheric -- some might say extraterrestrial -- levels Tuesday, as Christie's New York's evening sale of post-war and contemporary art brought in $388.5 million, the most ever for a post-war and contemporary art auction, with one work, Mark Rothko's 1961 "Orange, Red, Yellow," bringing in a mind-boggling (especially for those like your correspondent who don't see in the artist's work much more than assemblages of mono-colors) $86.9 million, a record for the artist at auction and nearly double the pre-sale maximum estimate of $45 million. In all, 14 new world records for sales at auction were set for individual artists, including heavyweights Yves Klein, whose 1962 "FCI (Fire Color 1") sold for $36,482,500, Alexander Calder ($18,562,500, for "Lily of Force," $6.5 million more than the top pre-sale estimate), Jackson Pollock ("Number 28, 1951," going for $23,042,500), and Romare Bearden ($338,500 for "Strange Morning"). An individual collection, the Pincus Collection, also set the record for the most ever brought in by one private collection in the category, $174.9 Million. "This was an historic event in the auction world, with three major records set in the space of a few short hours," said Brett Gorvy, Christie's chairman and international head of post-war and contemporary Art. "This was truly a season of icons, with the best works by Rothko, Newman, Richter, Pollock, Calder and Klein to come to market in many years. To see so many major records established in one evening was a tribute to the exceptional works on offer this season."

The Art Investor, 5-2: Blue-Chip Stocks
Heavy-weight sales for heavy-weight artists at Christie's New York
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

It's a lot easier to fathom an Impressionist or classic Modern artwork going for eight figures at auction than it is to understand why certain Contemporary artists can fetch six figures. A Mary Cassatt oil of a bourgeoisie girl seated in a chair reading a blue book may be no less banal than a pale David Hockney watercolor of a house in the London suburbs, but the $1,538,500 Cassatt's 1909 "Francoise in a Round-Backed Chair, Reading" sold for at Christie's New York for last night's Impressionism and Modern Art Evening Sale can at least be explained by one incontestable factor, even if the subject and technique in themselves are unalluring: Cassatt's dead, so there's a limited stock available. If the caché attached to Hockney can seem arbitrary, having more akin with equities or, better, futures speculation in the inscrutability of its market valuation, the six to eight figures most of the 31 lots brought in last night in a sale that totaled $117,086,000 (21 works went for more than a million) seems more based on their proven place in history. Let's face it: As the art market goes, Picasso, Cézanne, Matisse, Bonnard, Miro, Braque, Modigliani, Renoir, Gaugin, and Monet are the blue-chip stocks. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

Pearls before swine: Suzanne Gregoire in Amy Greenfield's "MUSEic of the BODy."

Flash Preview, 4-27: Decent Exposure
Amy Greenfield Sings the Body Electric
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Anyone who wants to understand the difference between film that serves dance and dance that serves film -- as well as what distinguishes bad performance art from good -- should see Amy Greenfield's 2010 "MUSEic of the BODy," edited from Greenfield's 1994 Fluxus performance with Nam June Paik at Anthology Film Archives and one of a cornucopia of Greenfield's videos and video extracts being screened Monday at Anthology to celebrate the release of Robert Haller's "Flesh into Light: The Films of Amy Greenfield," a sort of monograph of 45 years of courageously curious video experimentation. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

With the demise of Pina Bausch, the number of living choroegraphers adept at both dance and theater can be counted on one hand. All the more reason to appreciate the coupe the Festival de danse et des arts multiples de Marseille, whose program was announced this week, has pulled off in bagging three of them for this summer's caravan: Sasha Waltz & Guests (in the bravely untheatrical chef d'oeuvre "Impromptus," Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (in the manga-fest "Tezuka"), and Peeping Tom, above, in "A Louer" (For Rent). How fitting, then, that to coronate this triumvirate, the Grand Mistress herself will also be on hand -- in a mini Pina Bausch at the Cinema festival including "Dominique Mercy danse Pina Bausch," "Les Reves dansants," and Wim Wenders's "Pina." Also in the line-up: Cullberg Ballet with "The Strindberg Project," Flamenco company Enclave Espanol with "En Plata," Frankfurt Ballet alumna Crystal Pite's "The Tempest Replica," sport dance master Pierre Rigal's hip-hop foray "Standards," and more. Photo by and éHerman Sorgeloos and courtesy Festival de danse et des arts multiples de Marseille.

Flash Review, 4-27: Living Room Theater
Peeping Tom: A lesson on how to do dance-theater right in "The Salon"
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

PARIS -- Just so you don't think, based on my reviews of Meg Stuart and Ea Sola, that I'm opposed in principal to the idea of talking dances, it's not that I don't like theater -- in fact, I come from theater so I love it -- but that I don't like seeing it done badly, let alone at an amateur level, particularly by dance artists who would never dare to present sub-par dance but don't seem to have the same standards for theater, or if you prefer scripts and acting. There are ways to do this right, and the Belgium-based company "Peeping Tom," in its work "Le Salon" -- the second part of a trilogy that also includes "Le Jardin" and "Le Sous-Sol" (basement) -- provides one of them. Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

Flash Flashback, 4-27: Do dead mimes cry?
Meg Stuart: An American indulged in Paris
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

(Originally published on ExploreDance.Com in 2009.)

PARIS -- On the way to the Theatre de la Ville - Sarah Bernhardt May 26 for the opening night of Brussels-based American choreographer Meg Stuart's new two-hour sans intermission "Do animals cry?," playing through May 30, I picked up a copy of the freebie newspaper Direct Soir, published by Le Monde, and read one of those items that falls into the shocking but not surprising category: Close to 700 items belonging to the estate of the late Marcel Marceau are to be sold off at the famous Hotel Drouot here this week, to pay the debts the artist whose name became synonymous with mime left behind him. The item expected to fetch the most was the hat with the red flower worn by Marceau's eponymous Bip character, for which the opening price was a paltry 800 Euros. Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

Flash Flashback, 4-23: Grave Matters
Taglioni not buried where City of Paris says she is
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2004, 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

(Today is the 208th birthday of Marie Taglioni, the first dancer to use point artistically. From 2001 to 2004, the Dance Insider lead the commemorations in Paris of the Taglioni Bicentennial.This story was originally published on October 6, 2004.)

PARIS -- Officials at the Montmartre Cemetery this morning agreed to take Marie (also known as Maria) Taglioni's name off cemetery maps after an Italian Institute-Dance Insider conference revealed Taglioni, the first dancer to use pointe artistically, is not buried in the cemetery tomb which bears her name, but in the Pere Lachaise cemetery under the name of the ex-husband she divorced after he turned her away from their home because she wouldn't stop dancing. Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

Top: Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), Marthe standing in the sun, in Montval, 1900-1901. Modern print from original negative (sepia-toned gelatin silver print), 1 1/2 x 2 1/8 in.. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Gift of M. Antoine Terrasse, 1992. Bottom: Pierre Bonnard, "The Square at Evening," 1899. Color lithograph on paper, 16 x 21 in.. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., acquired 1954. Both images é 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photos: Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, NY.

The Arts Voyager, 4-22: Let there be light
'Snapshots' at the Phillips: How science helped Bonnard, Vuillard, Denis, Vallotton, Riviere, Breitner, and Evenepoel illuminate an art
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Clever as are some of the juxtapositions in the Phillips Collection's "Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard" -- on view in Washington, D.C. through May 6 and at the Indianapolis Museum of Art June 8 - Sept. 2 -- of photographs paired with paintings, prints, and drawings of similar subjects, what's more interesting is how they confirm and elaborate our understanding of the specific uses of and obsessions with light by these painters, particularly Bonnard and Vuillard, but also Felix Vallotton, Henri Riviere, Maurice Denis, George Hendrik Breitner, and Henri Evenepoel, all featured in this exhibition of 70 paintings, prints, and drawings along with more than 200 photographs, most never before shown in public. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above. Just want this article? Donate $5 using the PayPal Donate button above and we'll send it to you.)

Extending from the 6th to the 15th arrondisement, the rue Vaugirard borders the Luxembourg Garden. Eugene Atget. "Fete de Vaugirard," 1926. Gelatin silver printing-out-paper print, 6 13/16 x 8 3/4" (17.3 x 22.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Abbott-Levy Collection. Partial gift of Shirley C. Burden.

The Arts Voyager, 4-18: Paris the Eternal
Atget documents a patrimony: A walking tour of yesterday and today in the City of Lutece
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

No matter the momentary favorites that the current Parisian cultural establishment -- headed in the wrong direction by mayor Bertrand Delanoe and culture minister Frederick Mitterand -- may try to impose on the city of alternating gloomy grey and luminescent light, there's an eternal Paris which valiantly weathers the fleetingly famous and guards its cultural lore and the patrimony of its inheritors, be they current or past residents or devoted visitors. It's that Paris that was celebrated in the recent Museum of Modern Art exhibition of more than 100 of the 8,500 photographs produced by Eugene Atget from the late 19th to early 20th century. The sign over Atget's Montparnasse studio called them "Documents for Artists," but they might have well been called documents for everyone that has ever fallen in love with the city's artistically romantic boulevards, lingered before its shop windows with their animated mannequins and displays of dusty books, sympathized with the desperate but determined denizens of the desolate quarters of the North, the faubourgs and the legendary Zone, or succumbed to a revery in the Luxembourg Garden or a voluptuous melancholy on a narrow street in the Latin Quarter (in Atget's scope extended, rightly, beyond the more famous 5th arrondissement to include the periphery of the 13th). Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Ruth Asawa (b. 1926). Printed by Clifford Smith. "Pigeons on Cobblestones," 1965. Lithograph. é1965 Ruth Asawa. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas. 1965.200.

The Arts Voyager, 4-12: Art like me
Ways of seeing: Ruth Asawa, John Howard Griffin, Charles M. Russell, 'Frank Artsmarter,' and the Medium and its Messengers
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

FORT WORTH, Texas -- The very word 'museum' implies fixed, fossilized, crystalized. I thought I knew what 'museum' meant until I discovered the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, which doesn't just not force-feed its visitors interpretations of the art within its walls, leaving their minds free to ramble at will, and doesn't just encourage associations with real life, but goes out of its way to foster debate even about its own intentions as a museum. Or so I discovered on a ramble in self-described "Cowtown"'s Cultural District Saturday that began with shifting through detritus looking for jewels in a cattle barn flea market and ended with watching a man selling off the detritus of the family home he could no longer afford to keep. Along the way I re-discovered an elemental San Francisco artist and personal art mentor, Ruth Asawa, saw cutting horses corner calves, and saw the man who changed his color to write "Black Like Me" and change hearts in America version 1961 in a different light, grace of a Fort Worth man losing his home in unemployment-straddled America version 2012. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

The Arts Voyager, 4-5: Pas si miserable que ca....
DOW got you down? Art market soars... on the wings of Victor Hugo
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

The financial markets may have fallen yesterday, with the DOW, NASDAQ, and SP 500 all down, but the art market just keeps on going up. And you don't have to be an old Dutch Master or Impressionist or named Francis Bacon, David Hockney, or Andy Warhol to set off frenzied bidding wars, nor do you have to be a millionaire to buy. The action at Christie's Paris yesterday swirled around a certain Victor Hugo and his gifted descendants, with the Hugo Collection, 411 lots of 500 items -- letters, manuscripts, first editions, drawings by the author of "Les Miserables," artworks by his great grandson Jean and his pal Jean Cocteau, Ballets Russes sketches by Jean's wife Valentine, mid-19th century photography by his Victor's son Charles, furniture, and more -- all being sold off by the great man's great-great grandchildren, tripling pre-sale expectations and grossing 3.2 million Euros, with winning bids ranging from three figures to six. Subscribers click here to read the full Article. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

The Arts Voyager, 4-4: Dispersion
A family disseminates a legacy: Collection Hugo at Christie's Paris
Text by Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

"I dedicate this book to the mountain of hospitality and liberty, to this corner of the old Normandy terrain where the noble humble people of the sea live, on the Isle of Guernesey, severe and gentle, my current refuge, my probable tomb."

-- Victor Hugo, "Les Travailleurs de la Mer," introduction to Book 1, "L'Archipel de la Manche."

Item: Christie's Paris to auction off 500 pieces offered by the descendants of Victor, Jean, and the rest of the Hugo family, April 4 2012.

What happened when the most French of the French, Victor Hugo, exiled himself to an island -- part of France until nature detached it from Normandy -- under the sovereignty of the British Crown, where, among other things, residents had to pay a yearly tribute to the Crown of two chickens and were taxed, not on their income, but on their fortune? He fell in love with the place. Choosing exile after Napoleon Bonaparte's coupe of 1852, Hugo stopped first in Brussels, then shortly afterwards on the Channel Island of Jersey and, evicted from there after criticizing Queen Victoria, landed in Guernesey (as he spelled it) in 1855, not returning to France until 1870, refusing a general amnesty offered by Napoleon in 1859. Compared to France under Napoleon III (about whom he'd subsequently write, including the book, "Napoleon le petite"), he found in Guernesey a cradle of liberty, with four newspapers. "Imagine a deserted isle," he wrote in his introduction to "Les Travailleurs de la Mer" (1866). "The day after his arrival, Robinson creates a newspaper, and Friday subscribes.... Arrive, live, exist. Go where you want to go, do what you want to do, be who you want to be. No one has the right to know your name. Do you have your own god? Preach him. Do you have your own flag. Fly it. Where? In the street. It's white? Fine. It's blue? Very good. It's red? Red is a color. Does it please you to denounce the government? Get up on the podium and speak..... Think, speak, write, print, harangue -- it's your business." Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see many more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

Olga Pericet and partner in Pericet's "Rosa, Metal, Ceniz." Photo éJavier Fergo.

LONDON -- What Miguel Marin's Flamenco Festival brings to London is a generous taster of the diversity within the Flamenco world. This year at Sadler's Wells I saw three companies, whom, while united in their skill, each presented very different programs which paid tribute to the heritage of Flamenco as well as pioneering new and adventurous choreography. Rafael Amargo's work was showy and infused with Broadway gloss, Olga Pericet's contained and experimental and Antonio Gades Company's contribution subtle and traditional. Subscribers click here to read the full Letter and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

Almost four decades after his death, Franco still casts a large shadow over Spain, most recently in the ongoing debate over amnesty granted after the dictator's death in 1975. "Spanish Cinema of the early post-Franco Era," running April 6-13 at New York's Anthology Film Archives in collaboration with scholar Gerard Dapena and the Consulate General of Spain, offers a chance to view the immediate reverberations of his fall -- as well as the delectable opportunity to see two very early works from Pedro Almodovar, whose 1980 "Pepi, Luci, Bom, and the Other Girls in the Heap" and 1982 "Labyrinth of Passion" (above left and right, images courtesy Anthology) are among the 10 gems to be screened.

Maximilien Luce, "Gare de l'Est, les Poilus." Oil on re-enforced paper on canvas, 1917. éVille de Mantes la Jolie, Musée de l'Hotel-Dieu.

Imagine that Pissarro didn't die in 1903 but continued to live and work for 38 years, extending his explorations in the various streams of Impressionism. Then imagine that he decided to consecrate the force of his talent and energy to more depictions of the working stiff, the poor conscript sacrificed as cannon fodder in a wasteful war, and the social movements championing them. Imagine that his brilliant palette became more dense, retaining the sense of color values he learned from Corot, the precision he picked up from Seurat, and his native curiosity, then augmenting them with the lessons of the Fauves, of late Monet and even Bonnard. Well, you don't have to imagine this artistic extension of a life; Pissarro's friend, pupil, compagnon de la route, fellow anarchist sympathizer and, finally, artistic equal Maximilien Luce embodied it. Imagine, now, that you could see the living proof. The downside of the news that Christie's had essentially unearthed an early study for Cezanne's mythic "The Card Players" was the realization that this watercolor, so critical for understanding the origins of the impulses behind such a seminal work, had been out of public view for nearly 60 years. While many conscientious private collectors readily lend their work to public expositions, nothing obligates them to do so. Once a work of art has been snapped up at auction by a private collector, nothing guarantees its continued public accessibility .... (That such work is also part of a public heritage is one reason why French law grants the government the right of 'pre-emption' on works up for public auction.) All the more reason to be grateful that Frederic Luce left a stunning 150 of his father's works to the Parisian suburb of Mantes la Jolie and its museum the Hotel Dieu, now celebrating Luce with a new exhibition of 52 works, "Maximilien Luce, de l'esquisse (draft) au chef-d'oeuvre," which follows the artist's process from the draft to the oil painting, including by showcasing similar works in both forms. We're privileged to be able to share some of this work here. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

A scene from Fritz Lang's 1927 film "Metropolis." Image courtesy Cinematheque de Toulouse.

The Arts Voyager, 3-26: "Metropolis: L'Exposition"
Moving stills from a restored movie masterpiece
By Paul Ben-Itzak

Cinema was originally a strictly pictoral art form. And yet since the dawn of the talkies, what's often been lost in the sweep of a film's story arc is how it can stand alone as visual art, particularly when produced by a master who is more interested in telling a visual story than simply putting a play to celluloid. "Metropolis: L'Exposition" breaks down one of the masterpieces of one art form, that of the moving picture, to reveal it as a series of masterpieces worthy of another art form, the still picture. Organized by the Cinematheque de Toulouse and on view at the Espace EDF Bazacle in Toulouse through April 15, the exhibition offers a cornucopia of images from the fully restored 2008 version of Fritz Lang's 1927 chef d'oeuvre, also to be screened April 7 at the Cinematheque. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Diego Rivera, "Electric Power," 1931-32. Fresco on reinforced cement in a galvanized-steel framework, 58 1/16 x 94 1/8" (147.5 x 239 cm). Private collection, Mexico. é2011 Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The Arts Voyager, 3-22: Art-full Politics
Diego Rivera returns to MOMA
By Arts Voyager Staff

It's a prescient reunion: In December 1931, two years after its founding, the Museum of Modern Art opened a major exhibition of work by the Mexican artist Diego Rivera. Only the second retrospective presented at the young Museum, the show was wildly popular, breaking attendance records in its five-week run. Rivera's international celebrity was based on his fame as a muralist, but murals -- by definition made and fixed on site -- were impossible to transport. To solve this problem, MOMA brought the artist to New York from Mexico six weeks before the opening and provided him with makeshift studio space in an empty gallery. Working around the clock with three assistants, Rivera produced five "portable murals" -- free-standing frescoes with bold images commemorating events in Mexican history. After the opening, to great publicity, Rivera added three more murals, this time taking on New York subjects through monumental images of the urban working class and the social stratification of the city during the Great Depression. All eight works were on display for the rest of the show's run. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

When real life horror becomes more harrowing than reel life fantasies, maybe it's time to escape to the movies. With the perpetrator of the March 19 massacre of three children and one adult at a Jewish school still at large, the streets of Toulouse have been notably less frequented at night, notes Mayor Pierre Cohen, who cancelled a number of scheduled public events out of respect for the victims, including the annual Carnaval parade. But art counters death with life, so we're glad to hear that the Cinematheque de Toulouse and the Space Center of Toulouse are going ahead with the March 22 evening cine-concert at the Cite de l'Espace of Yakov Protazanov's 1924 "Aelita," the first Soviet science fiction film, accompanied live by the Stereopop Orchestra. The story concerns a Soviet engineer who travels to Mars, where he encounters the decadent Aelita, ruler of the red planet, as well as costumes and decor suggesting Star Trek re-designed by Rodchenko.

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
16: Border crossings
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Kela et Paul aux pays de Jeanne d'Arc et Tintin

"Geez, Paul, I thought you said your French was improving! Are you sure 'glace' means ice?"

In fact 'glace' means mirror, 'glacé' means ice cream, and neither means ice cube, but I didn't yet know this in December 2001, which is probably why Kela and I kept getting strange looks from the bartenders as we wandered the timbered-house streets of old Rouen asking for ice cream and mirrors, when all we really wanted was ice with which to chill the warm Normandy cider we'd bought at a corner store. While you can find cider at any grocery in France, you can never find it chilled. Finally we gave up, perched on the edge of a sidewalk, uncorked the cider and drank it tepid with our lunch, followed by a tour of the tower where Joan of Arc went up in flames (Kela's mom had chosen this exact moment to telephone her from Maryland; I couldn't understand what they were arguing about, as it was all in Chinese), a former sanitarium for quarantined victims of the Black Plague still decorated with skulls, and coffee on the terrace of a bar overlooking the docks on the Seine, served with sugar cubes in packages decorated with the flags of the various United States. Subscribers click here to read the full Chapter. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Arthur Tress, Untitled (Coit Tower), 1964. Printed 2010-11. Selenium-toned silver gelatin print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. é2012 Arthur Tress.

The Arts Voyager, 3-20: San Francisco, 1964
Tress revives a heritage that died for Dan White's sins
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

The cult of San Francisco usually reduces the lore to two epochs: The 1950s of the Beats and the '60s of the Hippies, with the latter's concomitant civil rights, free speech, anti-war, and, later, gay liberation movements. Yet there's an eternal San Francisco too, the historic Barbary Coast of the '49ers, the old Irish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Philipino, Mexican, African-American, and a smattering of Jewish families, the San Francisco of the Golden Gate and open vistas, of precipitous streets and Tony Bennett's 'cable cars that climb half-way to the stars.' It's a memory that's been threatened with extinction as the flower children and gay migrations have been succeeded by hoards of Yuppies, the Deadheads supplanted by Sillicon-heads, old-family districts like Eureka Valley -- whose very name evokes the '49er pioneers who built this city -- rewarded for their welcoming attitude towards the gays by seeing them raname their neighborhood "the Castro," the authentic, African-American owned soul-food restaurants of the Western Addition (can anyone tell me if the Church of John Coltrane still beckons to the faithful from its store-front church on Divisadero?) replaced by faux soul food cooked up by white foodies at twice the price, the brilliant minds of the Beats superficially mimicked by a generation of pie-hatted 'hipster' wannabees who confuse tablet computers with the tablets on which troubadors like Ferlinghetti and Rexroth scrawled their espresso-addled paenes to the City by the Bay and its Sun-deprived, pale-faced denizens. The Church of St. Francis in the City of St. Francis where Ferlinghetti observed a naked Godiva riding by on a horse has long-since been marginalized by the Temple of the Foodie, the small tales of the city with which Herb Caen regalled his readers replaced by small plates with big prices, the poetic 'Pabst Blue Ribbon' re-christened 'PBR' to make it hipster-palatable and worthy of sharing a menu with the latest parvenu micro-brew. Into this historically bereft landscape where the city's chronically short-term memory has become even more truncated, enter Arthur Tress and his series of black and white photographs, "San Francisco 1964" -- on view at the de Young Museum through June 3 -- to re-suffuse the canvas of the city with its own colorful history, remind it of its eternal self and perhaps give it back its soul. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

It was a very good year: Lett: Arthur Tress, Untitled (Union Square), 1964. Printed 2010-11. Selenium-toned silver gelatin print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. é2012 Arthur Tress, one of 70 photos Tress took in San Francisco that pivotal year -- both the Beatles and the Republicans were in town -- on display through June 3 at the city's de Young Museum. Right: "Bob Dylan With Top Hat Pointing in Car, Philadelphia PA 1964," by and éDaniel Kramer, whose work on Dylan is featured in "Bob Dylan: L'explosion Rock 61-66," on view through July 15 at the Cité de la Musique in La Villette park in Paris (where Dylan is taught in school). (Meander along the La Villette Basin to get there -- you'll have to detour at a couple of points -- and catch the evening petanque players and, from one of the bridges over the basin, the Eiffel Tower.) It was 1964. I was three years old, and would attend my first concert -- in S.F. -- a year later, by a certain B. Dylan, where my mother would introduce me to Joan Baez. (I'd recount this meeting to Baez years later when interviewing her; she said it made her feel old. I'm now older than she was when she said that. It's all diamonds and rust.) My brother was two. His middle name was Dylan. (More from Tress coming soon on the Arts Voyager.) -- PB-I

To accompany its Zoom Arriere festival, this year focusing on Forbidden Cinema, the Cinematheque de Toulouse along with the UGC Toulouse is presenting, through March 19, an exhibition of posters which have also been threatened by censorship. Typical are, right, René Péron's poster for Roger Vadim's 1956 "And God Created Woman," controversial because of its depiction of star Brigitte Bardot's breasts; and, left, Roger Boumendil's for Yves Boisset's 1972 Algerian war film "R.A.S.," short for "Rien a signaler" or "Nothing to Report." With the French government's refusal to refer to the Algerian War for Independence which ended in 1962 as a "war," even 10 years later the poster's simple portrayal of two opposing sides challenged an important taboo; film poster as political act. It would be 17 more years before the French government officially referred to the 'hostilities' as a war -- which officialy formally ended 50 years ago on March 19. Images courtesy Cinematheque de Toulouse.

Left: William-Adolphe Bouguereau, "Seated Nude," 1884. Oil on canvas. Right: Berthe Morisot, "The Bath," 1885-86. Oil on canvas. Both images copyright Sterling and Francine Clark Institute, Williamstown, Mass.. Note in how many places Morisot uses varying shades of blue. The artistic challenges she set herself and her briliance in meeting them are just one reason the author would have liked to see more of her, less of Renoir.

The Arts Voyager, 3-16: I am not Impressed
When is so much Renoir too much? The Kimbell squanders a golden opportunity
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

What should be the mission of a museum focusing on work by dead artists in 2012? To show us something new, not just impress us with beauty we've already seen either first-hand or in reproduction but wow us with and help us appreciate true trail-blazing artistic achievement. There is such a wealth out there of underexposed work by those practicing before, during, and immediately after the Impressionist era -- Maximilien Luce and Berthe Morisot come to mind -- that one has to question the curatorial vision when a museum with major resources like Fort Worth's Kimbell trots out an exhibition weighted with Renoirs that don't reveal anything new -- a stunning 21 of the 72 paintings in the just-opened "The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark," compared to a paltry six by Monet, clearly the greater master, seven by the father of them all Pissarro, and an appalling two by Morisot, the most under-rated of the Impressionist artists because she had the misfortune of being born a woman. Will the ready and easy appeal of the Renoirs with their idealized (idolized?) conception and execution of female beauty attract audiences and appeal to patrons? Certainly. Will it leave them any more intelligent about art than they were before the exhibition? I don't think so. And even the Renoirs are hardly served by the dreary and drab space of the Kimbell, a dull encadrement for fine art if ever I saw one. Subscribers click here to read the full Review and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Inside the apartment at 49, rue de Paradis in Paris, Spriing-Summer 2004: On the bed, Alaskan-Siamese Sonia; on chair, San Francisco native Hopey; partially viewed below desk, black and white Alaskan-European Mesha. Above: The mylar ceiling. On table under the capital 'A' in 'Paradis': Sarah Bernhardt's personal mirror. Photo courtesy and éChristine Chen.

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
15: Cherche la femme
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Torn between three Frenchwomen, and acting like a fool

PARIS -- "It's for your cats. I don't know if it's the right brand, but at least it's something." Sylvie shrugged as she said it, only slightly wrinkling the shimmering magenta silk Oriental dress in which she appeared for my holiday party, the first at 49, rue de Paradis. Her deep brown eyes under her tightly bunned dark brown hair were gazing directly into mine, the corners of her lips slightly turned up in a smile, her freckled cheeks flush from the brisk December evening. She lowered her eyes as she dipped into her compact Chinese purse. "And this, it's for you. It's not much but I thought, for your new apartment, it would be good to help with the atmosphere." She gave the last word a dramatic flourish emphasized by a conspiratorial raising of her eyebrows. Subscribers click here to read the full Chapter and see more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Catherine Breillat's films frankly addressing female sexuality are not for the prudish. So it's no surprise that three of them, including the 1998 "Romance," above, are among the 80 in this year's Zoom Arriere festival at the Cinematheque de Toulouse, dedicated to "Forbidden Cinema." But it would be a mistake to consign Breillat to the category of pornography for intellectuals. By applying her laser to women's sex lives, Breillat is also making France confront the laceratingly contradictory roles women are expected to play in its society: "Virgin or prostitute, mother or mistress, women have been cut in two since the beginning of the Christian era," Breillat told the Paris daily Liberation's Seguret Olivier in 1998 for a preview of the film, which focuses on its heroine Marie's (Caroline Ducey, above) 'aller-retour's between a man who loves her but has stopped having sex with her and another who loves having sex with her but doesn't love her, with some side affairs (as with Francois Berlléand, above). In the end, Breillat says, "Romance" is "as much the story of a romance as of its negation." Breillat discusses the film in person following its screening March 16 at 8 p.m. at the Cinematheque de Toulouse.

Elle s'appelle Marthe: Coming soon on the Arts Voyager, "Snapshot: Painters and Photography, Bonnard to Vuillard" at the Philips Collection, through May 6. Above, left: Pierre Bonnard, "Marthe in the bathtub," Vernouillet, c. 1908-10. Modern print from original negative (sepia-toned gelatin silver print), 3 1/8 x 2 1/8 inches. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, Gift of the children of Charles Terrasse, 1992. é2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Réunion des Musées Nationaux / Art Resource, NY. Right: Pierre Bonnard, "Woman Standing in Her Bathtub, 1925. Lithograph on paper, 18 5/8 x 13 inches. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., Gift of Marjorie Phillips, 1984. é 2012 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Photo: Réunion des Mus&ecute;es Nationaux / Art Resource, NY.

Satomi Blair as Jocasta in "These Seven Sicknesses." Photo by and é Laura June Kirsch.

NEW YORK -- An exciting and deliciously satisfying five-hour evening at the Flea Theater in which all the main characters die and the audience gets scrumptiously fed summarizes Ed Sylvanus Iskandar's production of the "These Seven Sicknesses," a condensation of the seven plays that circumscribe the Grecian saga of the Atreus family: the Oedipus trilogy, Herakles's "Philoktetes," and Ajax's tales, modernized with aplomb in Sean Graney's re-envisioning of the saga. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

The Arts Voyager, 3-13: 'An intimate Universe'
In Paris, rare treasures by Brueghel, Guardi, Berchem, Tissot, Isabey, Breitner, & More from the Fondation Custodia

Top: Louis-Gabriel-Eugene Isabey (Paris 1803-1886, Paris), "The dyeworks in the souk, Algiers," c. 1830. Canvas, laid down on board, 28.8 x 24.5 cm. Acquired in 2011; inv. 2011-s.10. Bottom: George Hendrik Breitner (Rotterdam 1857-1923, Amsterdam), "Nude with black stockings on a bed," c. 1900. Panel, 20.3 x 30.5 cm; signed. Acquired in 2011; inv. 2011-s.19. Images courtesy Frits Lugt Collection - Fondation Custodia.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

For the intrepid arts voyager to Paris who wants to see art he or she has likely never seen before, the place to be this Spring is not the Orsay Museum, which -- quelle surprise! -- has trotted out an assortment of Degas nudes sure to please the easily titillated tourist -- but the Orsay's neighbor down the street on the rue de Lille, the Institut Neerlandais, which through May 27 is showing, for the first time anywhere in a public exhibition, 115 paintings from the Fritz Lugt Collection normally secreted away (for viewing by appointment only) by the institut's neighbor, the Fondation Custodia, a stunning panorama of pan-European art from the 16th through the 20th century, from innovative Dutch masterworks that demonstrate that nation's rich artistic heritage cannot be reduced to "Rembrandt" to the Dutch teacher of Impressionist pioneer Camille Corot to a rare depiction of an Algerian souk by a young soldier who was part of the French invading party in 1830. At a time when French president Nicolas Sarkozy is threatening to do away with 20 years of freedom of passage across European borders, "Un Univers Intime, Tableaux de la Collection Fritz Lugt" is a much-needed reminder that jobless barbarian sectarian Muslim zealots aren't the only foreign product that comes in when the walls go down. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images from "Un Univers Intime." (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

The Cinematheque de Toulouse has the only known copy of the above large format poster for Jean Renoir's 1937 "The Grand Illusion," part of a special exhibition March 5 - April 10 at the cinematheque devoted to the film, also being projected in full digitally restored splendor as part of its Zoom Arriere festival focusing this year on "Forbidden Cinema," March 9 - 17.

The Arts Voyager, 3-8: Un-censored
From Jean Vigo to Jean Genet and Jean-Luc Godard, Eisenstein to the MItchell Brothers, Pasolini to Iran, the Cinematheque de Toulouse fetes banned films
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

If you thought the most daring, dynamic, and heritage-devoted cinematheque in France was the Cinematheque Francaise, think again: If ever there was any doubt that that the Cinematheque de Toulouse far outdistances its Paris cousin, the former's 6th annual Zoom Arriere festival, this year focusing on Forbidden Cinema, makes it clear that there's only one cinematheque in France that constantly explores risk while at the same time mining the country and the world's rich celluloid heritage, preserving, restoring, and most important sharing rare and engangered treasures, and it's in the Rose City. While the Cinematheque Francaise continues to place box office over patrimoine, with retread tributes to American film-makers like Tim Burton and Robert Altman dominating its programming, beginning Friday and lasting through March 17 the Cinematheque de Toulouse, along with partner cinemas throughout the city, will project a staggering parade of more than 60 films banned for various reasons from the dawn of the medium through the present. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more images from 'Forbiden Films.' (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the PayPal Subscribe button above.)

The Arts Voyager, 3-7: Category Busters
From Durer to Warhol, Christie's Print Sale offers rare portal to 500 years of art history
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

The trap that many museums fall into is constraining categorization which often makes it hard to follow artistic through-lines at one sole institution.... The auction house Christie's seems to have come up with a much more coherent curatorial schemata. The works for sale in its London Prints Sale March 28, announced yesterday, are only constrained by one criterium: They're all prints. That there are no restrictions as to epoch or national origin allows the art lover to follow the scope of the medium's development over a 500 year span, from Albrecht Durer's 1501 engraving "Saint Eustace" to Andy Warhol's devastating circa 1978 screenprint "Electric Chair," with a healthy dose of Max Beckmann and contemporary Brucke artists like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in between. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more images, by Warhol, Beckmann, Durer, and others. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

The Arts Voyager, 3-5: Menagerie (Updated 3/5 with new images and info)
From the Dordogne to Delacroix & Degas, Calder & Hockney: 15,000 years of Artists on Animals

Top: The bison of the Font de Gaume cave (Les Eyzies de Tayac, Dordogne.) Circa 12,000 - 17,000 BC. éCMN - Les Eyzies. Bottom: Ferdinand-Eugene-Victor Delacroix (1798-1863), "Royal Tiger." Pen and brown ink and watercolor, over pencil, on paper. The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, Thaw Collection. Photography for bottom image: Graham S. Haber, 2011.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

LES-EYZIES-DE-TAYAC (Dordogne), France -- Artists have been depicting animals since art began, and the adventurous arts voyager can still survey the oeuvre from 12,000 BC to the present. Begin in Les Eyzies, in the verdant Dordogne department of southwest France also known for truffles and foie gras, with the polychrome paintings of bisons in the Font de Gaume cave, dating from the Magdalenian period, the last of the Paleolithic superior era, or 12,000 to 17,000 years BC. (Artistic conditions were also primitive. Judging by the scope of the paintings, their authors must have had to lay on their backs to execute them.) Continue your survey at New York's Morgan Library and Museum, whose new exhibition in its ornate Madison Avenue mansion "In the Company of Animals," running through May 20, begins about 13,200 years after the Paleolithic superior era ended and continues through the 17th century with Rembrandt ("Fourquarters of an Elephant"), the 19th with a lion by Delacroix and a racing horse by Degas, among others, and right up into the 20th century with original illustrations of Babar and Snoopy by Jean de Brunhoff and Charles Schulz respectively, Aesopian animals by Alexander Calder, and David Hockney's 1993 sketches of his pet pooches. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see more Images from Font de Gaume, Hockney, Degas, Poe, Calder, & more. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Adept curating and intelligent collecting doesn't just mean amassing beautiful art. It means advancing the understanding and comprehension of the art. "The Age of Impressionism: Great French Paintings from the Clark," the first touring exhibition of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Washington, making its sole U.S. stop at Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum March 13 - June 12, doesn't just dazzle with a procession of Renoirs, Pissarros, and Monets. By also including Impressionist pre-cursor Camille Corot and post-Impressionist Pierre Bonnard among the 73 works, the exhibition tells how a movement was born and how it became eternal. Left: Camille Corot, "Bathers of the Borromean Isles," 1865-70, oil on canvas. Top right: Berthe Morisot, "The Bath," 1885-86. Bottom right: Camille Pissarro, "The River Oise near Pontoise," 1873. All images é Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass. Both Morisot and Pissarro studied with Corot, in the building pictured below. (See caption below.) For more on Corot, Pissarro, Morisot and the Impressionists, click here. -- PB-I

The 'petite' balcony at 49, rue de Paradis, where the cats and I settled in late November 2001. I turned the middle window (closest at left) into a 'cat window,' fencing the opening over so I could leave the window open without them escaping. Across the street, at right, the building with the bright sun swathe on its corner used to house the atelier of Camille Corot, where he gave lessons to Camille Pissarro and Berthe Morisot. Closest street at right is the rue Poissonniere, followed by the rues Papillon and Bleue. Photo courtesy and éChristine Chen.

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
14: A balcony on Paradis
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Paul au pays des Impressionists

When Camille Pissarro arrived in Paris, one of his first stops was the building that is now 58, rue de Paradis, and housed the atelier of Camille Corot, pre-cursor of the Impressionists in 'plein air' painting, refraction, depicting the wind through the movement of leaves, and color values, this last of which he imparted directly on Pissarro (also giving lessons to Berthe Morisot). When I moved into 49, rue de Paradis, on November 28, 2001, I didn't realize that my favorite painter had worked and studied right across the street until I saw the brown metal 'monument of Paris' placard in front of the building, complete with a drawing of the older artist in his tell-tale smock and beret, posed before an easel holding a palette in one hand and a pinceau in the other. Click here to read the full Chapter and see more Images.

The China Jinling Dance Company of Nanjing performs "The Peony Pavilion." Photo courtesy China Jinling Dance Company of Nanjing.

NEW YORK -- It's amazing how every time I witness a character rising or being raised from the dead my throat wells up. It happens every time, no matter how ludicrous the situation. To me there is no image that is more powerful, perhaps because the action is beyond human capabilities, as only gods or God can perform this miracle; there's no other word for it. The ingenue Du Liniang (Hu Qinxin)'s resurrection in the final scene of the China Jinling Dance Company of Nanjing's version of "The Peony Pavilion," seen January 8 at Lincoln Center, was the most moving part of the entire production. Even the flying sequence in which the spirit body of Liniang zips around over the heads of actors and sets, while she swoops and speeds around like a sparrow, spying upon Liu Mengmei (Xu Peng), her romantic interest, as he goes to market, amazing as it appeared, did not overtake her "awakening" for emotional resonance. But on to the story.... Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
13: Turkey feathers in a glass cowboy boot
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

La merde qui tombe

I decided to host a Thanksgiving party for my cool new French friends, all Anglophiles. I'd met Lucie and Lionel through Beatrice, whose seventh-floor flat in the Square Albin Cachot I'd stayed at a year ago, in the fall of 2000, while she got my Greenwich Village digs. Like her, they were English professors at Paris 5, a Sorbonne-affiliated university on the rue Jussieu in the Latin Quarter, not far from the neighborhood in the 13eme arrondissement where we all lived. I'd dined in their flat on the rue of the White Queen near the Metro Gobelins, just down the Boulevard Arago from the rue Glaciere. Like most French who speak English, L&L had learned from an English as in England teacher, so had English accents, which meant that when I was speaking with them I always felt like I was speaking with English people. Lionel, who liked to crack jokes, thus seemed to me like a real English wag. The pantherine Lucie, with her olive complexion and lithe figure, not to mention lilting accent, intimate smile, and penetrating eyes, changed my mind about short-haired women. Click here to read the full Chapter.

Coming soon on the Dance Insider & Arts Voyager: Degas and the Nude at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, March 13 - July 1. The exhibition -- the first major monographic exhibition in Paris devoted to Edgar Degas since the 1988 retrospective at the Grand Palais -- draws from the Orsay's rich collection of graphic works, particularly pastels, seldom shown because of their fragility and sensitivity to light, as well as loans from the Metropolitan Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, and elsewhere. Above: Edgar Degas (dit), Gas Hilaire-Germain Edgar de (1834-1917), "Femme nue couchée," 1886-88. Pastel, 48 x 87 cm. Paris, Musée d'Orsay. éRMN (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski.

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
12: Return to the Square Albin Cachot
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Mon menage a moi

In November 2001 I returned to the Square Albin Cachot and the art deco apartment complex -- perfectly situated in the 13eme arrondissement on the verge of the 5th arrondissement and the Latin Quarter without being in it -- where I had first fallen in love with Paris, this time accompanied by my three cats, Sonia, Mesha, and Hopey, who were finally starting to get a bit stressed out by all the moving, this being our third Parisian *demeure* in four months. Sonia, my Siamese and the oldest, panted her tongue like a dog in the cab on the way over down the Boulevard Saint-Jacques - August Blanqui, past the Metro Denfert-Rochereau and over the catacombs which lay below it with their centuries-old skeletons and the not-so-old ghosts of the Resistance whose fighters clandestinely convened there during the Occupation, to the rue Glaciere, then the narrow rue Nordmann across from an elementary school and playground. This time we had a first floor flat, so no spying on the neighbors. Click here to read the full Chapter.

When Leonor Fini's "Jeux de jambes" was auctioned off in Paris last October, it sold for $500,000 -- the most ever for a work by the unclassifiable painter, illustrator, and stage designer. If the resurgence in awareness and valuation of Fini owes much to New York-based CFM Gallery and its director Neil Zukerman, who has tirelessly championed and exhibited her work for the past 20 years and boasts arguably the largest Fini collection in the world (including a treasure trove of rare books lavishly illustrated by Fini), West Coast gallerist Rowland Weinstein also gets some credit. As soon as a former CFM associate hipped Weinstein to Fini in 2000, he voraciously began exhibiting and acquiring her work, beginning with an exhibition of works on loan from CFM. About a dozen Fini works were at the heart of the Weinstein's recent exhibition "Surrealism: New Worlds," including, above: "Homme noir et femme singe," 1942. Oil on canvas, 23 3/4 x 29 inches. Courtesy Weinstein Gallery and éEstate of Leonor Fini. To see more work by Fini, click here. -- PBI

Alicia Graf Mack performs Alvin Ailey's "Streams," March 13-18 at Zellerbach Hall of Cal Performances. Eduardo Patino photo courtesy Cal Performances.

The Buzz, 2-14: Non-revelations
Ailey in Berkeley light on Alvin
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Following on the heels of current Martha Graham Dance Company artistic director Janet Eilber's decision to present a New York season at the Joyce Theater in which only half of the works are actually by Martha Graham, major West Coast presenter Cal Performances is promising a season by the Alvin American Dance Theater in which...only two of the eight works are actually by Alvin Ailey, thanks to rookie company director Robert Battle, who presumes audiences want to see as many works by... him (2) as by one of the giants of American choreography, Alvin Ailey, and thanks to Cal Performances, which shamelessly enables him. Subscribers click here to read the full Column. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Best known for his fluorescent light installations, Dan Flavin was also an avid draftsman. Running February 17 - July 1 at the Morgan Library & Museum before traveling to Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany, December 16, 2012-March 3, 2013 the first retrospective of his drawings includes over one hundred sheets from every phase of his career, including early abstract expressionist watercolors created in the 1950s, such as, above, "Blue trees in wind," 1957. Grease pencil on ledger paper, 7 7/8 x 10 1/2". Collection of Stephen Flavin. é2012 Stephen Flavin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photography: Graham S. Haber, 2011.

Charles M. Russell, "When I Was a Kid," 1905. Watercolor, 13 1/2 x 10 1/2." Courtesy C.M.
Russell Museum. Gift of the Estates and Families of Ginger K. and Frederic G. Renner.
(Work not part of featured exhibition; gift just announced by the C.M. Russell Museum.)

The Arts Voyager, 2-10: Don't fence him in
Charles M. Russell gets a new look
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

FORT WORTH, TX & GREAT FALLS, MT -- While it might have once seemed laudatory to describe Charles M. Russell as "the cowboy artist" -- and perhaps still is in places like Fort Worth, which refers to itself as "cowtown' with pride -- the term needs to be qualified for audiences outside of the West who might use it to dismiss Russell's oeuvre and place him in a quadrant reserved for "folk" art. That this would be a mistake is the most revelatory contribution of Romance Maker: The Watercolors of Charles M. Russell, which runs at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth February 11 - May 13 before moving to the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls June 15 - September 15. Much as the more than 100 watercolors from 20 collections on rare display -- their sensitivity to light means watercolors can only be brought out on average one month per year -- serve as an epoch epic of the West, a vivid panorama of both American Indian and American settler and pioneer life and society, they also reveal the depths of craft the self-schooled Russell conjured and developed. Click here to read the full Article and see more Images.

The Arts Voyager 2, 2-10: Revelations
From Christie's sales, an education in the art of Morisot, Blanchard, Utrillo, and Signac (and Luce)
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

If you don't follow art auctions because "Why bother, I can't afford to actually buy anything," you may be missing an edifying and breathtaking lesson in art history; many of the works, belonging for years to private collectors, have never or rarely been exhibited in public, whence the revelations in regarding the tableaux themselves, their provenance, and even the surprisingly affordable prices some go for... Perusing the results of Wednesday's Impressionist/Modern Day Sale and Works on Paper Sale, respectively, at Christies London, even this long-time arts voyager discovered things he'd never known, even after 10 years in Paris and seven in New York, related to four of the works sold, by Paul Signac, Maurice Utrillo, Berthe Morisot, and Marie Blanchard. Click here to read the full Article.

Flash News, 2-8: Bullish on Art
More World Records Tumble at Christie's Sales
By Paul Ben-Itzak

World records for the sale of work by Robert Delaunay, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, and others tumbled last night at Christie's Impressionism / Modern Evening and Art of the Surreal sales in London, while works by Camille Pissarro, Paul Signac, and others sold for nearly double their lowest pre-sale estimates and three works of art owned by Elizabeth Taylor, including the Pissarro, doubled pre-sale expectations, selling for a combined $21,784,645, a promising harbinger for today's Christie's sale of 35 additional works from the late actress's collection. Click here to read the full Article.

Left: Claude Cahun, "Autoportrait," 1926. Gelatin silver print, 11.1 x 8.6 cm. IVAM, Institut Valencia d'Art Modern, Generalitat. Right: Claude Cahun, "Autoportrait," 1927. Gelatin silver print, 10.4 x 7.6 cm. Soizic Audouard Collection.

The Arts Voyager, 2-3: Gender-bender
Entre Nous': Claude Cahun @ the Art Institute of Chicago
By Paul Ben-Itzak

And what if the artist uses herself as the clay? Not because she's a narcissist and thinks she's the most fascinating subject in the world -- as is often the situation with dancers -- but because as matter and model, she's so malleable, and thus an ideal canvas for her own artistic explorations, macro ideas about the culture unearthed on an intimate terrain? This was the case with French-born Claude Cahun in the staged self-portraiture, photo-montages, and prose texts she produced, mostly between 1920 and 1940, more than 80 of which figure in Entre Nous: The Art of Claude Cahun, on view at the Art Institute of Chicago February 25 - June 3. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see the more Images. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Flash Review, 2-3: Poseur
Poe's flat homage to Godard flatlines
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

I once attempted to translate a bunch of sketches by Boris Vian, the ambidextrous French man of letters and Jazz, into English. The problem with translating Vian into English is that in these sketches -- all take-offs of the American B movie genre -- as in his most famous novels, such as "I'll spit on your grave," Vian is already sifting classic '50s Americana through a French sensibility. At this point his hyper-dramatizations are hysterical, but when I then attempted to in effect translate them back into English, they lost all their humor and became dull. It was the very medium of the French language, perspective, and interpretation that made the plays entertaining -- in effect, Vian was playing with the language two times, parodying the American and coming up with interesting, inventive amalgamations of French usage that made for dazzling dialogue even when the situations were trite. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

With more than 40,000 photographs, Fort Worth's Amon Carter Museum is one of the largest repositories in the U.S. of American photography -- and a veritable history of the art and its reproduction techniques, with holdings ranging from the earliest daguerreotypes produced in the U.S. to contemporary inkjet prints. Because of the fragile nature of the medium, the museum regularly rotates its displays. Up from February 18 through July 22, "Series and Sequences" explores new acquisitions and little-seen collection gems revealing how multiple exposures and project groupings show new insights about the artistic process, and the subjects captured. Above: Harold E. Edgerton (1903-1990), "Tennis -- Forehand Drive, Jenny Tuckey," 1938. Gelatin silver print, ca. 1986. éHarold & Esther Edgerton Foundation, 2011, courtesy of Palm Press, Inc..Gift of Friends of Photography. P1986.12.

Whitney Tucker, Raja Kelly, and Kendra Portier in David Dorfman's "Prophets of Funk." Photo courtesy Christopher Duggan.

NEW YORK -- As I was mooching around in the downstairs lounge of the Joyce Theater before the January 24 performance of David Dorfman Dance's "Prophets of Funk," several dancers from Dorfman's company offered to teach steps to audience members willing to volunteer to come on stage at the end. Though I am not at all a dancer, I remembered a focus group at the Joyce some 15 years ago in which the leader told us that anyone who dances, in whatever capacity and however informally, is a dancer. So I decided to volunteer. As a college teacher I have spent years making a fool of myself on stage before fairly large audiences, so I had nothing to lose. I was then taught some dance steps, including a stylized Michael Jackson moonwalk, preparatory to coming on stage later. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Spring follies: Ballet Revolucion comes to Sadler's Wells in London April 25 - May 19. Photo: BB Promotion.

If you'd asked me a week ago to name my favorite film, I'd have said "Stage Door," the 1937 tragicomedy starring a mega-cast including Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, and Eve Arden as residents of a boarding house for performers trying to make it on Broadway. If you'd asked me who directed the film, I wouldn't have been able to tell you. So perhaps Anthology Film Archives is correct to feature two other films by Gregory La Cava in the cadre of "Stuck in the Second Tier: Unknown Auteurs." Unlike art house regulars Godard, Fellini, and Chaplin, they're harder to see. All the more reason to celebrate Anthology's screenings January 27 - 29 of the 1935 "She Married her Boss" and the 1941 "Unfinished Business," which, like "Stage Door," feature strong women, who make their mates conform to their terms. In "She Married Her Boss," Claudette Colbert doesn't just quit her job as Girl Friday to Melvyn Douglas to become a homemaker; she threatens to leave him unless he gives her more of a home life. Irene Dunne's small-town not-so bumpkin refuses to prostate herself for Robert Montgomery's alcoholic playboy when he falsely accuses her of loving his brother, instead waiting for him to come around, even at great personal expense. It's easy for a male director to be a feminist today; working in the 1930s and '40s, La Cava was no second tier screen champion of women's rights, but a pioneer. (Image courtesy Anthology Film Archives.) -- Paul Ben-Itzak

Coming soon: Continuing a banner season of exhibitions as it celebrates its 50th birthday, on February 11 the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth presents more than 100 watercolors by Charles M. Russell, the Western artist on whose oeuvre, along with that of peer Frederic Remington, the Carter Museum made its name. Romance Maker: The Watercolors of Charles M. Russell continues through May 13; admission to the museum is free. Above: Charles M. Russell (1864-1926), "When Cows Were Wild," 1926. Watercolor on paper. Montana Historical Society, Col. Wallis Huidekoper Collection. Gift of Colonel Wallis Huidekoper. X1952.02.02.

The Arts Voyager, 1-26: I'm a reel cow-hand
Chaneling Bob Wills at the Stock Show & Rodeo
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

FORT WORTH, Texas -- It was supposed to be the Cowboy Poets Campfire Stories day Tuesday (one of four, concluding today beginning at noon) at the West Arena of the 116th Stock Show & Rodeo, continuing through February 4 at the Will Rogers Memorial Center, but, borrowing a page from the French, the Western wordsmiths evidently interpret poetry to include music, and far be it from this greenhorn worshipper at the temple of Bob Wills to grouse about an afternoon of cowboy, western swing, and frontier tunes largely presided over by Devon Dawson, a latter-day Dale Evans if ever there was one, and also featuring the band of veterans (of tours with Tex Ritter and Lefty Frizzell, among others) known as the Over the Hill Gang. Youth also claimed its place, chiefly in the person of golden-trelissed sensation Kristyn Harris, boasting a yodel that makes its presence known not only in stand-alone moments, but by adding tremor and tremble to the rest of her singing. It's no insult to say that Harris can belt 'em. The scariest part is that she's not yet 18. Notwithstanding legendary bassist, author ("The Chameleon Rancher"), and Cutting Horse Hall of Famer Pat Jacobs's quip -- referring to the three hardly over the hill cowgirl guitarists ("Mustang Micky" joined Dawson and Harris) who accompanied his Over the Hill Gang for their set -- that "they're here to notify next of kin in case any of us keel over," in fact they were all there to carry on the tradition of concert cowboy music that emerged with Wills, even if it means, as it did Tuesday afternoon, ignoring a flash storm that's knocked the power out and playing on. Click here to read the full Article.

A breathtaking 72 Impressionist tableaux including 21 by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, six by Claude Monet, seven by Camille Pissarro, four by Alfred Sisley, three by Edgar Degas, two by Edouard Manet, and two by Berthe Morisot, plus pre- and post-Impressionist work by Camille Corot and Paul Gauguin, will be exhibited at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, the only U.S. venue for the first-ever touring exhibition of the remarkable collection of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Before it's finished in 2014, the three-year tour will also reach France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, and China. Top: Edgar Degas, "Dancers in the Classroom," c. 1880; bottom left: Berthe Morisot, "The Bath," 1885-86; bottom right: Pierre-Auguste Renoir, "A Box at the Theater" (At the Concert), 1880. All images é the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, U.S.A..

The Buzz, 1-24: The tears of a clown
For next Graham Company NY season, only half the works are by Martha Graham
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Imagine if the Picasso Museum in Paris suddenly decided to place half the works by Picasso in temporary storage and replace them with work by other artists. There would be an outrage. And yet this is exactly what the current custodians of the Martha Graham Dance Company are doing for the company's upcoming New York season this March at the Joyce Theater. But where is the outrage? Subscribers click here to read the full Column. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Paris at the barricades again, May 1968, as seen in Chris Marker's "Le fond de l'air est rouge." Image courtesy Icarus Films..

After a year of intensely following and reviewing the offerings of New York's 40+ year-old Anthology Film Archives, easily the best and bravest cinematheque in the United States and one of the top in the world, I think I'm finally beginning to understand what Anthology artistic director Jonas Mekas and his colleagues are up to, or rather, how they've chosen to manifest it. Historically partial to fiction and less engaged by documentaries, at first I wasn't particularly keen on the preponderance of the latter at Anthology. But after watching Chris Marker's "Le fond de l'air est rouge" (cryptically translated as "Grin Without a Cat," an allusion to Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat) and Sergei Loznitsa's "Revue" and "Blockade," all screening in "The Compilation Film" series beginning today at Anthology, I understand that what Mekas and crew are primarily interested in is film that knows it's film and that fully exploits the medium -- and even expands it. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Heritage is a messy business, especially in a country built out of multiple heritages. There may be no more vivid microcosm of this principle right now in the United States than that found in the few blocks that make up the Cultural District of this cosmopole which calls itself "Cowtown" with pride and accurately claims the motto "Cowboys & Culture," because of its concentration of world-class museums and Western heritage. Click here to read the full Article.

Flash Review, 1-19: "Ghost Light"
Taccone & Moscone probe a city's tragedy and a son's search
By Jordan Winer
Copyright 2012 Jordan Winer

BERKELEY -- It's been said that there's nothing romantic about probing the unknown.

We all have ghosts we won't face. For most of us these are private ghosts. Mothers or fathers we never quite made peace with yet who stay with us like, well, ghosts. It's different if that ghost is your father, the late San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, who despite being assassinated along with Supervisor Harvey Milk in 1978, has become a footnote in the latter man's ongoing and growing legacy. This is the crux of the dynamic, messy, brilliant spider web of a play called "Ghost Light," playing at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre through February 19. Subscribers click here to read the full Review. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
11: Fool for love
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

Le chevalier de le tournesol

I had come to Paris in part to search for 'la femme de ma vie,' but a mere change in geography would not be enough; I'd have to be more bold. If I kept having to reflect before I asked someone out, I was going to reflect myself right into the grave. "You should act like the Fool!" my best friend from the States prescribed, the Fool who doesn't think but acts on instinct. So I decided that every time I went out I would buy a flower and give it to the first woman I saw who so inspired me, without calculation. I chose the sunflower and became the Chevalier de le Tournesol. Click here to read the full 'Cross-Country' Chapter.

Last chance: "de Kooning: A Retrospective," the first major museum exhibition devoted to the full scope of the career of Willem de Kooning (American, born the Neterlands, 1904-1997), with 200 works from public and private collections dating from 1926 to the late 1980s, ends January 9 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Above: "Orestes," 1947. Enamel on paper mounted on plywood, 24 1/8 x 36 1/8? (61.3 x 91.8 cm). Private collection. é2011 The Willem de Kooning Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

John Marin (1870-1953). "Top of Radio City, New York City," 1937. Watercolor on paper. John Marin. éEstate of John Marin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Private collection, Seattle.

The Arts Voyager, 1-8: John Marin at the Amon Carter
'Nature's laws of motion have to be obeyed'
By Paul Ben-Itzak

FORT WORTH -- With "John Marin: Modernism at Midcentury," the Amon Carter Museum has once again outclassed Gotham in curating and celebrating an artist at the nucleus of the New York modern art movement of the last century. Like his New York contemporary Stuart Davis, the New York modern figure most prized by the Amon Carter, Marin was an abstract artist firmly anchored in the concrete world which inspired his tableaux and gave him matter to re-arrange, whether the natural and nautical world of Cape Split, Maine, at the heart of this exhibition, which focuses on the last 20 years of his life (1933 to 1953) when he summered there, or the geometrical muse of the big city, seen here in Marin's riffs on subjects like the Brooklyn Bridge and Radio City Music Hall. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see the full Gallery. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Catherine Olivier, "Perche II" (left) and "Absence III." Both works pyrogravure on fabric and éCatherine Olivier.

The Arts Voyager, 1-5: Waiting in Limbo
The vaporous, smoldering art of Catherine Olivier
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

PARIS -- As a child growing up on an isolated farm in the Loire Valley on the crest of and impatient for great adventures, Catherine Olivier developed a fertile inner life, an apprenticeship of imagination that served her well when, armed with a diploma from the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux Arts d'Angers, she moved to Paris some 20 years ago to study at the highly selective Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, eventually settling in the hilly northeastern quarter of Belleville, where the colony of artists strives to create work as expansive as the vistas of Paris they look out on from its heights. It's a potpourri of amateur photographers, seasoned lithographers, earnest folk artists and genuinely inventive wunderkinds searching for innovative mediums to artistically articulate the uncertainty of living in the 21st century, in which the nuclear fatalism of an earlier generation has been supplanted by the even more existential doubt impressed by global warming and economic precariousness (or, as the French put it, 'precarité'). Olivier soon found the medium to match her epoch. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see the full Gallery. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

Cross Country / A Memoir of France
10: Smoke gets in your eyes
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2012 Paul Ben-Itzak

In Montparnasse with Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Amelie

I've avoided seeing Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris" mostly because, based on previous American in Paris fantasias, Woody's Parisian midnight probably doesn't have a lot to do with my daily Paris reality as I lived it from 2000 to 2010. Unlike Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and most American storyteller-adventurers, my Paris flight was solo, meaning I had to actually depend on French people if I was to have a social life and hope to have a love life. (Not for me the sordid midnight Montmartre rambles of Henry Miller.) I had to look to an earlier generation for a role model, and it wasn't promising. When it came to finding love with a French woman, I frequently felt like Lambert Strether in Henry James's "The Ambassadors," meeting a promising mate only to smack into a wall of Jericho that even my American can-do spirit couldn't break through. But I didn't yet know this in the late summer-fall of 2001, when my second Parisian abode, in a '60s-era high-rise next door to the Pasteur Institute (where AIDS, the virus of love in the 20th century, had been discovered), put me within skipping distance of Montparnasse, from which the elixir of Fitz and Papa still wafted over. Click here to read the full 'Cross-Country' Chapter.

The one-story building, nestled in a bucolic place at the bottom of the rue Ravignon above the rue des Abbesses in Montmartre, may be mundane, but the event which culminated there in 1907, was monumental. Entoured and influenced by his fellow artist-residents at the Bateau Lavoir, as it was then known, Pablo Picasso unleashed Les Demoiselles d'Avignon on the world and altered not just art but the way art would be created and viewed for the next century. Acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 1939, the painting is among the many landscape-shifting and paradigm-pushing works currently on view in the Alfred H. Barr Painting and Sculpture Galleries on MOMA's fifth floor. Pablo Picasso. Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907. Oil on canvas, 8' x 7' 8" (243.9 x 233.7 cm). Acquired through the Lillie P. Bliss Bequest. é 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Above, top three photographs: Soo Youn Cho and Alfonso Martin in Tulsa Ballet's production of William Forsythe's "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated." Photographs by and copyright Rosalie O'Connor & courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Copyright 2010 Alicia Chesser

TULSA -- For the past 15 years, Tulsa Ballet artistic director Marcello Angelini has been leading his company to this moment, when it could not only obtain the rights to perform works like William Forsythe's "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated" and Jiri Kylian's "Sechs Tanze," but actually perform them with the skill, stamina, and artistic maturity they require. Subscribers click here to read the full Review and see more photography. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe now for just $29.95/year, just click the Subscribe button above.)

Soo Youn Cho and Alfonso Martin in Twyla Tharp's "Sinatra Songs." Photograph by and
copyright Rosalie O'Connor & courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

(In planning a mixed repertory evening of dance or theater, the conventional wisdom is to start with a lighter piece so the audience has time to gather its attention, then hit it with the heavy artillery in the middle or at the end of the program. For Tulsa Ballet's recent mixed repertory program, reviewed here by Alicia Chesser, artistic director Marcello Angelini chose to open with William Forsythe's dense genre-buster "In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated," followed by Jiri Kylian's comic "Sechs Tanze" and Twyla Tharp's frothy "Nine Sinatra Songs." We asked him why. -- PB-I.)

It was a calculated risk. First, let me say that our audience is now well-versed on all types of good dance, so even a work like 'In the Middle' is not a stretch for them anymore. Second I felt that, knowing Sinatra and Tharp were somewhere down the road, people with some doubts might have stuck with the program (no pun intended) in order to see that. If the riskier work were at the end, they might have left before the end of it. We did have a couple of people who felt 'In the Middle' was a bit too much for them, but they all stayed. And, by the end, they really enjoyed all three works. "Sechs Tanze" is not a closer. It's too short and doesn't have a very strong ending.

Lastly, I always feel an evening of dance is like a dinner. At times I like to start with something light and gentle on the palate, just to whet the appetite of the audience. Then you go into a good main course and then dessert. Other times, like in this last case, I like to start with something like a really strong plate, something that is a hearty main course with a very strong, particular taste. And after that a little dessert, kind of a Creme Brule, followed by Tiramisu and Frangelico. This last program was one of those: One very strong main dish, with a distinctive flavor, and two delicious desserts! The after dinner liquor, the Frangelico, was the music of Frank Sinatra.....

Camille Pissarro, "Minette," ca. 1872. Oil on canvas, 18 1/16 x 14 in. (46 x 35 cm). Wadsworth
Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut, the Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin
Sumner Collection Fund, 1958.144.

The Arts Voyager, 12-13: Impressionist as Humanist
"Pissarro's People" revived in San Francisco
By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2011 Paul Ben-Itzak

PONTOISE (Val-d'Oise), France -- On a side street off the rue de L'Hermitage in this mundane outlying suburb of Paris sits a cluster of four unremarkable houses. You wouldn't be looking for them at all unless you happened to know that their roofs were memorialized by one Camille Pissarro in his 1877 oil painting "Les Toits Rouges." But this was the genius of Pissarro, to elevate the mundane to the level of the pastoral. To combine eye, the ability to see beauty in the ordinary, with technique, the ability to deploy the tools to bring to the premiere plain, in color and its application, the aspects of a subject, be it a country passage or a family portrait, a group of field laborers harvesting apples or a domestic worker holding with both hands her cup of coffee, that make it memorable. Subscribers click here to read the full Article and see the full Gallery. (Not yet a subscriber? To subscribe today for just $29.95/year, just click on the Subscribe button above.)

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