Oh, the glamour, the artistry, the over-long production numbers! The Academy Awards will be presented this weekend!
Nicole Kidman is nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Rabbit Hole, which is being screened at the Institute’s film series this VERY WEEK! See it!
Are you rooting for a particular film to win? Did a particular performance send you over the moon this year? Maybe some of the pictures were screened right here in the Film Series. Tell us what you think!
I for one loved Toy Story 3. And years ago I saw and enjoyed the rock documentary, The Kids Are Alright, about the British band, The Who. So, you might imagine my confusion–why would a movie that was made in 1979 be getting so much buzz for this year’s awards? I eventually figured out that it’s a different movie with nearly the same title! (If you lived in Mary-land, as I do, you’d understand).
The esteemed personnel here at Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute are much more on the ball than I and share their opinions about the movies, the awards show, and stuff:
Nancy Coté Baber, Administration Assistant: I loved Toy Story 3! It had me teary-eyed at times, and I could cheerfully have ripped the stuffin’ right out of Lotso for being so cruel. Barbie moved just as you would have imagined … the animation was extraordinary. I thought it was an exceptional tale which could be enjoyed by children and adults alike. As for the Academy Awards, I enjoy voting and tuning in to see how I did, but I absolutely love to see who wears what. I usually watch the pre-awards show, much to [husband] Bob’s chagrin. He would rather stick needles in his eyes. But the gowns and jewels really make it for me. I could definitely do without Joan Rivers … it would be a much more enjoyable Oscar season without her. I don’t think she’s funny, and when she asks a question she interrupts when the star tries to answer – what kind of interviewer is that?
One day at lunch Francy Caprino, Director of Enrollment Management PrattMWP, whipped through the ballot and made these bold predictions (I’m not convinced she actually SAW all of these movies):
Best Picture: The Social Network
Best Director: David Fincher – The Social Network
Best Actor: Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
Best Actress: Annette Benning – The Kids Are All Right
Supporting actor: Christian Bale – The Fighter
Supporting actress: Helen Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
Screenplay: The King’s Speech
Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network
Foreign Language: Biutiful
Animated feature: Toy Story 3
Original score: The Social Network
Song: “I See the Light” – Tangled
Art Direction: Alice in Wonderland
Cinematography: True Grit
Costume design: Alice in Wonderland
Sound editing: Toy Story 3
Visual Effects: Inception
Film editing: 127 Hours
Short film animated: The Gruffalo
Short film live: The Confession
Documentary short: The Warriors of Qiugang
Paul Schweizer, Museum of Art Director and Chief Curator, was a bit more modest with his predictions, voting only for best picture: 1st: The King’s Speech; 2nd: True Grit. He also added this commentary: “Did not see Black Swan but daughter Alexis loved it.” Thanks, Alexis, for that vote, too!
Anna D’Ambrosio, Museum of Art Assistant Director and Curator of Decorative Arts: As the parent of an 8-year old, my theater-going is somewhat limited to animated and PG films. We really enjoyed Toy Story 3 and Megamind, but Tangled was my daughter’s vote for Best Picture. As a curator working on a fashion-art show for MWPAI this June, I’ll be checking out the designer dresses on the red carpet.
Chris Irick, PrattMWP Professor: I was disappointed the Sweetgrass was not nominated for best documentary. It was one of the most memorable movies I saw during the year. Although I’m not really interested in sheepherding, I was absolutely riveted by the process and the amazing scenery of Montana as the sheep were moved from the farm to their summer grazing pasture. And I felt the lack of dialog, just allowing the audience to watch while listening the sounds of the sheep, added to the movie. The only part of the awards show I usually watch is the red carpet, the show itself is too boring, particularly the way they try to work in some sort of interpretive dance for each of the songs in the best music category. I love Joan River’s catty comments on who wore what the next day.
Barb Kane, Educator for Public Programs, writes in: The only nominated films I’ve seen are those screened at MWPAI — Animal Kingdom and Winter’s Bone. Each has its merits, and I think both women nominated should win, Jackie Weaver as the not-so-warm-and-fuzzy matriarch of an Australian crime family ; and Jennifer Lawrence in the heartbreaking role of a young mountain girl fighting to keep her literally dirt-poor family together. Oh yeah, I also saw The Kids Are All Right, which I thought was an interesting story, but really didn’t impress me as Oscar-worthy. Can’t wait to see if MWPAI screens more of these nominated films!
And from Director of Museum Education, April Oswald: I’m a huge fan of awards shows, especially the Oscars, red carpets and all. When I was a student at SUNY Purchase, watching them became much more of an interactive event. So these days I have no patience for the actors who, when they win an award, get all flustered or weepy and just too choked up to say anything until it’s too late, and then they start to rattle something off as the music swells – “off the stage” I yell, “you’re done.” The people I admire are those (sometimes even behind-the-scenes winners unused to being in the spotlight), who are able to maintain utter professionalism and graciously accept their award, deliver their thanks or tributes and depart in style.
Michael Schuyler, former assistant librarian and film aficiando: STRICTLY FOR FUN not based on who should or who shouldn’t have won, etc.) I don’t even take the Oscars seriously. I don’t watch it. Anyway…. Best Actor: Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) — Best Actress: Natalie Portman (Black Swan) — Best Supporting Actor: Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)– Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo (The Fighter) — Best Director: David Fincher (The Social Network) — Best Picture: The King’s Speech ….
So there you have it. Brilliant and insightful commentary from our good friends here at MWPAI. I conclude with a few glamour shots of movie stars. The Fighter is nominated for best picture, as is Christian Bale, Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams for their roles in it. Not nominated was star Mark Wahlberg, seen here in an earlier phase of his career. Just because.
Darren Aronofsky is nominated for Best Director of the film Black Swan. Lose the cheesy, ‘70s-porn-star mustache, dude.
Here’s a picture of Daniel Craig, sometime James Bond. I don’t think he’s nominated for anything but my friend has a little crush on him. Don’t tell her husband, John.
75 Fun Facts about Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
Slightly Chronological, but Otherwise In No Discernable Order
The 1940 Institute yearbook reported that, in the Community Arts building (which was Fountain Elms) on Thursday evenings, “the students of the adult immigrant English classes are entertained with music, movies, and refreshments.”
Fundraising appeals have been with us always, it seems. In 1940, this message went out: “The Institute needs funds to enable it to carry on its rapidly growing program. You are earnestly invited to give to the Institute in sums large or small.”
The first children’s classes in the school of art included marionette puppet-making, weaving and folk dancing, described as “a whirl of fun!”
During World War II, “Institute staff and students have given freely of their time and efforts for various war activities. The faculty and staff of the School of Art decorated the U.S. O. Lounge at the Union Station, designed posters and window displays for the Bond Drive.”
The 1944 Institute Yearbook published a photograph of the Office of the Executive Vice-President in which Board and departmental meetings were convened (I suspect this was in the Cultural Program building, which was razed in 1960 when the Philip Johnson building was erected). The spacious, handsomely paneled room had a large fireplace complete with an elaborate mantelpiece. What I liked most about the décor, however, was the large moose head hanging on the wall. I can’t help but wonder whatever happened to that? Not part of the museum’s collection today . . .
Visitors to the Institute will find many opportunities to celebrate the creative accomplishments of African-American artists and performers.
The Institute Library is rich with material. Enjoy the extraordinary voice of opera singer Leontyne Price, performing in roles composed by Mozart and Puccini. The Library is home also to an extraordinary collection of jazz and blues artists from Fats Waller to Charley Patton.
Read books about artists as diverse as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Romare Bearden, Carrie Mae Weems and Willie Cole.
Members can borrow DVDs of films created by director Spike Lee or starring Denzel Washington.
On view in the Museum of Art are works of art Melvin Edwards, Norman Lewis and Alison Saar.
Celebrate the creative contributions of these artists during February and throughout the year.
I’m sure you can agree, when design works we love it, when it doesn’t, it’s annoying.
I have a couch that I’m very fond of. It’s easily 25 years old and has been with me through one reupholstering, two marriages, two kids and a dog who thinks it’s her own. I’ve thought plenty of times about replacing it, but the fact is, I love that couch. Actually, I love the design of it. It’s the comfy spot where I sit, cradled in one corner by the armrest that perfectly balances my elbow and a cup of coffee. I’ve sat on other couches before but none feels as right as this one.
Ellen Lupton and her twin sister Julia have written an entire book on just this topic, Design Your Life: The Pleasures and Perils of Everyday Things. It’s all about design and how it impacts our daily lives, from the way we cook to the way we parent. Here’s a snippet from the book…”Underwear Architecture”
“On New York City’s Upper East Side there is a fancy lingerie shop with a big poster in the window explaining that most women are wearing the wrong bra.” “Come inside,” the sign beckons, “for a professional fitting.” Why? The wrong bra could damage your breasts. The wrong bra could make you look ten years older. The wrong bra could lower your credit rating.”
“When I was growing up, my maternal grandmother always wore a girdle–a horrid rubbery thing with as many gills and gussets as a primeval shark…Today, a new generation of body-shapers are being marketed to style-conscious women of every age…These flesh-bruising modern garments offer various degrees of coverage; conflict erupts where lycra meets unbridled flab.”
Join us in the auditorium this Thursday at 4 p.m. for Ellen Lupton’s lecture, Look for Meaning: Design and the Stuff Around Us. It’s sure to be a fun, tongue-in-cheek view of the lives we create for ourselves and how we deal with the design of “stuff.” Following the lecture Ms. Lupton will sign copies of her book, which are available to purchase at the Gift Gallery.
Ellen Lupton is curator of contemporary design at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and director of the graphic design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art.
All artwork by Ellen Lupton.
75 Fun Facts about Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute
Slightly Chronological, but Otherwise In No Discernable Order
Installment 1 of several
The Institute opened its doors to the public in 1936, so we are celebrating 75 years of excellence in the arts throughout 2011. These notes are the first in a long stroll down memory lane.
The Institute’s Charter established a gallery of art, art instruction, and an auxiliary library. The Community Arts Program was created to “encourage and promote a city-wide interest and participation in the arts.”
The original Cultural Program included a library of records that could be played on a Capehart radio-phonograph upon the request of a visitor.
The Institute has been screening films on Wednesday evenings since the 1940s. The 1944-45 program included Morocco, Trouble in Paradise, She Done Him Wrong, The Thin Man, Love Finds Andy Hardy, and The Maltese Falcon.
The October 1946 Bulletin announced “a few experimental or documentary films . . . for a more discriminating audience will also be included in this year’s program. Among this group, the most novel will be those made by Maya Deren” whose “abstract films” screened on January 15, 1947 were Meshes of the Afternoon, A Study in Choreography for Camera, At Land, and Ritual is Transfigured Time.
The film series once included a regular program of educational documentaries. The 1948-49 slate of titles was advertised as “some designed to instruct, some designed to delight, some designed to persuade.” These are some of my favorite titles from that year: The Feeling of Hostility, Don’t Be a Sucker, Atomic Physics and Where Will You Hide?