Tuesday, October 4, 2011

high wire acts

After reading this article, I am really looking forward to the forthcoming Maurizio Cattelan retrospective at the Guggenheim museum. I have always had great appreciation for Mr. Cattelan's sense of reverent irreverence and the concept for this show is no exception. The notion of his works dangling from great heights, like a giant memorabilia mobile of greatest hits is, if anything, an absurdly terrific idea. Such positioning is a hysterical act of hubris, elevating his work to the highest level imaginable, but also the ultimate insult, suspending them as if prisoners in a rescue-me scene of a film, dangling over a modern abyss. The concept offers nuanced, charged commentary that is at once self-congratulatory and self-mocking, iconic and iconoclastic: This career is hanging by a thread; these works are celestial, God-like; this could all come crashing down at any moment...

Viewing these figures from the ground floor up through the center of the winding building makes me think of at least three images from film history (the last, potentially less identifiable image is from Time Bandits):

It's a dare and daring, arrogant and self-sacrificing, anti-establishment and at-the-mercy of the establishment. The whole envisioned spectacle seems to echo his marble Carrara sculpture of a middle-finger salute. I hope it translates as powerfully in the space itself as I am imagining it, anyway.

Speaking of mischief makers, I have been watching the new BBC program The Hour and was delighted to discover it stars McNulty from The Wire! The show mixes a magnetic mash-up of Mad Men makes-you-wanna-smoke nineteen fiftiesness, case-cracking Wire suspense, Mulder and Scully X Files leading man and lady chemistry, and Twin Peaks paranoia. I am really enjoying the show so far.  When I first watched The Wire, I could tell McNulty's American accent was an act. That said, McNulty's actual Irishy-British accent at use in The Hour seemed totally fake and confusing to me at first, as well. I am all settled in now and accepting his new life overseas. Intelligent people with British accents, crimes of passion, spies, romance—what's not to enjoy?

Man, that is a good looking group of people. This show is gripping and, at times, eerie. One of the nefarious characters has the similar pancake make-upped pasty countenance and thousand-yard stare of Robert Blake's chilling Boogeyman in David Lynch's Lost Highway. But, man, this guy is SO GOOD at translating and has excellent penmanship, which admittedly had me overlooking his Madame Tussaud face and stalking, stabby ways, and momentarily bad-boy crushing on this total psychopath. Just for like a second. Ahem. The program is completely engaging, and leaves me with a feeling of "Oh, to be a smart and smartly dressed, smoking, classy British reporter in the fifties" along with an urgent sense of omg-I-need-ten-people-to-sleep-over-and-protect-me-now-please after each episode. I pretty much feel this nervous when it is time to go to bed:

I am heading to London in November and will probably wear a trench coat, nice sweaters and skirts, and chase important leads on scandalous world news. Keep an eye out.

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