Saturday, May 15, 2010

Meet Me at Covent Garden and We'll Fly the Flag with Steadman & Avedon!


ARTS ALMANAC-

May 15, 1567: Claudio Monteverdi, Italian composer, is baptized. "Monteverdi's work, often regarded as revolutionary, marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque period. He developed two individual styles of composition: the new basso continuo technique of the Baroque and the heritage of Renaissance polyphony. Enjoying fame in his lifetime, he wrote one of the earliest operas, L'Orfeo, which is still regularly performed."


May 15, 1858: Opening of the present (3rd) Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London. Often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", the current building "is the third theatre on the site following disastrous fires in 1808 and 1857. The fa├žade, foyer and auditorium date from 1858, but almost every other element of the present complex dates from an extensive reconstruction in the 1990s. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House."


May 15, 1923: Richard Avedon, American photographer, was born. "Avedon was born in New York City to a Jewish-Russian family. After briefly attending Columbia University, he started as a photographer for the Merchant Marines in 1942, taking identification pictures of the crewmen with his Rolleiflex camera given to him by his father as a going-away present. In 1944, he began working as an advertising photographer for a department store, but was quickly discovered by Alexey Brodovitch, the art director for the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar. By 1946, Avedon had set up his own studio and began providing images for magazines including Vogue and Life. He soon became the chief photographer for Harper's Bazaar. Avedon did not conform to the standard technique of taking fashion photographs, where models stood emotionless and seemingly indifferent to the camera. Instead, Avedon showed models full of emotion, smiling, laughing, and, many times, in action."

"In addition to his continuing fashion work, Avedon began to branch out and photographed patients of mental hospitals, the Civil Rights Movement in 1963, protesters of the Vietnam War, and later the fall of the Berlin Wall. During this period Avedon also created two famous sets of portraits of The Beatles. His portraits are easily distinguished by their minimalist style, where the person is looking squarely in the camera, posed in front of a sheer white background. He is also distinguished by his large prints, sometimes measuring over three feet in height. His large-format portrait work of drifters, miners, cowboys and others from the western United States became a best-selling book and traveling exhibit entitled In the American West, and is regarded as an important hallmark in 20th Century portrait photography, and by some as Avedon's magnum opus."

Avedon was drawn to working people such as miners and oil field workers in their soiled work clothes, unemployed drifters, and teenagers growing up in the West circa 1979-84. Avedon became the first staff photographer for The New Yorker in 1992. He has won many awards for his photography, including the International Center of Photography Master of Photography Award in 1993, the Prix Nadar in 1994 for his photobook Evidence, and the Royal Photographic Society 150th Anniversary Medal in 2003. In his 2004 obituary, published in The New York Times, Andy Grundberg said that, "his fashion and portrait photographs helped define America's image of style, beauty and culture for the last half-century."


May 15, 1930: Jasper Johns, American painter, was born. "Johns is best known for his painting Flag (1954-55), which he painted after having a dream of the American flag. His work is often described as a Neo-Dadaist, as opposed to pop art, even though his subject matter often includes images and objects from popular culture. Still, many compilations on pop art include Jasper Johns as a pop artist because of his artistic use of classical iconography."


May 15, 1936: Ralph Steadman, British artist & illustrator, was born. "Steadman is renowned for his political and social caricatures and cartoons and also for illustrating a number of picture books. He was voted Illustrator of the Year by the American Institute of Graphic Arts in 1979. Steadman had a long partnership with the American journalist Hunter S. Thompson, drawing pictures for several of his articles and books. He accompanied Thompson to the Kentucky Derby for an article for the magazine Scanlan's, to the Honolulu Marathon for the magazine Running, and illustrated both Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. Much of Steadman's artwork revolves around Raoul Duke-style caricatures of Thompson: bucket hats, cigarette holder and aviator sunglasses. As well as writing and illustrating his own books and Thompson's, Steadman has worked with writers including Ted Hughes, Adrian Mitchell and Brian Patten, and also illustrated editions of Alice In Wonderland, Treasure Island, Animal Farm and most recently, Fahrenheit 451."


IN OUR STORE-

"Cufflinks"
By Jean-Noel Liaut & Bertrand Pizzin.
Published in New York by Assouline in 2002. .

"Tiny though they may be, cuff links have been used by designers to add an aristocratic touch to otherwise conventional business suits. Here are cufflinks made of such diverse materials as Bakelite, seashells, and amethyst, seen in action on the wrists of Winston Churchill, Marlene Dietrich, Mick Jagger, Jack Nicholson, and Jean Cocteau”.

$12.00


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