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Now It Is Dark

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The Photographs of Mark Ruwedel at Gallery Luisotti, May 22-August 14, 2010 – The 20th Century evidenced an era of supersized ruins. Two epic wars, scores of civil conflicts, revolutions and fundamentalist jihads produced ruination on a scale never before experienced. The photographs, artwork, newsfilms and few extant ruins remain the crucial means of reminding successive generations of the irrationality that foments such destruction, but also of the constant examination necessary as antidote to devastation. Ruination has fascinated artists since the Enlightenment and Romanticism perfected ruin gazing as an art form. The labyrinthine imagined prisons of Piranesi and his endless allee's of crumbling Roman columns were, as ... [Read more]

The Invariant Memory of Empire

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The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire, Getty Villa –  When, in a crowded casino, the endangered hero of a lousy movie grabs his girl and jumps into a car that’s on display to zoom out through shattering windows into the neon-lit boulevards of Las Vegas, it’s all about generating a moment of surprise. When Teardrop, in the film Winter’s Bone by Debra Granik, grabs his niece Ree by the hair and tells her “I told you to shut up once with my mouth” we are caught off guard, and in that shocked opening we engage anew with the world. When Shakespeare writes “And pity, like a naked new-born babe…” he varies the um-pah, iambic rhythm in the last three syllables to surprise us, and then focuses our opened minds on that vivid ... [Read more]

Dronescapes in Red

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Vittorio Gelmetti, Composer, Electronic Soundtrack for Il Deserto Rosso (Antonioni, 1964) –  The use of electronic music composed by Vittorio Gelmetti for the soundtrack of Antonioni's first color film Il Deserto Rosso, contributed greatly to the film's aesthetic complexity as well as the displaced psychological underpinnings of it's characters. Rarely heard before in cinema, this example of early musique concrète would serve as a harbinger of the now, widespread use of electronica in film and television. -NC Vittorio Gelmetti belongs among the earliest and most significant pioneers of electronic music, not only because his earliest compositions date to the mid-1950s, but also because he was self-taught and drew his inspiration ... [Read more]

Forest’s End

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The Red Desert and The Question Concerning Technology –  Even though we don't realize it, our lives are dominated by industry. And by "industry", I don't just mean the factories themselves, but also their products* The new release by Criterion of Michelangelo Antonioni's Red Desert comes at a moment when the ecological crisis that was in its infancy in 1964 has matured into a full blown demon with multiple emanations. All cries to end the blind and ludicrous march toward oblivion that "progress" has become are drowned out by the roar of exploding oil gushers. Optimists may claim that the disasters we are seeing are the result of greed and incompetence. Technology and the science which supports it, they would argue, can also be used to ... [Read more]

Summer Cover

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Menswear Spring / Summer 2011 – I have to say that I had a much harder time than I expected trying to narrow the field for Menswear Spring 2011, but my first impulse is to run with what really works. This is how I would have sent David de Rothchild packing for his latest eco-crusade expedition aboard Plaskti, in search of Eastern Garbage Patch, an island of trash twice the size of Texas located in the Pacific Ocean. From creative director Alessandro Sartori of Z Zenga, the fashion forward branch of the 100 year Ermenegildo Zegna family empire, this ultra light, multo functional outwear is just the thing for our fearless adventure ecologist. I think Mr. de Rothchild would also feel comfortable wearing material produced by a company ... [Read more]

End of Empire

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Persepolis (1971), Iannis Xenakis – "Nous Portons La Lumiere de la terre" "We Bear the Light of the Earth" The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was fomented by the unusual pairing of ultra-conservative Islamists, reacting against the so-called “cultural contamination” of Iran by the West, and by various leftist elements, long outraged by the nation’s history of injustice, brutality and extravagance under the rule of the Shah. Left and right together filled the streets for months of protest. They marched on and sometimes burned cinemas, casinos, banks, hotels and other ostensibly un-Islamic institutions and luxuries, paving the way for the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Symbolic of the extravagance perpetrated by the regime of ... [Read more]