Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fun Home and Art

My prescience was rewarded recently, after a fashion. We managed to squeeze a matinee into a whirlwind New York trip, seeing Fun Home at the Circle in the Square. This musical is of the new style, with no hummable tunes but very pleasant songs. The still-edgy story--for Broadway, anyway--was well constructed, having been drawn from lesbian cartoonist (her self-description) Alison Bechdel's graphic memoir which had been dramatized first at the Public Theater downtown.

The double story of Alison's self-discovery of her sexuality is paired with her relationship with her father, who has repressed his own identity for much of his life, although his occasional forays have gotten int almost enough trouble to shake up his small-town life.  The settings in the family home, which is filled with earlier-period antique furniture and objets, as well as the family business site he inherited--a funeral home--add to the rich background for the play.

This show did well--selling out so tickets were unobtainable--at the Public and a week or so after we saw it, it opened to some excellent reviews, especially from the all-important Times. It achieved what for me is the highest accolade--a moving theatrical experience by a fine ensemble.

We also visited what is possibly New York's most imaginative museum, the Morgan, down at 36th and Madison. They had a Lincoln show, which you might expect that I would want to catch. It's called Lincoln Speaks and is mainly documents and photographs. The Morgan excels in both the quality and the significance of both.  This was fun--its title also reminded me of my grandfather's collection of Lincoln stories, Lincoln Talks.

The Morgan also had a nice exhibit of recent acquisitions of prints and drawings, selecting from a wide range of artists, including Picasso and many,many others. As is becoming the fashion, there are paragraph-long descriptions next to each picture. I was thinking that a better aid in the case of Georg Grosz drawing with text would have been to provide a German translation.

In Boston for another quick trip, we stopped for a short stay at  the Museum of Fine Arts to catch an exhibit of a single Klimt from the Belvedere, Adam and Eve. It's a notable Klimt, worth the effort--and Fine Arts placed it in a wonderfully-loaded gallery with both contemporaries--Kokoschka, Schiele, and Kirchner, among others, as well as Matisse, Picasso, Munch, and more. The finest sculpture was a wonderful Kathe Kollwitz.

We had previously seen Woman in Gold, the movie about how a Holocaust survivor retrieved after a huge battle her family's marvelous Klimt from the Austrians. Helen Mirren, almost needless to say, excels even if the movie is fairly predictable; it was still nicely done. I later saw a French picture on a very similar theme, The Art Dealer, shown at our Avalon once only. Iwish this picture gains even art-house distribution because it does an even better job at showing a determined woman who finds that her own relatives, aided by the art establishment and French bureaucrats, have cheated her out of her parents' art treasures after they had been stolen by the Nazis.

No comments:

Post a Comment