Happy Queen’s Jubilee from the Commonwealth’s indigenous artists

Visual arts
Vincent Namatjira. Elizabeth and Vincent (on Country), 2021.  Acrylic on linen. 48 x 60 inches. © Vincent Namatjira/ Courtesy the artist and Fort Gansevoort

A vibrant-looking, good humored show from an unusual clutch of artists — Vincent Namatjira, Kaylene Whiskey, and Tiger Yaltangki, three leading members of the indigenous Indulkana Community in the northwestern region of South Australia — soon opens at the Fort Gansevoort art gallery in New York. Iwantja Rock n Roll, a group exhibition of their new works opens July 9. Two are featured here.

Vincent Namatjira’s bold portraits explore the complexities of colonial history and its lasting effects on Aboriginal Australians. Inserting his own likeness into many of his paintings, Namatjira renders himself in fictional encounters with international political figures, including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and, in particular, members of the British Royal family. Painting with broad strokes in acrylic, Namatjira juxtaposes the aging Queen Elizabeth II’s visage with the rugged Australian landscape of his homeland. The continuous majestic mountain range fluidly links the individual portraits into a unified composition.

Kaylene Whiskey. Kungkas in Hollywood, 2021. Acrylic on linen. 65.75 x 78 inches. © Kaylene Whiskey/ Courtesy the artist and Fort Gansevoort

Kaylene Whiskey’s work celebrates heroic women, pop culture idols, and Anangu heritage. Whiskey’s chosen subjects include Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, , Cher, Dolly Parton, and Princess Leia. In her painting Kungkas In Hollywood, 2021, Whiskey inserts herself into a fantastical scene where she appears in conversation with Beyoncé and Dolly Parton. The artist refers to these iconic singers as her Kungkas, or her female cohort. Painting her figures in bright colors and in a superflat style, Whiskey fills the entire surface of her works with a kaleidoscopic design formed from images of commercial objects, plants, and wildlife. Utilizing the comic book convention of speech bubbles, the women quip to the viewer.

Iwantja Rock ‘n Roll | Fort Gansevoort New York | opens July 7, thru Aug 20

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Al Hirschfeld draws a dancin’ man

Dance · Theater · Visual arts

Everyone knows that arts journalist Al Hirschfeld, whose theatrical caricatures accompanied Sunday New York Times feature articles about Broadway openings, was a genius.

But The Line King‘s rendering of Bob Fosse in 1978, on the occasion of the opening of his no-book, all-dance musical Dancin’, got my attention. I can’t stop looking at …

… the many spot-on and humorous choices the artist made in his process.

How he captures the choreographer’s neat, belted uniform; the vee-neck with strands of visible chest hair; the torque in the torso so extreme it causes one arm to ‘disappear’ behind the body — pulled back with a vengeance.

The ‘jazz hands’!

Fosse’s face had few differentiating characteristics. He looked like an Everyman. But he provided Hirschfeld a jaw outlined in a beard, a ubiquitous cigarette, an eagle eye for persnickety dance-detail, and then, the best, the ‘comb-over’ hair of a man who began to go bald in his ’30s.

1974, Michael Tighe/Donaldson Collection/Getty

Al Hirschfeld Bob Fosse source: John Corry, “Broadway: Bob Fosse is getting ready to give us that new song and dance,” New York Times, Dec. 2, 1977

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‘Garden of Alla’s theatrical delights 2

Theater
Alla Nazimova, nee Miriam Edez Adelaida Leventon, as Camille, and at the Garden of Alla in Los Angeles Joni Mitchell, a resident in nearby Laurel Canyon, said it best: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” She was referencing, in song, the demolition of a 2.5 acre property at the south-west corner of ...

‘Apples’: clever Greek film probes universal pandemic experience

Film · Reviews
Who among us has not suffered mal-effects of isolation and removal from normal public existence in the aftermath of a two-year pandemic shutdown? Episodes of confusion, mixing the days of the week, forgetting appointments, losing and misplacing objects. These obfuscations are happening way too often as we reconstitute our lives prior to COVID-19. The profundity ...

Grotesqueries courtesy of Spanish performance artist Marta Carrasco

Dance · Theater
photo: david ruano An intriguing woman artist from Spain is being presented in multiple performances by the Latino Theater Company at the L.A. Theater Center downtown. It’s the dancer, choreographer and performance artist Marta Carrasco, in a show with an equally intriguing title, Perra de Nadie (“Nobody’s Bitch”). Well, that’s a nice girly name. [We ...

Love as a one-way street at the Panorama

Film
She won’t stop writing to me — e-mails, letters, texts, cards — but it’s not merely because I hardly know her that I no longer reply. It is the increasingly demanding tone, and the fact that a romance is gaining momentum without my needing to be involved.-Unrequited Love, by Gregory Dart You’ve heard of a ...

‘Pride month’ salutes film producer Harriet Parsons at UCLA Film Archive 1

Film
louella, harriet parsons, 1959 Along with Virginia Van Upp at Columbia Pictures and Joan Harrison at Universal, Harriet Parsons (1906-1983) was one of the very few women to make her mark in the industry as a feature film producer in the 1940s. Parsons got her start at Columbia creating myriad uncredited newsreel-like “documentary” shorts in ...

So good! Classic cartoons on Hollywood Legion Theater big screen

Film
WE’RE ON OUR WAY TO RIO (1945, J. Tyler/I. Sparber)Popeye and Bluto, on shore leave, visit Rio and fall in love with a bewitching Samba dancer, in this beautifully produced musical cartoon. Her name? Olive Oyl. So good! The 10th edition of the Alex Film Society’s The Greatest Cartoons Ever! to spool at the most ...

‘Mozart of Modern Dance’ visits Santa Monica’s Broad Stage

Dance
It is problematic calling yourself “the Mozart of …” anything. And yet, that’s how the choreographer Mark Morris, in his press materials, chooses to frame his creativity — as the “Mozart of Modern Dance.” Morris, 65, whose 42-year-old Mark Morris Dance Group will present four performances of his 2006 creation, “Mozart Dances,” at Santa Monica’s ...

Rita Hayworth’s stardom on staircases

Film
ed. note: Do you know what "press books" were in the movie industry of high Hollywood? We didn't either, until a nice librarian at USC named Ned Comstock introduced the press book from the 1946 film noir, Gilda. Columbia Pictures, where the movie originated, employed public relations people to create little compendia of story ideas ...