Step into a world where imagination and mystery blend into a surreal environment that challenges how you perceive what you see. The familiar becomes anything but, and maybe it never was to begin with, but now everything takes on new life and meaning as the familiar becomes increasingly fascinating. This world is René Magritte’s, the surrealist captivator now on show at the MoMA, Magritte: The Mystery of The Ordinary 1926–1938, brings together Magritte’s work from Brussels and Paris in a comprehensive and at times disturbing exhibition. Magritte gives the impression of a visual scientist, his work methodical and detailed, using a muted almost corpse-esque color palette to depict people and objects in bizarre circumstances and settings. The overall effect is thought provoking and haunting, stirring your curiosity in how the ordinary can be morphed in such a way. See the exhibition now through January 12, 2014, and learn more here.
This dark comedy by Fredrik Brattberg and directed by Henning Hegland is centered around loss, joy, and selfishness. It asks, what’s the best thing that could happen to parents who’ve lost a son? …in this case their son knocking on the door and coming home, alive. What a relief It’d be to have their son back, to forget the pain and return to normalcy and happiness. But, what if the cycle continues, death, return, death, return, what then? What sort of emotions would take over then? The Returning answers this very question in a hilarious performance staring Kristoffer Tonning (as Gustav), Andrew Langton (as the father), and Ingrid Kullberg-Bendz (as the mother). Now at the Theater for The New City in the East Village, don’t miss out on this performance running now through December 1st. Get your tickets here.
Almost like an unsettling dream from which you cannot wake from, Kafka’s classic The Trial transports you to a hazy dreamlike world in which the only thing that’s hazy and dreamlike is the law. K., our protagonist, is arrested, or told he’s arrested, and on trial. Let to wander about his life in profound confusion, chief financial officer K. first revels in mockery towards the law, but what begins as mockery turns to hesitation, and then to more confusion, and finally to paranoia and hysteria. Gasping for air, his timid and somewhat arrogant search for answers reveals only that the law is in fact a mystery to even those practicing it, and in fact there is no escape from a trial at all—only endless repetition. Concluding that the shame will outlive him, K. stubbornly resigns to his fate, perplexed yet still hopeful. A panic-inducing tale of how little control we truly have in modern society or of the excess of the law, Kafka’s timeless classic is a fantastic existential read that’s not to disappoint—get it yourself here.
Oh the joy of graphic arts, aesthetically stunning and narrative, who doesn’t love a carefully crafted illustrated story? And for one day each year the graphic greats get together to curate a festival of visual delight, gracing the public with an assortment of reasonably priced works ranging from the graphic novel to screen printed illustrations. Yes, the Comic Arts Festival has it all, not to mention the appearance of artists such as Paul Auster, Art Spiegelman, Adrian Tomine, and others—offering the opportunity to connect to the artist, and their work. A day of pleasant indulgence, the Comic Arts Festival is a day of discovery and well worth the visit, check out their site here to learn more about the festival and its exhibitors.
Balthus certainly had his fascinations, controversial ones at that, but his fascinations also produced fascinating results. Provoking the viewer with subtle yet powerful positioning of his subjects to create a natural tension that both repels you and drives you toward it. And the subject of his fascination? Adolescent girls, in the midst of puberty sexualized and mystified by positioning them in a way that is seemingly relaxed and at times awkward. Giving them an air of understanding and maturity in their expression far beyond their years, but completely by accident. And the icing on the cake? Cats, almost as if they were placed in the composition by accident, most works are littered (pun intended) with this feline fascination. So whether it’s girls or cats Balthus: Cats and Girls at the Metropolitan has plenty, offering an intriguing view into one man’s obsession with adolescence (and cats). Check out this amazing exhibition now through January 12, and learn more about the exhibition here.
To be, or not to be, I think I’d rather be short. At least I’d rather be now, it took some convincing, but Becky Murphy has 100 reasons why it’s better to be short in her new book justly titled I’d Rather Be Short. A clever and witty shout out to short folks everywhere, this beautifully illustrated book breaks down every situation in which being short is not just a good thing, it’s a great thing. So whether you’re looking for some laughs, or have a shorty in your life, a shorty yourself, or if you just love illustration, it’s a sure bet that you’ll fall in love with I’d Rather Be Short. Check out the site here, or buy it yourself here.
Wonderfully erie, funny, outlandish, and mesmerizing Hans was Heiri by Zimmermann & de Perrot is part theatre, part performance, part circus all set to dreamlike downtempo house music played live. If not already awesome, the main stage prop is a rotating four room diorama fitted with furniture and filled with performers tumbling gracefully from floor to wall, wall to ceiling, and back again with acrobatic delight. It’s as much childlike as it is lunacy, as performers interact with each other intimately in an incoherent language of gestures and sounds. What’s really striking however is the ease, fluidity, and grace in which our seven performers move around and interact with the space—dazzling with each move they make. Hans was Heiri is a brilliant visual and physical take on relationships and human nature, check out BAM’s site where it was performed and view Zimmermann & de Perrot’s site for even more info.