Thursday, October 25, 2012

Avedon Slept Here

Avedon home photo from here

I was browsing in East End Stories, a great section of the Parrish Art Museum website, and noticed that works by Richard Avedon are in the Parrish collection. I didn't realize that Richard Avedon had a Montauk home from the 1980s until 2000.  Avedon must have loved the East End for years before he had a home here. In 1963 he photographed Suzy Parker in an ad for Revlon Stormy Pink nail polish that involved a horse in the surf off the beach in Montauk. This story is recounted by one of Avedon's assistants, Earl Steinbicker in a blog/memoir. Steinbicker quotes model Suzy Parker,
photo from here

"We worked at night (double the fee) off Montauk Point, in the ocean, and I had to hold a stallion. We really did that. It was very dangerous because it was windy and the pebbles kept rolling out from beneath the horse's feet and I'm trying to hold him down. We worked on that for almost six hours in the middle of the night, in the middle of the ocean (well, not quite), and I was in a chiffon dress.  I think the reason I was such a good model wasn't that I was such a particular beauty or anything, but that I was as strong as a horse & that occasion proved it." - Suzy Parker"

Avedon by Ted Thai
I found the story above Google-stalking "Avedon Montauk photos". I was hoping to see that he had taken snaps around the house of his ocean view etc. I didn't find any online. Curious. Perhaps he just didn't wish to use his instrument, the camera, for such casual pursuits. Avedon took photography from commerce to a high art form. Finding out more about him will take more than just a few searches typed into Google. You can check out:  The Richard Avedon Foundation for more and I will too.
I got on this wild Google chase because I was thinking about capturing the visual beauty of the area though the photographic image as well as the painted one. Looking at the stones and shells in the surf of Peconic Bay. Fooling around with an ollo clip on my iphone in the garden:

Taking snaps with the Canon Powershot while being a surf widow.
Rough day in Montauk! You can see why I stayed on the sand. 
What camera is working for you these days? 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Film Inspiration

I was thinking about movies that inspire creativity. Why? Sag Harbor was bustling this weekend with visitors attending the Hamptons International Film Festival.  Lines were forming in front of the Sag Harbor cinema for the 1:30 showing of The Sapphires.
I walked through town past the American Hotel and wondered if any visiting film celebrities were in residence. No paparazzi in sight.

The Bay Street Theater had a line forming for Conversations with Alan Cumming.  It would have been wonderful to see him, but errands and the last swim of the season were calling. Love you Alan, next time.

Being around all of this film hoopla did get me thinking about some of the wonderful inspiring films about art and artists.  There could be a film festival devoted to them. Considering the special events this past summer for Jackson Pollock's centenary, I was surprised that the Hamptons film festival didn't replay Pollock (2000), a favorite filmed in the Hamptons and New York City. A recent  Pollock mention here. Ed Harris plays the role of Jackson and Marcia Gay Harden is his artist wife Lee Krasner. Val Kilmer plays DeKooning and Amy Madigan is the incredible Peggy Guggenheim.
Basquiat (1996) captures the excitement of the NYC art scene in the 1980s. Jeffrey Wright plays Jean-Michael Basquiat, David Bowie has the role of Andy Warhol. Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken, Benicio del Toro and Gary Oldman also star. It was the first feature film by Julian Schnabel. I would have liked to be a fly on the wall on that set!

No art film festival would be complete without the classic film The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) based on the Irving Stone's historical novel of the life of Michelangelo.

 Lust for Life (1956) stars Kirk Douglas as the tortured, brilliant Vincent van Gogh.
The French (subtitled) film Artemisia (1997) is about the Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. Valentina Cervi stars as Artemisia. I love the scene of early painting en plein air at the beach.
Salma Hayek sports the signature unibrow in Frida (2002). Alfred Molina plays her artist husband Diego Rivera. Julie Taymor's film about Frida Kahlo won 2 Academy Awards and was nominated for four more. Alfred Molina also played another famous artist on the stage: Mark Rothko in the play Red.
The BBC produced a mini series called The Impressionists (2006). 
It is available here.
These films are some of my favorites. Have I missed some of yours?
Let me know!
Local news:  Dan's