February 12, 2013
The Removalist is a 1971 play written by Australian David Williamson. It was made into a movie in 1975 and has been produced widely.
Removalist is a term that applies to someone who assists in the moving of furniture from a home, but of course its use in the play has a deeper meaning than that. The play is about abuse in different forms. It tackles physical abuse and the abuse of power of some authorities and the lack of involvement of most people.
The play is set in Melbourne and opens with two of the main characters. These are the police officers Ross and Simmonds. Unlike the idealized portrayal of policemen in TV shows, these two are shown with all their flaws which are all very human. Then two female characters are introduced which like the first two are not perfect. One is a feminist rigid in her views and the other is a nervous wreck, a victim of abuse. They are filing a complaint against the husband of one of them. They also seek some assistance from the officers to get some furniture removed from the place to which the officers agree.
At the house the husband arrives before the furniture can be removed and is then arrested. Towards the end of the play the husband is killed by the two officers and the play closes with their attempts to cover up their physical abuse which caused the death of the victim.
A Bleak Outlook
The play casts a rather bleak outlook on human behaviour and Australian society. It chooses to tackle realities, which most people would rather choose to ignore. Things like physical abuse and police brutality are realities that we have in the world, but we would want to ignore it as much as we can. Sometimes we are indifferent to it even when we come face to face with it.
That’s one of the things that the play tries to address, the indifference that most people have at the things that are happening around us. This is symbolized by the removalist in the play, who tries to do his job in the middle of the disturbance and the turbulence that is happening around him. He represents those who choose to do nothing about the bad things that are happening right in front of their faces. They are those who sit and just wait for things to happen and are mere spectators.
Though set in 1070s Melbourne this is a play about human society everywhere.
January 25, 2013
The American art scene might not be as old as that of Europe or Asia, but it has been able to produce iconic paintings as well. Some of these works are instantly recognizable anywhere in the world. These works are great cases for arguing that the American artistic tradition is just as great as the artistic traditions of other countries with longer histories.
To help you become more familiar with the American artistic tradition, here are some of the most famous paintings produced by American artists:
Christina’s World (1948) - This is a painting by one of the greatest American artists Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth comes from a family of artists and creative people. This intriguing work has sparked a great deal of debate over its meaning. It has also been widely referenced in today’s media.
American Gothic (1930) - This painting by Grant Wood is also satirized in media and cartoons. It depicts a farmer couple posed in front of their house. The “Gothic” in the painting refers to the gothic style window of the house in the background. This painting was widely used during the time of the Great Depression as a symbol for the American spirit.
Landsowne Portrait of George Washington (1796) - This is probably the most reproduced painting of any American today. Gilbert Stuart painted portraits of many elected officials during the early years of the United States. It is from another Stuart painting that we get the George Washington image on the one dollar bill.
Twilight in the Wilderness (1860) – The Hudson River School of painting was the first major artistic school of thought that emerged in the United States. Frederick Church who created this painting belonged to this school of art. His art as well as those from others from the Hudson River School helped to bring awareness about the expanse and the beauty of the American frontier.
No. 5 (1948) – When people think of abstract painting the painting that probably comes to the mind of most people is one by Jackson Pollock. Pollock is the most famous proponent of Abstract Expressionism which made America the leading country when it comes to modern art.
In the Car (1963) – This is one of the most famous works in Pop Art. The painter who created it, Roy Lichtenstein was challenged by his child to start working in a style that can be recognized by American kids, that of comic books.
November 1, 2012
The history of American art formally started after the American Revolution, during the time when the country was formally established. Before that however, there were already artists who lived in the colonies that would soon make up the new nation. And even before that, there were the Native Americans who also have their own artistic traditions.
The Art of a Young Country
A great number of the artists in the United States right after the Revolution were self-taught. They never underwent formal art training or if they ever did, it was much later in life. This is in direct opposition to the artists from Europe at that time who underwent extensive training under known masters. This is partly to blame for the low opinion that some Europeans have for American arts at that period.
A majority of the American painters from this period concentrated on portraits and on doing landscape in the European tradition. William Jennys, John Brewster, Jr. and Joseph Badger are just three of the more notable names in American painting during this time. Gilbert Stuart’s work are still familiar to many people today, thanks to the fact that he worked on painting elected officials at the time when the United States was still a young country. His works were then reproduced in postage stamps.
Nineteenth Century Art in America
By the early nineteenth century, the country was already able to establish its own identity and so some of its artists were starting to forge ahead and explore new grounds. It was at this time that the first home grown school of thought in art first appeared in the country. This is the Hudson River School of Painting. This school of art aims to depict the raw beauty of the American frontier that was slowly being explored. Robert S. Duncanson was one of the most important names in American art during this period. George Catlin tried to paint and draw the American frontier that he knew was going to vanish, as honestly as he can.
Art in America in the Twentieth Century
It was in the beginning of the Twentieth Century when controversy became staple fare for American art. This started with the Ashcan school of painting, which depicted squalid objects in everyday American life as parts of its works, to Abstract expressionism school which gave us the drip paints of Jackson Pollock and others. This is also the period when Andy Warhol and other proponents became famous.
Today, America is a leading place when it comes to the world of art. Some might dispute the value of the work being created by some artists but there is no doubt that the art scene and culture here is as vibrant as ever.
October 21, 2012
American artists were not that well known in the decades after the American Revolution. Artistically, America was still considered to be a backwater by Europeans though it already has large cities such as New York and Chicago at that time. This elitist outlook and snobbish attitude was further reinforced by the fact that artists who wanted to make a name for themselves, made it a point to go to Europe in order to study art there.
It was not until the 20th Century particularly in the years after the Second World War that artists from the United States started to be recognized in other countries. That was the time when the United States became a super power and the sole protector of the Western World.
Famous American Artists
These artists who became famous are mostly painters of modern art. Here are just a few of the most famous artists from America:
Andy Warhol 1928-1987- Known for his pop art works featuring famous and not so famous people and everyday branded products, Warhol redefined modern art. Today his works are the most sought after pieces in the art world fetching huge sums of money.
Georgia O’Keefe 1887-1986- Georgia O’Keeffe lived a long and fruitful life producing a great amount of work. She captured the harsh beauty of the American West on her canvas and she showed that beauty exists on different levels.
Norman Rockwell 1894-1978-Rockwell is a graphic artist and illustrator whose works is familiar with the American public because they appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post for more than four decades. His style of drawing is as American as the Statue of Liberty.
Andrew Wyeth 1917-2009- Wyeth comes from a famous family of American artists. He did not follow the trend of abstract painting during its heyday but instead went on with his own style. Despite going his own way, critics and art lovers have praised his work nevertheless.
Jackson Pollock 1912-1956- Pollock is one of the major names when it comes to abstract expressionism. When people think of abstract painting today, what mostly comes to their minds are the works of Pollock. His drip paintings have a distinctive style to it that sets it apart. Intensely private, Pollock died in an accident linked to drinking.
These are just some of the biggest names when it comes to the visual arts in the United States. There are more American artists today who have made a name for themselves.
September 4, 2012
There are several ballet productions that are touring America right now. If you are a lover of the performing arts then watching one or all of these productions is a must for you. You are sure to enjoy their performance.
To help guide you in picking the best ballet productions that might be performing in a place near you, here is a list of some of the best ballet companies that are available:
American Ballet Theatre- Not only is this one of the leading ballet companies in America but is also a leading cultural institution. It has been around for over 70 years and it has made a name for itself when it comes to the quality of its productions and the high level of the performances of its dancers. Their tours include other countries as well. In March of this year they would performing in West Palm Beach in Florida. In April they would be performing in Washington D.C.
New York City Ballet- Based in the David H. Koch Theatre in the Lincoln Center as their home, this ballet company also performs Saratoga, New York during summer. They perform both classical and modern ballet.
State Street Ballet- This small professional ballet company is based in Santa Barbara California. If you want to see a fresh and vibrant performance from a young ballet company then they are the ones to see. They do tours in California.
American Spirit Dance Company- This dance company was founded by Professor Jo Rowan. The company presents American style of dancing which has raised awareness about it and has placed it on equal terms with other dances from other parts of the world.
Ballet West- This company prides itself in being the leading ballet company on the western side of the United States. Founded in 1963 in Salt Lake City, it has grown since then as one of the leading ballet companies in America. The company also goes out on tours regularly.
School of American Ballet- This school was co-founded by one of the greatest of modern choreographers George Balanchine. Though technically a school, its productions are still a must see for any dance lover and a lover of the arts.
These are just some of the ballet companies that go out on tour each year. You should know that there are probably hundreds of ballet groups that are out there offering their performances for people to see. Not all of them are good but some are really worth seeing.