New exhibit opening tonight in TCU’s Moudy Gallery

Screen shot 2015-01-20 at 2.44.22 PMA new exhibit exploring how American artists perceive their identity and relate to issues facing the country opens tonight at TCU’s Moudy Gallery.

States of the Union: Highlights from the TCU Permanent Art Collection coincides with President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. But visiting the exhibit may be a far more valuable experience.

As our country confronts racism, police brutality and discrimination with as much as rage as cynicism, States of the Union couldn’t open at a better time, even if it is opening in a bastion of white privilege.

According to a press statement, the exhibit is a landmark in TCU history; it’s the first public exhibit of many works in the little-known permanent art collection. It’s also the result of a semester-long effort by first-year graduate students in Dr. Mark Thistlethwaite’s Art Museum seminar.

The artist roster is impressive, and not just because many are big names in American history. Among them: Will Barnet, Alice Neel, Lee Krasner, Romare Bearden, Larry Rivers, and Andy Warhol. The curators should be lauded already for not just including impressive names but an array of diversity, including artists of color, as well as women and queer artists.

But don’t worry if you miss tonight’s reception, the exhibit runs until Feb. 19.

States of the Union: Highlights from the TCU Permanent Art Collection opens tonight (Tuesday, Jan. 20) at 6:30 p.m. in the Moudy Gallery, Moudy North, 2805 S. University Dr., Fort Worth and runs through Feb. 19. Hours are Mon-Fri., 11 a.m.–4 p.m. and Sat. 1–4 p.m.

—  James Russell

Racy Andy Warhol art up for auction online at Christie’s for Pride Month

Lot 125_QuerelleAndy Warhol has been springing up in my life a lot lately. I just got back from Las Vegas, where the Bellagio has an exhibit of his work; I’m preparing a story about his hometown, Pittsburgh; and now, Christie’s auction house has announced — timed to coincide with Pride Month — a curated sale of some of the gay icon’s celebrated works, many of them dead-sexy drawings and Polaroids (and we’re talking racy, gay-ass, NSFW shit, as well as some classy celebrity portraits, like Truman Capote meeting Phillip Johnson).

Called “For Members Only: Eyes on the Guise,” the online auction — which you can get to here — continues until next Thursday, June 27. Even if you don’t bid on anything (though some start as low as $800!), it’s worth a peak. But you’d probably come up with an excuse in advance for your boss about why you’re scrolling through rough-trade photos. (“It’s art, ma’am! I’m an art patron!”)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

REVIEW: Men in Dreck 3

Poor Barry Sonnenfeld. In another life, he was a respected cinematographer, who shot the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple and Raising Arizona, in addition to Misery. He was versatile and quirky. Then he became a director, and that sense of humor became compromised by Hollywood middle-brow aesthetics. The two Addams Family movies had moments, and Get Shorty was actually good, but mostly he’s stuck adding a shiny inconsequentiality to bad action comedies. (His last film as a director, RV in 2006 was a serious flop; he has directed some good TV shows though, notably the short-lived Pushing Daisies.)

I’m sure he cries all the way to the bank, though, as he has directed all of the Men in Black films, including 3, which comes out Friday. These are hugely popular, although frankly, I’ve always been at a loss for why. They are action-comedies that have predictable action and aren’t very funny; special effects spectaculars that undercut their special effects with dumb humor. They have stretched them out over 15 years, so at least we only get bored once in a while, not on a semi-annual basis.

Men in Black 3 is clearly the best in the series, though that is akin to saying the third bout of cholera was the mildest. What started out as a vehicle for Tommy Lee Jones (he got top billing in the first one, remember?) has now marginalized him to the extent he disappears after 25 minutes, not to return again until the last scene. (It’s just as well: He’s begun to look like a saddle with eyebrows.)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

National Film Registry adds 25 movies, some with gay interest

Each year, the National Film Registry designates 25 films to be added to its roster of “historic” films that warrant preservation as cultural touchstones. It’s not all silent films or Hollywood pop entertainment; indeed, one of the most thoughtful — and brief — additions in years past is the Abraham Zapruder film that documents JFK’s assassination.

This year, the films added range from  A Cry of the Children and A Cure for Pokeritis (both from 1912)  1994’s Forrest Gump. Among the selectees of interest to me:

I, An Actress (1977). This movie from gay underground filmmaker George Kuchar (who died earlier this year from prostate cancer) and his twin brother Mike is one of their camp classics. Kuchar was lesser known than contemporaries Andy Warhol and Stan Brakhage, but a real influence on John Waters.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991). The Jodie Foster thriller was the surprise Oscar winner for best picture and cemented the queer actress as a film powerhouse. Its killer, a gender-dysphoric psychopath, was criticized by some gay rights groups, which led the director, Jonathan Demme, to choose for his next film a pro-gay storyline: The result was Philadelphia.

El Mariachi (1992). Though there’s nothing especially gay about it, Austin-based filmmaker Robert Rodriguez’s Spanish-language actioner, made for $7,000 and intended for direct-to-video release in the Tejano market, became a cult hit and made Rodriguez a hero of Texas filmmakers. It was the basis for his remake, Desperado.

Here’s a complete list, in alphabetical order:

1. Allures (1961)
2. Bambi (1942)
3. The Big Heat (1953)
4. A Computer Animated Hand (1972)
5. Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment (1963)
6. The Cry of the Children (1912)
7. A Cure for Pokeritis (1912)
8. El Mariachi (1992)
9. Faces (1968)
10. Fake Fruit Factory (1986)
11. Forrest Gump (1994)
12. Growing Up Female (1971)
13. Hester Street (1975)
14. I, an Actress (1977)
15. The Iron Horse (1924)
16. The Kid (1921)
17. The Lost Weekend (1945)
18. The Negro Soldier (1944)
19. Nicholas Brothers Family Home Movies (1930s-40s)
20. Norma Rae (1979)
21. Porgy and Bess (1959)
22. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
23. Stand and Deliver (1988)
24. Twentieth Century (1934)
25. War of the Worlds (1953)

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

PHOTOS: ‘Vintage’ scenes from Steven Hill event

Last week we previewed an event from young gay fashion photographer Steven D. Hill, who held his Heads with Hearts exhibit last Thursday. Well, since Hill is himself a photographer of some skill, he submitted some photos from the event — most lovingly re-creating the scenes as if from vintage, sepia-toned snapshots from the days of Studio 54 and Andy Warhol. Enjoy.

If you want to see his fashion photos in person, the exhibit is on display through Sept. 1. More of Hill’s photos below.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Champagne house Moet goes a little gay with tribute to Dom Perignon-loving Andy Warhol

Moet, the French champagne house most famous for its Dom Perignon brand, is going a little gay. A new label from the sparkling wine producer is set to be released next month themed around the late gay artist Andy Warhol.

Warhol wrote in his diaries about his love of Dom Perignon, which created the synergy for incorporating his signature neon pastel colors into a series of six labels for the highly prized vintage. It’s the first time Dom has changed its label in this way. The first shipment to the U.S. is “on its way as we speak,” I was told by an insider. It will be on sale in Texas next month.

Until then, we’ll just have to make do with Moet’s Nectar Imperial (also available in rose), one of the most delicious wines you’ll ever taste. Its tiny bubbles and fruity elegance are heavenly for champagne lovers. And it costs a lot less than Dom.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones