An Opera House Gives Contemporary Art a Major Role | Big Indy News
Connect with us

Entertainment

An Opera House Gives Contemporary Art a Major Role

Published

on

The Vienna State Opera is not exactly a go-to place for cutting-edge contemporary art: Inaugurated a century and a half ago, it is housed in an ornate edifice with gilded and velvet interiors.

Yet every year since 1998, a contemporary artist has been commissioned to deliver a design for the safety curtain that about 600,000 operagoers gaze at before performances and during intervals all season long — for eight or nine months. More than two dozen artists have designed 176-square-meter (nearly 1,900-square-foot) images for the opera house and produced safety curtains that are nothing like what operagoers see elsewhere.

Kara Walker, who was the inaugural artist in 1998, delivered a curtain featuring her signature silhouettes of African American figures. Jeff Koons adorned one with toy monkeys and cartoon characters.

And Cerith Wyn Evans treated the public to a brief text (in German) that invited operagoers to “imagine a situation that, in all likelihood, you’ve never been in.”

The text began: “Permit yourself to drift from what you are reading at this very moment into another situation, another way of acting within the historical and psychic geographies in which the event of your own reading is here and now taking place.”

This season, the Chinese-born multimedia artist Cao Fei is showing a female avatar — a dystopian, pale-white head so imposing that signs have been put up all over the opera house to alert spectators to its presence.

The “Safety Curtain” series was started by Museum in Progress, a nonprofit established in 1990 by an Austrian couple: the curator Kathrin Messner and the artist and curator Josef Ortner. Their mission was to showcase contemporary art in unexpected places to audiences that might otherwise not engage with it. In more than three decades, Museum in Progress has displayed contemporary art in the pages of newspapers and magazines, on television, on billboards and building facades, and in concert and performance halls.

“The core idea of Museum in Progress is really simple: It’s about developing new presentation formats for contemporary art,” said Kaspar Mühlemann Hartl, managing director of the organization.

He said it was necessary to present the public with “really high-class art,” adding that although Austrian museums and cultural institutions do put on exhibitions regularly, they are aimed at attracting crowds. “We feel it’s really important not to popularize, not to choose artists whom everybody would like,” he said.

The contemporary safety curtains are not just ornamental: They are placed over a curtain with a dark past. That curtain was designed by Rudolf Hermann Eisenmenger, a Vienna-educated artist who went on to become hugely successful in wartime. He joined the Nazi Party in 1933; produced murals for Vienna City Hall showing young Nazi supporters in brown shirts waving swastika flags; and was awarded the title of professor by Hitler himself.

Eisenmenger’s career continued after World War II. When the Vienna State Opera — which had been heavily damaged by bombings — reopened in 1955 after a major redevelopment, Eisenmenger was selected to design its safety curtain. And that curtain, with a depiction of Orpheus and Eurydice, was never questioned until the mid-’90s, when the opera house’s director at the time suggested that it should be taken down because of Eisenmenger’s Nazi past — and met with strong opposition in public opinion and the media. In 1997, Museum in Progress stepped in to propose the “Safety Curtain” project.

Despite its troubled history, the original safety curtain, which can still be seen outside of the opera season, seems to remain popular with some Austrians. Every time the Vienna State Opera gets a new director, he receives “lots and lots of letters trying to convince him” to stop the contemporary-art project, Mr. Mühlemann Hartl said. In 2010, a far-right politician even raised the question in Parliament, he added.

The contemporary “Safety Curtain” project has nonetheless managed to continue for 24 years, as it is well liked overall, and every year’s design gets abundant news coverage in Austria.

Artists are chosen by a jury of curators, currently composed of Daniel Birnbaum, artistic director of Acute Art (a London-based digital art platform); Bice Curiger, artistic director of the Fondation Vincent van Gogh in Arles, France; and Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Galleries in London.

The process of choosing the winning artist is “incredibly fast,” Ms. Curiger said in an interview. Judges draw up a long list and rank each artist based on whether they can “come up with a good idea” that will work for an opera house and speaks to 21st-century audiences.

“We want to be contemporary,” she said. “We don’t want to just have nice decorative things.”

Ms. Curiger noted that the jury felt “a responsibility,” because the Vienna State Opera’s staff and audience “have to live with a work, which is really big, for a whole year.”

For the 2020-21 season, the chosen talent was the American artist Carrie Mae Weems. She presented a large photographic image of the singer Mary J. Blige — a version of which had appeared in W Magazine — that showed her wearing a crown and sitting at a table covered with flowers, fruit, glassware and an elaborate tablecloth that were reminiscent of an old-master painting.

“Mary is a very careful woman, concerned about how Black women are experienced and understood, and what they look like,” Ms. Weems said of the image in a video interview in 2020 with Mr. Obrist. “So it was perfect.”

The project costs 80,000 euros (about $85,000) a year to fund, according to Mr. Mühlemann Hartl, a modest amount by the standards of Western cultural fund-raising. Yet he said Museum in Progress still had difficulty raising the money every year, because in Austria, individual and corporate cultural philanthropy were not very developed.

In a recent interview, Mr. Obrist described the project as “an interesting oxymoron,” because in a house where most of the music played is not from the 21st or even from the 20th century, the artists are “bringing something extremely contemporary in relationship to a work from the past.”

He said he would love to see the initiative spread to other opera houses around the world, as was the intention of the couple who conceived it.

“It’s almost like a model that they created,” he said.

Read the full article here

Entertainment

This Off-the-Shoulder Sequin Top Is Perfect for New Year’s Eve — On Sale Now!

Published

on

Us Weekly has affiliate partnerships so we may receive compensation for some links to products and services.

Our closet is like a New Year’s Eve graveyard, filled with the sequined skeletons of past holiday outfits we’ve since discarded. That’s the thing about New Year’s — it often feels like a waste of money for just a few hours of fun. Rather than splurge on a sparkly dress you’ll only wear once, we recommend buying a staple piece you can style over and over again. Our top choice? This off-the-shoulder shirt that’s currently on sale from Amazon.

Adorned with sequins and available in 12 different colors, this trendy top features a flattering silhouette that complements all figures. The drapey style shows off a little skin while still covering trouble areas on arms, and the relaxed fit skims curves nicely. You can mix and match this statement shirt with a variety of bottoms, from high-waisted pants to a mini skirt. Since the options are endless, you’re getting more bang for your buck.

Read on to find out why this sequin shirt is a New Year’s Eve necessity!

Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

The Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top is perfect for a New Year’s Eve party! The unofficial dress code of the holiday is sequins, so you’ll fit right in. Bonus: this top is surprisingly comfortable.

We also love the versatility of this sparkly shirt. As everyone else around you is freezing in frocks, you can choose to complete your ensemble with warm pants or a blazer on top. Pair this shirt with faux leather pants in the winter or shorts in the summer! Stick with a solid shade, or go all out with a multicolored or ombré option.

Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

Take this sparkly shirt from a holiday party to a concert! Stand out on any special occasion in this fun top that will earn you all the compliments. As one shopper said, “This shirt was perfect for attending a bling Christmas party. It fit well and shined brightly. It’s perfect for events.” Another customer gushed, “This shirt is everything! Comfy, flattering and makes this boxy girl have a waist!” And if you’re worried about this top feeling less than luxe, just read this rave review: “Many sequined tops and dresses look more like a costume to me, but this one doesn’t. I ordered for a concert but feel like it is something I will also wear on other occasions.”

On New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, rock this one-shoulder sequin shirt, on sale now at Amazon!

See It! Get the Anna-Kaci Women’s Short Sleeve One Shoulder Sequin Top for just $36 (originally $45) at Amazon! Please note, prices are accurate at the date of publication, December 23, 2022, but are subject to change.

Not your style? Shop more from Anna-Kaci here and explore more tops here! Don’t forget to check out all of Amazon’s Daily Deals for more great finds!

Looking for other New Year’s outfit ideas? Check out more picks below:

This post is brought to you by Us Weekly’s Shop With Us team. The Shop With Us team aims to highlight products and services our readers might find interesting and useful, such as wedding-guest outfits, purses, plus-size swimsuits, women’s sneakers, bridal shapewear, and perfect gift ideas for everyone in your life. Product and service selection, however, is in no way intended to constitute an endorsement by either Us Weekly or of any celebrity mentioned in the post.

The Shop With Us team may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. In addition, Us Weekly receives compensation from the manufacturer of the products we write about when you click on a link and then purchase the product featured in an article. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product or service is featured or recommended. Shop With Us operates independently from the advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback at ShopWithUs@usmagazine.com. Happy shopping!

Read the full article here

Continue Reading

Entertainment

‘Babylon’ stars Margot Robbie, Jean Smart fear deepfakes: ‘Year 3000 porn’

Published

on

Jean Smart and Margot Robbie aren’t so fond of advanced technology in Hollywood.

During promotion for the film “Babylon” — which documents the rise and fall of characters in 1920s Hollywood — the cast of the movie was asked what they believe will be the next big shift in Tinseltown.

In Entertainment Weekly’s “Around the Table” video series, almost all the actors who joined — including Robbie, Smart, Brad Pitt, Diego Calva, Jovan Adepo and Li Jun Li — agreed they were concerned about deepfakes.

Deepfakes use artificial intelligence to manipulate videos and replace the likeness of one person with another.

Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in “Babylon.”
Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

“Are they just going to take our faces, and we won’t even be going to work anymore?” Robbie, 32, said.

“So creepy,” Pitt, 59, chimed in.

Smart echoed the concern but pointed out that their likeness can be used even after they’re gone.

“Or after you’re dead, they’ll go, ‘Oh, let’s put Margot Robbie in that movie’ — a hundred years from now, having her doing God knows what. And your estate will have to sue them. It’ll be horrible, Margot,” the 71-year-old actress said.

Margot Robbie, left, and Li Jun Li in "Babylon."
Margot Robbie and Li Jun Li in “Babylon.”
Paramount Pictures via AP

The “Hacks” star continued saying that she’s troubled by seeing Marilyn Monroe in TV commercials and Fred Astaire in Coke commercials due to the technology in Hollywood — and said she will not be OK with her likeness being used after she’s dead.

“Unless my kids are getting rich off it. Of course. In that case, then it’s all right,” Smart quipped.

But there’s one thing that is absolutely off the table for Smart’s likeness.

“I don’t want to be in a year-3000 porn,” she added.

Jean Smart in "Babylon."
Jean Smart said she will not be OK with her likeness being used after she’s dead.
Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures via AP

Meanwhile, some celebrities are already using deepfakes for projects.

Back in September, it was reported that an AI platform created a “digital twin” of Bruce Willis, who was diagnosed with aphasia — a brain disorder that affects his ability to communicate, which will allow him to appear on screen after his retirement from acting.

The “Die Hard” actor’s deepfake already made its debut in August 2021 when his face was “grafted” onto Konstantin Solovyov for a commercial for MegaFon, a Russian telecommunications company.

His estate has the final say on what’s created with his face.

Read the full article here

Continue Reading

Entertainment

Erika Jayne is spotted in LA as she sports a pale blue sweatsuit and sunglasses during shopping trip

Published

on

Make-up free Erika Jayne shops for expensive Christmas gifts at luxury store Hermès in LA – amid the RHOBH star’s money woes

Erika Jayne went without makeup as she shopped in Los Angeles days before Christmas.

The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses. 

The 51-year-old Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star – who has been battling money woes ever since her ex husband was declared bankrupt – was dressed expensively in a pale blue Alexander Wang sweatsuit and sneakers.

Bare face: Erika Jayne went without makeup as she shopped in Los Angeles days before Christmas

The platinum blonde beauty wore her locks bone straight, styled in an undefined part as they cascaded over her shoulders.

She looked cozy in her crew neck top and matching loose-fitting sweats, which she coordinated with pale pink and blue sneakers. 

Erika carried an Hermès bag on her arm as she carried a small, bottled water with pristinely manicured hands.

She was out and about by herself as she fit in some retail therapy two days before Christmas.

Under the radar: The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses

Under the radar: The fashionista was low-key as she wore a pair of oversized glossy black rectangle-shaped sunglasses

Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna.

Both women flaunted their long, toned legs as they wore dresses to the event hosted by friend Sanela Diana Jenkins.

Jayne took to Instagram to share a snapshot from the gathering in which she and Lisa kicked their legs up.

‘This was the BEST Christmas party EVER!!!’ she wrote in the caption as the photo showed her in a luxe white fur coat.

Season's greetings: Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna

Season’s greetings: Last weekend Erika got into the holiday spirit as she attended a Christmas party with friend and costar Lisa Rinna

The fashion-forward socialite donned a pair of pointy-toe metallic purple heels as she sat in a chair designed to look like a sleigh.

Rinna was equally stylish in a cream blazer dress with a black satin collar and gold accoutrements set in a pattern.

She added a pair of knee-high black leather boots and carried a metallic gold clutch.

Erika finished her caption with a shoutout to Lisa as she wrote: ‘thanks for babysitting me and telling me what happened at the party.’

Looking great: The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People's Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates

Looking great: The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates

The two gal pals were also spotted together earlier this month as they attended the 2022 People’s Choice Awards with their Bravo TV castmates. 

For her part, Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design.

Rinna, who’s feuding with Kathy Hilton amid the RHOBH hiatus, donned a long black dress with a plunging neckline. 

Engaging with her 2.5 million followers on Instagram, Jayne shared photos and wrote in a caption: ‘I had fun last night.’

Hot! Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design

Hot! Erika wore a long, mock neck bodycon dress with a trendy, nude silhouette graphic design

Read the full article here

Continue Reading

Trending