Saturday, March 28, 2009

Capturing the Accident (Culture - Pierre Bonnard, The Late Interiors, Film - In a Lonely Place, Books - Treasure Island)

The Raggazo and I celebrated our anniversary yesterday with a trip to the Metropolitan Museum to see Pierre Bonnard: The Late Interiors and have drinks on the mezzanine afterward. Although the atmosphere of their Friday Cafe is nice, for the price their artisanal cheese plate could have featured something other than colby. I'm not five. It's New York City, can't you find any good cheese? The show, on the other hand, was wonderful. It allows you to wander through the development of his interiors over about a thirty year period, its satisfying to see how his depiction of color, form, and light enriched over that time. What I liked best about the paintings was his ability to capture the accidental feel of the placement of objects on a table, the posture of his wife as she feeds the dog, or the sudden awareness of someone of themselves in a mirror. The feeling of a candid photo of a day at home - except in paint. It's interesting to see over and over again, how his interest was with the form of a table against the view out of a window, or the angle of light on the half-opened door of a room. People were usually off to the side, never posing, and with the exception of his self-portraits, they are usually painted in the color of the background. I value that ability to court the accident in art more than perhaps any other quality. I love it in acting, in directing, in painting and in words. That's why I like the poems of Frank O'Hara, the acting of Geraldine Page or Billy Cruddup, the singing of Jeff Buckley, and it's what I really loved about this show, which is on at the Met through April 19.

Also in the world of the arts, the library finally came up with a copy of the 1950 Humphrey Bogart film In a Lonely Place, a recommendation of Sheila's, 'natch. It's an unusual film for the time - the writing has an elegant feel to it, yet it is about uncontrollable passion. Bogart is a volatile and cynical screen writer who finally meets a woman he cares for when he is suspected of murder of a young coat check girl who was seen leaving a restaurant with him. Bogie gets to show both a more refined side of himself and a more vulnerable one, and he gives a really terrific performance. It has a couple of very suspenseful scenes and it does not suffer from a typical Hollywood ending. Highly recommended!

And, inspired by Verbivore, I pulled some Robert Louis Stevenson off the shelf after I finished Damon Galgut's The Imposter. I began re-reading Treasure Island for the first time since I was a child. I'm experiencing a fun, cozy, kid-reading-in-bed nostalgia that's a welcome contrast to studying for exams and writing papers.


Anne Camille said...

Congrats to you & your beloved on your anniversary.

The Bonnard exhibit sounds great -- makes me miss NYC even more.

Have you ever been to Artisanal Bistro (33rd & Park)? It's been recommended to me several times, but I've yet to go there when I've been in NYC. I too would have been disappointed in the colby.

Ted said...

Cam - Thank you!! I don't know the Artisanal Bistro, I just looked it up in Zagat and they site it as a great wine and cheese place - yum. I'll have to check it out.

Sheila O'Malley said...

Happy anniversary! I love Artisinal - it's kind of a big echoey space, the opposite of intimate - but the wine and cheese is PHENOMENAL.

Soooo thrilled that you saw in a Lonely Place. Gloria Grahame is just unbelievable and I think it is Bogart's finest and most unsettling work. When he knocks the glasses off the guys head in the restaurant?? That's not "movie-violence" - that is real. Unbelievable.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it!

Anne Camille said...

When I was traveling to NYC regularly on business (business travel: bleh!, NYC, yah!), I kept thinking I'd go to Artisinal Bistro because it seemed like a 'expense account' restaurant, e.g, the kind that one might try out on someone else's dime. But I've since heard others highly recommend it and it seems like a nice 'special occasion' kind of place. I would want to be totally glutonous sampling the cheeses on their menu. If you do try it sometime, I hope you write a review here.

Ted said...

S - Maybe once we'll do one of our red wine and snacks nights there?! That knocking the glasses off moment reminds me of Dustin Hoffman as Ted Kramer knocking the glass off the table in the restaurant and Meryl Streep's reaction in Kramer vs. Kramer - do you remember that moment? It truly is the best I have ever seen Bogart and he revealed so many sides of himself I hadn't seen before.

Anonymous said...

How funny - I'm waiting for Damon Galgut's The Good Doctor to arrive from bookmoch...thanks to your recommendation!

Ted said...

Verbivore - I think you will like Galgut, and it will be an interesting compliment to your close reading of Gordimer.