Tag Archive | Stanley Kubrick

Jonathan LeVine Gallery Presents: Mike Leavitt’s King Cuts!

Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock Is a Bird, by Mike Leavitt (All Photos By Gail)

You loved his homage to the contemporary art world in Art Army Royalty; you thrilled to his Star Wars character mashups with Empire Peaks; and now, Mike Leavitt returns for his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine, King Cuts – honoring the artist’s obsession with 16 of the Best Film Directors Ever! And what great show it is!

Orson Welles
Orson Welles with Key Props from Citizen Kane and A Touch of Evil

Great film directors make sacrifices and compromises when creating a movie. They’re eaten by their work and very often their body succumbs to the pressure. In King Cuts, Leavitt transforms some of the most renowned directors into satirical sculptures, combining their physical attributes with features reminiscent of their most recognizable on-screen characters. Standing 18 inches tall at one quarter inch scale, each sculpture is carved from a single block of wood, similar to the way these auteurs might cut a take or reel.

Francis Ford Coppola
Francis Ford Coppola with Thematic Images from Rumblefish, Dracula, and The Godfather

Through his clever mash-ups, Leavitt has created totems devoted to the best story tellers of all-time that explore the role of being an artist and pose the question, is it possible not to merge art and life?

Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick Wears the Dress of One of the Twins from The Shining. Also Present are References to Full Metal Jacket, A Clockwork Orange, and 2001

Stanley Kubrick Detail
Stanley Kubrick Detail with Alex DeLarge’s False Eyelashes

Similar to the way Kubrick, Spielberg and Tarantino use the camera like a window to gaze out, Leavitt humorously reverts the gaze back to them. Under their control or not, work sweeps over the life of the creator. Their imagery becomes more powerful than themselves and their icons overtake their anatomy.

David Lynch
David Lynch is Presented with Allusions to The Elephant Man, Dune and Wild at Heart

Mike Leavitt
The Artist, (Right) at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception. He is very nice to fans!

Trading Cards Set 1

Mike also made a set of collectible trading cards of each of the Director’s Sculptures, and the back of each one has a little story about each character.

Trading Cards Set 2

Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow, and the card which describes her, below.

Kathryn Bigelow Trading Card

Leavitt is obviously a passionate film buff who aims to elevate these directors as high artists, while also surreally lampooning them with a taste of their own iconic medicine. He explains, I love movies and I love art. The magic overwhelms me. Moviemakers are consumed by their work, similar to the way my own work overtakes my life. Whether a block of wood, a scene ending or film reel edit, every cut takes conviction. Trust in that vision is so powerful that they relinquish their anatomy. That’s why I sculpted their bodies physically devoured by their work.”

Tim Burton
Tim Burton Personified with Motifs from Beetlejuice, Batman and Edward Scissorhards

Installation View
Installation View, Left Right: Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, George Lucas

Mike Leavitt’s talent is just insane. The details of each sculpture are absolutely breathtaking and this exhibit is lots of fun to experience in person. Don’t miss it!

Mike Leavitt’s King Cuts will be on Exhibit Through June 11th, 2016, at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
King Cuts Signage

James Cameron
James Cameron, Avatar Meets Titanic with side of Aliens and Terminator

Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson Films include The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Video Clip of The Week: Metronomy, “I’m Aquarius”

As the Sun moves officially into the Sign of Aquarius on January 20th, it’s wildly appropriate to post this truly visually groundbreaking video for “I’m Aquarius” from Britain’s modern pop act, Metronomy. This song speaks to me on one level because I, too, am an Aquarius. But more than this very catchy song that reminds of me of something you might hear from MGMT or Beck, the video itself is just ridiculously great. It’s like Kubrick’s 2001: a Space Odyssey in a four minute video. Insane. “I’m Aquarius” is from Metronomy’s upcoming new album, Love Letters, which will be released on March 11th, 2014 on Elektra Records (Yeah, Baby!). Enjoy!

Metronomy Love Letters Cover Art

Stanley Kubrick Retrospective at LA County Museum of Art

 LACMA Kubrick Exhibit Title

While I was in Califorina over the Christmas holdays I was fortunate to be able to check out the Stanley Kubrick Career Retrospective at LACMA – which was just amazing! I absolutley loved the exhibit and took a bunch of pictures, some of which I’ll share with you in this post.

As the museum’s website concisely describes the exhibit: “Stanley Kubrick was known for exerting complete artistic control over his projects; in doing so, he reconceived the genres in which he worked. The exhibition covers the breadth of Kubrick’s practice, beginning with his early photographs for Look magazine, taken in the 1940s, and continuing with his groundbreaking directorial achievements of the 1950s through the 1990s. His films are represented through a selection of annotated scripts, production photography, lenses and cameras, set models, costumes and props.

Kubrick Posters Wall
A Selection of Posters and Lobby Cards from Kubrick’s Films

In addition, the exhibition explores Napoleon and The Aryan Papers, two projects that Kubrick never completed, as well as the technological advances developed and utilized by Kubrick and his team. By featuring this legendary film auteur and his oeuvre as the focus of his first retrospective in the context of an art museum, the exhibition reevaluates how we define the artist in the 21st century, and simultaneously expands upon LACMA’s commitment to exploring the intersection of art and film.”

Below is a selection of my photos from the show, representative of an overview of the exhibit. Enjoy!

Kubrick Strangelove Model
Miniature Boardroom Set from Dr. Strangelove

Kubrick 2001 Seating
Seating from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Production Stills at Rear of Gallery.

Kubrick 2001 Cutlery Props
Custom Designed Futuristic Cutlery used in 2001.

Kubrick 2001 Space Ship Model
Spaceship Model from 2001

Kubrick 2001 Model Set
2001 Miniature Model Set

Kubrick Barry Lyndon Costumes

Kubrick’s epic period drama, Barry Lyndon, is represented mostly by its lavish costumes. Barry Lyndon is a fantastic film if you have three hours to devote to a viewing.

Kubrick Spartacus Costume
Costume from Spartacus

Kubrick Clockwork Milkbar Props

Signage and Props from the Korovoa Milk Bar scene in A Clockwork Orange — My favorite movie of all time!

Kubrick Clockwork Orange Droog Costume

Droog Costume worn by Malcom McDowell as Alex, A Clockwork Orange. Notice the skewed shadow of the baton against the wall.

 Kubrick Clockwork Orange Turntable

Alex’s Turntable.  Trivia: the British band Heaven 17 took their name from the pre-orgy record store scene in this film.

Kubrick Shining Production Stills

The Shining Production Stills. Note the emphatic use of the color red, which Kubrick employed in each of his films to heighten the emotional impact of certain scenes.

Kubrick Shining Hedge Maze Miniature

The Shining Hedge Maze Model

Kubrick Shining Room Wall with Axes

The Shining’s Grady Sisters with Axes buried in the gallery wall.

Kubrick EWS Masks

Masks from Eyes Wide Shut

Kubrick AI Set Rendering

AI Set Rendering

Kubrick Hellacopter Model from Full Metal Jacket
Helicopter Model from Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick Runs Through June 30, 2013 in the Art of the Americas Building, Level 2 at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Admission to the Exhibit, which includes Admission to all Galleries, is $20.00. Tickets can be purchased online at This Link.

Robert Pattinson Goes from Undead to Unwashed for Bel Ami

Christina Ricci and Robert Pattinson in Bel Ami
Christina Ricci and Robert Pattinson Star in Bel Ami (Images Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)

If you loved Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon – the epic period drama about a beguiling rogue who manipulates (read: boinks) his way to the top of 18th century European society – but would prefer to skip all of those gory battle scenes and have the run time cut down from three hours to an economical 100 minutes, you might enjoy a new film called Bel Ami.

Based on the 1885 French eponymous novel by Guy de Maupassant (with a screenplay by Rachel Bennette) Bel Ami is directed by the team of Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod. Robert Pattinson (best known for his roles as vampire Edward Cullen from the Twilight film franchise) stars as Georges Duroy, a young, impoverished former soldier who moves to Paris in the 1890s to, literally, seek his fortune. Living in squalor and unemployed, Georges has a chance reunion with Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister), an acquaintance from his time in the military, and sufficiently charms his way not only into a job as a journalist but also into Forestier’s inner social /political circle. Forestier’s beautiful and well-educated wife, Madeleine (Uma Thurman), introduces Georges to her good friends Clotilde (Christina Ricci) and Virginie (Kristin Scott Thomas), both married, but ripe for distraction. Georges wastes no time in taking full advantage of Clotilde’s obvious attraction to him. The two embark on a a smoldering affair, which is the Georges’ first major seduction – his preferred method for bringing about the cooperation/ruination of anyone who would stand in the way of his quest for fame, riches and glory.

Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman in Bel Ami
Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman in Bel Ami

As the strong willed but appropriately vulnerable Madeleine (who eventually becomes Georges’ first wife), Uma Thurman steals every scene she is in. Her character’s insistence on maintaining her social and financial equality with the duplicitous Georges (who is unlikeable in almost every way and looks like he needs a bath in nearly every scene) also makes her the film’s most admirable / sympathetic character. What I found so engaging about Bel Ami was observing the manner in which Georges’ single-minded ambition becomes increasingly ruthless while remaining largely surreptitious.

To give up much more of the plot here would mean revealing “spoilers,” and this film is one that needs to unfold for the viewer on its own. Costumes, art direction and the original classical soundtrack (composed by Rachel Portman) are all first-rate and add authenticity to the film’s setting. The acting is excellent by all female leads and while the jury is still out on R Patz, he successfully portrays Georges as a vacuous but hard-hearted individual who is able to successfully use people as his means to an end because they are so easily able to project their emotions and desires onto his conscienceless, blank canvas of a persona. If I said I’d never met an individual like Georges in my own life, I’d be lying.

Bel Ami (Rated R for Sex and Nudity) opens Friday, June 8th 2012 at Sunshine Cinema 5, located at 143 East Houston Street, New York, NY.