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 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 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 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 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 is Presented with Allusions to The Elephant Man, Dune and Wild at Heart
The Artist, (Right) at the Exhibit’s Opening Reception. He is very nice to fans!
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.
Kathryn Bigelow, and the card which describes her, below.
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 Personified with Motifs from Beetlejuice, Batman and Edward Scissorhards
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.
James Cameron, Avatar Meets Titanic with side of Aliens and Terminator
Wes Anderson Films include The Darjeeling Limited, Bottle Rocket, Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel
For just 3 short days late next week, Spoke Art will present Quentin vs. Coen – An art show tribute to the films of Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers. This exhibit is a follow-up to last year’s highly successful Bad Dads – a tribute to Wes Anderson. I’m sorry I missed that. For Quentin vs. Coen, Spoke Art has arranged a battle-royal style art show featuring over 100 world class artists from the new contemporary art scene. Painters, screen printers and digital artists were invited to submit reinterpretations of their favorite scenes, characters and films from these much lauded directors, resulting in an eclectic showing of inspirational fine art. From the previews I’ve seen online, it looks like there will be some mind-blowing art to enjoy!
The show opens on Thursday, April 7th 2011 at NYC’s Bold Hype Gallery and will be on view only until Saturday, April 9th – so if you snooze you definitely lose on this one. Opening night (reception 6:00 – 9:00 PM) will feature a costume contest (Dude, “The Dude”!) and complimentary “Caucasian” cocktails (i.e. White Russians). I’m there already!
Bold Hype Galleryis located at 547 W 27th Street (Between 10th and 11th Aves), New York, NY 10001
Neatorama just posted a cool link to this National Geographic news story about a rare RainbowJellyfish. According to the report, “The jellyfish does not emit its own light, as bioluminescent creatures do. Rather, its rainbow glow emanates from light reflecting off the creature’s cilia, small hair-like projections that beat simultaneously to move the jellyfish through the water.” Awesome. This actually reminds me of a scene in the Wes Anderson film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, which I saw again last night on IFC (great film, by the way) where hundreds of “Electric Jellyfish” wash up on the beach and Zissou’s crew run out to film it.
Jason Schwartzman, Adrian Brody and Owen Wilson Star in The Darjeeling Limited
Highway robbery at the ticket window be damned, I see a lot of movies in the theater. That’s probably one of the reasons why I can never seem to accumulate more than a dozen films in my Netflix queue at any one time. Because, you know, by the time anything I would want to see gets released on DVD, I’ve already seen it.
Earlier this week I took myself to see the latest Wes Anderson-directed film, TheDarjeeling Limited, and it was just fantastic. I’ve been a big fan of Anderson’s work since Rushmore, and after hearing great things about The Darjeeling Limited from a couple of friends whose taste in movies I respect and trust, I knew I would love it. And what’s not to love? It’s got a great cast, a great script, beautiful cinematography and – gasp – an at least quasi-original story about the three Whitman brothers, who make a spiritual pilgrimage-slash-site-seeing trip across India – by train! – in an effort to reconnect after their father’s death. No CGI, no Mad Slasher chasing after Teenagers in their Underwear, no gunfight bloodbaths: just a subversively funny, sincerely touching, smartly made film that’s beautifully filmed, written and acted. Wow. Imagine that.
A lot of your average movie-going schmoes will not understand this movie, and will go off on their Myspace blogs about how the plot “goes nowhere.” And to those people, I ask, “What is your problem?” These are the same kinds of whiners who thought Clockwork Orange was “too violent,” or those who were bored by the pacing of Napoleon Dynamite. Jesus god. If your head is too thick to absorb the simple joys of a slightly arty film that isn’t a standard formula Hollywood comedy staring Adam Sandler or (gag) Jim Carrey, do us all a favor and stay home.
And because the obsessive compulsive in me loves to make lists, here is a list of the Top Ten Things I Loved About The Darjeeling Limited
1. Jason Schwartzman as Jack. Schwartzman may be one of the most pedestrian rock drummers since Rikki Rocket (I mean, Phantom Planet – the fact that they completely suck being another matter entirely – was really lucky that Jason quit the band to join the cast of that acclaimed FOX TV sitcom that got cancelled after, like, 6 weeks) but he’s one of the best dry-witted comic actors since Woody Allen. He is completely awesome in this movie.
2. Adrian Brody as Peter. I’m sure he’s always been a very fine actor, but Adrian Brody generally makes films with premises so unappealing (see: The Pianist or The Jacket) that I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a hot poker than be forced to sit through them. So, my bad and everything because not only does he knock it out of the park with his performance as middle brother Peter Whitman but, man, he’s totally hot! Brody has that Ichabod Crane-meets-Howard Stern thing going on that I find just completely swoon worthy. I heart Adrian Brody.
3. Also, I think it was either a brilliant stroke of luck or truly inspired casting to have two actors with charmingly crooked noses (Brody and Owen Wilson) playing brothers. Who thinks of details like that?
4. Putting “This Time Tomorrow” by the Kinks on the soundtrack. Like Martin Scorcese, PT Anderson and Quentin Tarrantino, Wes Anderson is a director who chooses to soundtrack his films with classic rock songs that not only forward the action but also give new life to underappreciated musical gems. In a word: sublime.
5. India. More films need to be shot in India. Americans should be more familiar with the beauty and culture of exotic lands like India beyond what they can see during a season of The Amazing Race.
6. I liked that scene where the brothers try to get their dad’s sports car out of the garage en route to his funeral.
7. Bill Murray appears in a two-minute cameo where he runs after a train and has maybe one line, but every time I see Murray I reminded of how much he rocked in Lost In Translation. Bill Murray on screen is always a pleasure.
8. I liked the drug-swapping scene. I don’t want to spoil anything if you haven’t seen it yet, so that is all I am going to say. But that scene ruled.