9/12/2016

    The Most Remarkable and Strange Life of Erwin Blumenfeld

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    If it were conceived as a motion-picture screenplay, Erwin Blumenfeld’s life would read like an ill-conceived mashup of contradictory forces. He was an avant-garde Dadaist-turned-high-fashion-magazine sellout, a happily married father of three-turned-Humbert Humbert sexagenarian in sexual thrall to a woman almost 45 years younger, and a German Jew filled with a moral life force so strong that he dared to caricature Hitler while he was still a vulnerable émigré in Amsterdam.

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    8/29/2016

    All About Eve and A Little About Joseph L. Mankiewicz

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    Joseph L. Mankiewicz began in movies as a title writer during the late silent era, but he quickly graduated to scripting dialogue for early talkies, and he received his first screenplay Oscar nomination at age 21. Nine more Academy nominations followed, and he won four statuettes, two for writing and directing Letter to Three Wives and two, the very next year, for writing and directing All About Eve. This home run of four Oscars for writing/directing in successive years has never been repeated.

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    Denis Brihat’s Humble Onions

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    What distinguishes Denis Brihat’s studies from Edward Weston’s is not the level of craftsmanship of the print — they are comparable — but the sense of “aliveness” in Brihat’s work. You can almost feel his subjects pulsating as they “pose.”

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    An American in Paris: John Alton vs. Alfred Gilks

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    The day after the Nov. 11, 1951, release of the soon-to-be landmark musical An American in Paris, the ASC Board of Governors met at its Clubhouse in Hollywood. One item that came up for discussion centered on the movie’s cinematography credits, and this soon erupted into a firestorm of recrimination that quite possibly led to lauded cinematographer John Alton’s second resignation from the ASC.

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    6/6/2016

    The Thrill of the Chase: The Wagstaff Collection at the Getty

    Edward Weston's Bananas

    On the evening of March 14, the spacious rotunda of the Getty Museum was overflowing with more than 900 guests who had turned out for the opening of the Robert Mapplethorpe retrospective The Perfect Medium. Barely noticed at the back of the galleries was the other exhibition opening that evening: almost 150 images from the Sam Wagstaff Collection, the vibrant heart of the Getty’s photographic collection.

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