L’Amour Fou

Really looking forward to the new documentary on Yves Saint Laurent, L’Amour Fou.

The NYT did a great review of the film that convinced me that L’Amour Fou is about precisely the parts of Saint Laurent’s life I am most intrigued by — his love (and collection) of art and homes and his relationship with his partner in business and life, Pierre Berge.


Previous documentaries have focused on the fashion (which is, of course, amazing), but I really became intrigued by Saint Laurent during the time of the Christie’s auction of his estate when photos of his homes and art collections began to surface, and this documentary centers around that event.

Oh, btw, the auction netted $484 MILLION. See what I mean? He had one hell of a collection.

For more images from his estate, check out this Vanity Fair article and the beautiful black and white photos by Hedi Slimane.

Being Scott Schumann

Listening To: Joe Cocker and Leon Russell

I’ve developed a total fascination with Joe Cocker and Leon Russell’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour from 1970.

Both classics in their own right, Cocker and Russell teamed up for this legendary tour, for which Russell, the musical genius with his iconic long grey hair and top hat, fronted Cocker’s band and was musical director, coming up with all the live arrangements for their 21-person band/chorus (I think this may have inspired Edward Sharpe, don’t you think?).

The tour was also filmed and made into a documentary, tracking the band and it’s hippie-commune 40-member entourage around the country to sold-out shows, complete with backstage footage and interviews.  Sort of a real-life version of the movie Almost Famous, no??

Plus, the set list (which also became the album by the same name, from the show played at the Fillmore East) is incredible, including not only Cocker and Russell’s hits, but also covers of the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, the Beatles, and others.

This last video, Darlin’ Be Home Soon, is some of the footage from the film– a backstage rehearsal.  I particularly love the last minute or so with the split-screen of them boarding their plane and the rehearsal, and the little bit of the mom talking to the kids at the very end.  Very Almost Famous.

The Art of the Steal

If you ever took an art history class, you probably learned about the Barnes Foundation.  The restricted-access private art collection of Albert C. Barnes outside of Philadelphia was, and is, legendary.  Barnes, with unbelievable foresight, put together a collection of dozens of Renoirs, Matisses, Picassos, and other 19th and 20th century masters, many of whom were not even being collected yet by anyone else.  In addition to this, he amassed an extensive African art collection, which he was passionate about and saw as just as important as the other Western art movements while his contemporaries still considered it “primitive art.”

[Image: The original blueprint for the Barnes Foundation, 1922]

As an art history major, I was always dying to go to the Barnes Foundation– a grand building outside of Philadelphia where the whole collection was housed, carefully curated according to Barnes’ preference for a style he called “wall ensembles,” that gathered art around themes, rather than by time period.

The foundation, which Barnes had intended as an educational center, was open to small numbers of students and educators and was known for its excellent seminars and classes.  But after Barnes’ death, though his will was definitive in stating that he wanted the collection to remain as one collection in perpetuity, never to be sold off, the fate of the collection was exposed to the larger forces in the art world (including his biggest rival), starting a great controversy over what would happen to this famous collection.

[Image: The digital rendering for the new building in Philadelphia]

Today, a new building is being added to the Phildelphia Museum of Art to house the collection (after lots of drama, as detailed in the documentary).  Because it will now be housed in a public museum in a major city, the collection will be much more highly accessible, but does that justify the fact that this was against the wishes of the man who built and owned the collection?   And was largely carried out by one of his rivals?  Check out the trailer to see what happened and how… it’s one of the greatest present-day dramas in the art world!

Les Ailes Pourpres

I haven’t seen this film, The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos, but I was entranced by this trailer, with its stunning imagery and Coldplay-esque music by The Cinematic Orchestra.  Produced by Disney Nature, the documentary was filmed in northern Tanzania in a region never before shown on film.

If you liked Planet Earth or the LIFE series narrated by Oprah, I think you’ll like this.  It’s an awe-inspiring reminder of what an amazing creation our planet is.

Music by Cinematic Orchestra

Must See: Andy Goldsworthy documentary Rivers and Tides

If you’re an Andy Goldsworthy fan, I’d highly recommend this documentary on him.  If you’re not a Goldsworthy fan, I bet you’ll become one really quickly if you watch this film.  His work is pure wonderment.
Seeing Goldsworthy at work on his ephemeral pieces, made completely of found materials, is almost meditative just to watch.  I don’t know what I expected him to be like as a person, but I was enchanted in the documentary to see that he is so much a part of his work, and vice versa.  You can’t imagine him doing anything else with his life, and it seems to completely consume him, so that he is completely at peace while he’s working.

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