By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times art critic
Artist Robert Heinecken (1931-2006) is best-known for cleverly manipulating found photographs plucked from mass media, which meant to undermine their authority in America's exploding image-culture.
He's not included among the 36 artists in the historical group exhibition "Take It or Leave It" currently at the UCLA Hammer Museum, but he probably should be. A self-styled "para-photographer," Heinecken made pictures that crossed appropriation art with institutional critique, the Hammer show's theme.
More to the point, he was doing it long before most of the exhibition's artists, who generally...
The sound of a woman descending into madness is rich and piercing — and oddly beautiful.
In a quiet rehearsal room at the Los Angeles Opera, music director James Conlon gathers about half a dozen people around a grand piano. Among them is Russian coloratura soprano Albina Shagimuratova and French musician Thomas Bloch, who's just arrived from Paris with a rare, treasured instrument, the glass harmonica.
Bloch takes a seat at what looks like an antique pedal sewing machine with gold-rimmed glass discs rotating on its spindle. Shagimuratova sits on a rickety folding chair, her legs crossed...
Who knew the sound of insanity could be so beautiful?
We had the opportunity to sit in on a rehearsal of Los Angeles Opera’s production of Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," which opens Saturday.
The afternoon was the very first time cast or crew would be rehearsing with the rare, treasured instrument -- the glass harmonica -- that Donizetti intended for his tragic opera of love and madness. French musician Thomas Bloch had arrived from Paris only the night before, with the glass harmonica in tow.
The scene being rehearsed was the climax of the Italian opera, in which the...
The late-career comeback of Sylvester Stallone took a detour to Broadway this week with the opening of his "Rocky" at the Winter Garden Theatre. The new show, which Stallone co-wrote and produced (but doesn't star in), is a musical version of his 1976 movie about a Philadelphia boxer who dreams of big victory.
Stallone took a bow on Thursday when "Rocky" officially opened in New York following a month of preview performances. The actor has been working on the musical for a number of years, first unveiling the show in Hamburg, Germany in 2012.
The musical -- which comes with a reported price...
NEW YORK — In "Banquet of Vultures," veteran Paul Taylor Dance Company member Michael Trusnovec, dressed in a crisp black suit with a red power tie, yanks his bent knee toward his ear, conjuring up a bird of prey as he steps shrewdly through a mass of bodies. As he unfolds his talon-like hands, he evokes both a predator and a profiteer. Hands on hips, elbows splayed wide, he thrusts his leg back and swivels around a woman holding a candle, then tosses her overhead and onto the floor. With startling urgency, Trusnovec executes the sharp, scythe-sweeping movements of the choreography.
When the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats prayed for some kind of connection to permanence and immortality, his thoughts turned to Byzantine art as the most perfect emblem of the profound, eternal state of creative grace he was after.
He wrote, in "Sailing to Byzantium," of a yearning to encounter and be transformed by the gold-infused religious images of "sages standing in God's holy fire" that define the Byzantine style.
Now Byzantium is sailing to Los Angeles. "Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections," the biggest Byzantine art blockbuster to reach the West Coast,...
Controversy of one kind or another has dogged "Porgy and Bess" since its Broadway premiere in 1935.
Just the fact that George Gershwin's first real stab at grand opera debuted on Broadway rather than the Metropolitan Opera, which had initially commissioned the work, encapsulates two of the work's main fault lines: the debate over whether it's a musical or an opera or something in between, and the matter of its African American cast, which necessitated a run at a commercial theater, since the Met had no black singers (and wouldn't until 1955).
It's a full spring dance season, with national and international companies heading into town, a trend that continues well into summer. For the next three months, "diversity" is one watchword, with flamenco, contemporary ballet, modern dance and neo-classical masterpieces being presented around the region. Companies that qualify as American treasures will be well represented too, with Paul Taylor, Alvin Ailey and Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo performing. New York's Tere O'Connor will be bringing two new pieces to the Skirball Cultural Center in April, while a newer Big Apple group, the...
Every recital by this introverted Russian pianist with a godlike touch and the ability to breathe fire onto the keyboard is eagerly anticipated. But his first appearance in Walt Disney Concert Hall was more so than most. On Oct. 28, 2003, Kissin, then 32, had the honor of giving the first solo recital in the new hall, which was five days old. Kissin was back five years later, and it will have been another five for his third Disney recital. Much has changed. He has matured into a sublimely great artist. But young new artists have come along to hog some of the limelight....
By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
MARCH 28-AUG. 25
'In the Land of Snow: Buddhist Art of the Himalayas'
Pasadena's Norton Simon Museum is well-known for having the most impressive collection of European Old Master and early Modern paintings in Los Angeles. Less familiar is the museum's exceptional Indian, Nepalese and Tibetan art. This show will chronicle the movement of Buddhism from India to the Himalayas more than a thousand years ago, bringing numerous important loans together with superlative examples of painting, sculpture, ritual and decorative arts from the Simon's own collection.
By Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times Theater Critic
Shakespeare with puppets, a legendary director still breaking ground in his 80s, and a couple of Pulitzer Prize-winning dramas are just some of the highlights of the spring theater season. As for new work, there's a brand new play by one of America's rising playwriting talents. But even the classics are being served in novel ways and the prospect of Annette Bening performing monologues by Ruth Draper has all the charge of a world premiere.
MARCH 18-APRIL 13
'A Song at Twilight'
This late work by Noël Coward is in the capable hands of director Art Manke, who has been shining a spotlight on the...