Lookback: on hanging a new piece of art

From 2004:

It happens that I’ve just acquired a new piece for the Teachout Museum, a copy of Fairfield Porter’s Broadway, the 1971 color lithograph I chose at your recommendation to adorn the dust jacket of A Terry Teachout Reader. It hasn’t arrived yet, but I’ll have to shift some other pieces around when it does, so I opted to do a bit of preparatory puttering. Since I’m going to hang Broadway over the mantelpiece, the place of honor, I moved the Wolf Kahn monotype that currently occupies that space to a spot over the living-room closet. That’s where I’d hung my copy of William Bailey’s aquatint Piazza Rotunda, not very happily, so I took down the Porter poster that hangs over the door to my office and put Piazza Rotunda there.
No doubt all this sounds boring, perhaps even precious, but hanging the art you own is an inescapable part of owning it, and it’s surprising–astonishing, really–how completely the look and feel of my living room have been altered simply by switching a couple of prints….

Read the whole thing here.

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Man at work

I did a fair amount of work on the blog this morning, updating the top-five and Out of the Past modules and pruning the “About Terry’s Play and Opera Libretti” and “About Terry’s Books” modules to make them more concise and easily navigable. If you’re curious, take a look at the right-hand column.

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Almanac: Lord Harewood on criticism

“Every creative artist who goes before the public takes something private with him, something vulnerable that can be crushed and wounded.”
The Tongs and the Bones: The Memoirs of Lord Harewood

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CD

Ray Charles, Brother Ray: The Genius (Frémeaux, three CDs). An exceptionally well-chosen, well-annotated, and wide-ranging French anthology of Charles’ 1949-1960 recordings, originally issued in 2011 and now available as an import, that puts his formidable musical achievements in crystal-clear historical perspective (TT).

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FILM

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. This 1943 film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger is a complex, near-epic study of the English national character, cunningly disguised as a wartime propaganda flick. Roger Livesey is breathtakingly good as a quintessential “old boy” who can’t come to grips with how World War II has changed his beloved country. Colonel Blimp is one of David Mamet’s favorite movies, and when you see the Criterion Collection’s beautifully restored home-video version, you’ll understand why (TT).

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MUSICAL

Rocky (Winter Garden, 1634 Broadway). Believe it or not–and it definitely surprised me–the musical version of Rocky turns out to be a very impressive show, staged with immense panache and soaring physicality by Alex Timbers. The performances are consistently strong and the score, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, is generally good and occasionally outstanding. Absolutely not for bros only (TT).

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BOOK

Mark Harris, Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War (Penguin, $29.95). A carefully researched, grippingly readable account of the military careers of Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston, George Stevens, and William Wyler, all of whom volunteered to serve in World War II and made training and propaganda films about the war for the U.S. government–often placing their lives at risk to do so (TT).

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SAD AS HELL

Few friendships have been more intimate–or less likely–than that of Paddy Chayefsky, who wrote Marty and Network, and Bob Fosse, the director and choreographer of the film version of Cabaret and the original Broadway production of Chicago. Beyond the bare fact of their both having been in show business, it is hard at first glance to see what they had in common. Chayefsky was an idealistic, sexually inhibited New York Jew full of angry political passions that infused much of his later work; Fosse was an apolitical sensualist from the Midwest who sloughed off his Methodist background to lead a life in which sex and drugs played almost as large a part as dance. Yet the two men were close, so much so that Fosse, at Chayefsky’s request, danced a soft-shoe at his friend’s funeral…”

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BOOK

Stephen Lloyd, Constant Lambert: Beyond the Rio Grande (Boydell, $64). The first full-length biography of the jazz-influenced composer-conductor-critic who wrote Music Ho! and was–or should have been–England’s Leonard Bernstein. If you only know him as the model for Hugh Moreland in Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, this superbly thorough biography will tell you the whole sad story (TT).

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