Looking for something to do this weekend? If you've already completed all of your holiday shopping, why not celebrate the season with a little local art instead? Jared Bowen shares his top three picks from the Boston art scene this week.
The 1980s often get saddled with a bad rap—the decade of shoulder pads, greed and Miami Vice. But in the art world it was a time of intense revolution, expression and loss. In a brilliant show by ICA Chief Curator, Helen Molesworth we find that the 80s may well have been the last definitive movement in art. Women artists were finally given their due. Artists rallied and railed against Reagan/Thatcher politics, taking up the front in the culture wars. It saw the rise of punk and street art. It saw the even bigger rise of money and fame (think Cindy Sherman, Basquiat, Richter, Mapplethorpe, Koons and so many others). And it saw the devastating fall of a whole society as the AIDS crisis tore through the arts community. Go for the story, enjoy the art.
The Pianist of Willesden Lane at ArtsEmerson
It was late 1938 Vienna. Austria was in the tight clutches of the Third Reich when 14-year-old Lisa Jura’s parents managed to get her out of the country. The family was Jewish and had a foreboding sense of what was to come. With just one ticket for the kindertransport which ferried Jewish children to safety in England, Lisa’s parents made something of a Sophie’s Choice. They selected her among their three children to go to London so that she could pursue her passion for playing the piano. In a moving one-woman show, Lisa’s daughter Mona Golabek, tells her mother’s story as it was related to her—at the piano. Directed by Hershey Felder, the show is a as-yet-untold view of life during World War II when a group of children at a Jewish hostel on London’s Willesden Lane survived the war in the embrace of one teenaged girl’s classical music. Mona Golabek will break and lift your heart.
Rudolph the Red Necked Reindeer by the Gold Dust Orphans
Generations of children have now been raised on the Rankin/Bass stop-animation special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. If you’re like me, you know it by heart—the blustery optimism of Yukon Cornelius. The wide-eyed beauty of Clarice, Rudolph’s little reindeer girlfriend. The curious mean-spiritedness of Santa who’s ashamed of Rudolph’s nose and of course the Zoloft-deprived inhabitants of The Island of Misfit Toys. All of that gets a demented spin by the Gold Dust Orphans in their latest holiday satire. Here Santa smokes a bong and is married to the gold-lame wearing Real Housewife of the North Pole, Diane. Yukon Cornelius is replaced by Drew Barrymore (!!!) with a sleigh driven not by sled dogs, but by ETs. Herbie is not a wannabe dentist, but a practitioner of other orifices. The Burl Ives snowman is now Sharon, a transgendered narrator. It’s outrageous, clever and terrifically funny. Just leave the kids behind.