As art fairs nationwide are derailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 13th edition of the beloved annual artist-run fair Portal: Governors Island, has found a new way to forge ahead as a studio residency programme.
“There [is] still a strong need among artists for workspace to restart and create new work,” say Jack Robinson and Nicole Laemmle, the organisers of 4heads, the non-profit organisation that operates the fair, which was scheduled to open in September in the decommissioned military base in New York.
Through an ongoing partnership with the Trust for Governors Island and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), 4heads was able to maintain its three-month lease on the historic buildings in Colonels Row. They offered a group of 19 artists expanded studio spaces, versus the usual 80 artists featured in the fair. Artists were “comfortable with the programme as long as there was no public interaction and sufficient spacing”, the organisers say.
The artists in residence are showcasing their work through a series of digital conversations on their studio practices, their experience working on the typically bustling summer destination in the city through this surreal time, and how the past six months have inspired them and affected their work.
Among some of the more striking presentations is a series of mixed-media paintings and wistful sculptural installations by the Queens-based artist Eric Hagan that animate two characters in conversation and aim to illustrate both our magnified introspection and longing for normalcy amid the pandemic.
Eric Hagan, For those that seek truth may you find certainty (2020)
Portal: Governors Island
One character is installed in the artist’s studio and looks onto the outside world to “observe, catalogue and attempt to imagine something that he can grab onto in order to feel secure”, while the other is seen cupping the building in an “anxious but hopeful state even with everything going on around him”, Hagan says. The characters symbolise ideas around “truth, comfort and isolation”, he adds.
The artists Lauren Petty and Shaun Irons say that after receiving funding from the New York State Council on the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts (Nyfa), they were faced with the bittersweet realisation that their presentation, envisioned as an immersive hour-long performance within a room flooded with botanical, psychedelic projections, will likely have its debut via Zoom.
Shaun Irons and Lauren Petty, All Over Everywhere, 2019-2020
Portal: Governors Island
“We finally got some funding and were booking the theatre, scheduling rehearsals and so on, and then coronavirus hit,” Irons says. “So now we’re virtually restructuring everything but the work is really meant to be experienced live and with a group of people.”
Petty adds: “We’re fortunate to still have this room and space to work, but there’s been some logistical issues, since we’re usually in the same room as the performers and now it’s been mostly remote. The work has these moving parts and is supposed to have an element of surprise that might be missing in this different format, but we’ll find out.”
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Oldest Shakespeare play in Spain found in Seville
A 1634 copy of Shakespeare’s The Two Noble Kinsmen unearthed by Professor John Stone at the University of Salamanca in September was, until very recently, considered the oldest preserved edition of one of the great English playwright’s works in Spain.
But it has just been trumped by the recent discovery of an even older volume, this time Shakespeare’s The Famous History of the Life of Henry VIII, found in the library of a private school in Seville.
The discovery was made after Luis Rey Goñi, the principal at San Francisco de Paula International School, walked past the two security doors guarding the library’s rare books section to personally check the date of the edition of a Shakespeare play that he knew to be kept there: it was published two years earlier, in 1632.
This rare edition of the famous play was being stored in a special archive along with documents dating from the 13th to 18th centuries, but it had gone unnoticed since its acquisition.
But Luis Rey Goñi is very familiar with the contents of his school’s library collection, which is one of the most extensive in Seville. “This work is a second edition, and it is probably more highly regarded than the first [from 1623], since it contains more elements,” he says.
But how did it wind up at the school? The school principal is unable to determine the details of the book’s purchase, but attributes its presence to the school’s tradition of collecting volumes of great value for its library. “Acquisitions have been made over the years,” he says. “The collection has been enriched with time. We have always given a lot of importance to the library. The first editions of the Generation of 27 [an influential group of Spanish poets between 1923 and 1927] were purchased as soon as they were published. A school, in our opinion, should be a repository of culture and encourage the generation and accumulation of knowledge.”
The play was part of the so-called First Folio, a collection of 36 Shakespeare plays. With the exception of Pericles, Prince of Tyre; The Two Noble Kinsmen, and the two lost plays, Cardenio and Love’s Labour’s Won, the volume brings together almost all of Shakespeare’s works, including Henry VIII which was separated from the rest when it was taken to Seville.
The San Francisco de Paula library has around 60,000 volumes, which are stored in both the library area and in an archive outside the school. “We have other curious books, such as works by Lope de Vega and encyclopedias,” says the director. “The oldest printed document we have is from 1472. But there are also earlier manuscripts, such as one of the Conceded Privileges by Alfonso X, dated 1256. The majority of the volumes are in Spanish, English, French, and Latin, although there are rare volumes in other languages, such as a manuscript from Burma [present-day Myanmar]. I don’t think there is an antique collection of this caliber in any other school library in Spain.”
The private school is located in the historic center of Seville, and was founded in 1886. Its library, named after former student Francisco Márquez Villanueva, has 12 rooms where the rule of silence can be broken in the event of debate. “Reading is the basis of knowledge, curiosity and research,” says the principal. “We want to encourage debate among students, and more and more of them are doing it. The goal is enjoyment, and reading is a wonderful way to get that.”
The library loans out around 3,000 books per month to parents, students and alumni. “We even have to keep reminding one of our students not to read when he’s coming down the stairs!”says Joao, one of the six librarians who work there.
Major Lindsay’s widow ‘upset’ after The Crown includes ski tragedy
The widow of a major killed by an avalanche while skiing with Prince Charles says she was “very upset” about the incident appearing in The Crown.
Sarah Horsley told The Sunday Telegraph she asked Netflix not to dramatise the 1988 disaster at Klosters, Switzerland.
Major Hugh Lindsay was a friend of the prince and a former Queen’s equerry.
Mrs Horsley said: “I was horrified when I was told [the episode] was happening and was very concerned about the impact on my daughter.”
She continued: “I’m very upset by it and I’m dreading people seeing it.
“I wrote to them asking them not to do it, not to use the accident.
“I suppose members of the Royal family have to grin and bear it, but for me it’s a very private tragedy.”
Netflix said it would not be commenting on the story.
Mrs Horsley said the producers replied with “a very kind letter”, saying “that they understood my concerns but they hope I will feel that they deal with difficult subject matters with integrity and great sensitivity”.
But she told the newspaper: “I think it’s very unkind to many members of the family.”
The accident features in episode nine – titled Avalanche – of the fourth series of The Crown, which is currently streaming on Netflix.
It features long-distance footage of an avalanche – no close-ups of any of the characters involved are depicted and Major Lindsay does not appear at all.
But there is a voiceover featuring real audio reporting the accident at the time.
The focus is largely on the aftermath – the coffin is seen returning from Switzerland and the funeral is also shown.
The Major’s widow is played by Alanna Ramsey.
Prince Charles is also seen having flashbacks of the accident and later tells Camilla Parker Bowles, who is now the Duchess of Cornwall: “I was sure I was going to die.”
Other real-life tragedies featured in The Crown include the Aberfan disaster and the death of Lord Mountbatten, whose boat was bombed by the IRA.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55042005
Travel writer and journalist Jan Morris dies at 94
Prolific travel writer, journalist, soldier and novelist Jan Morris has died aged 94.
Morris wrote more than 40 books including a notable trilogy about Britain’s empire, Pax Britannica, during the 1960s and 70s.
In 1972, she transitioned from male to female, undergoing gender reassignment surgery and changing her name to Jan.
Her son Twm announced her death, saying she was on her “greatest journey”.
“This morning at 11.40 at Ysbyty Bryn Beryl, on the Llyn, the author and traveller Jan Morris began her greatest journey. She leaves behind on the shore her life-long partner, Elizabeth,” he said.
Elizabeth was Morris’s wife before Morris transitioned – they had five children together and stayed together, later entering a civil partnership. One of their children died in infancy.
Morris told Michael Palin in 2016: “I’ve enjoyed my life very much, and I admire it. I think it has been a very good and interesting life and I’ve made a whole of it, quite deliberately.
“I’ve done all of my books to make one big, long autobiography. My life has been one whole self-centred exercise in self-satisfaction!”
She is arguably most famous for her widely admired travel writing, and Palin said: “She’s kind of a non-fiction novelist. She creates an image and a feeling of a place that stays in your mind.”
Author Kate Mosse, whose books include Labyrinth, paid tribute to an “extraordinary woman”. Fellow writer Sathnam Sanghera tweeted: “What a life, and what a writer.”
Journalist Katherine O’Donnell added her “public visibility and account of her transition… let others like me know they were not alone”.
Labour MP for Cardiff North Anna McMorrin added that Morris was “an incredible writer, pioneer and historian”.
Morris’s book Venice, about the Italian city, is considered to be a classic by The Guardian.
Palin said it was “one of the most influential books of my life”.
“Her description of the city transcended any conventional travel writing I’ve come across. Morris’s heart and soul was in the book. It was like a love affair,” he said.
“Her book started my own love affair with the city, which has lasted all my life. And as a writer she taught me the importance of curiosity and observation.”
The author also wrote fiction, however, and her book Last Letters from Hav made the Booker Prize shortlist in 1985. It was a novel written in the form of travel literature.
Morris was particularly renowned as a journalist for announcing the ascent of Everest, in an exclusive scoop for The Times in 1953.
‘Powerful and beautifully written’
She accompanied Edmund Hillary as far as the base camp on the mountain, to witness the historic attempt on the summit.
The news was announced on the same day as the Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. Later, in 1999, she accepted a CBE from the Queen, but said it was out of politeness.
Morris wrote about her transition in her 1974 book Conundrum, which was hugely successful.
She wrote in the book about having surgery in a clinic in Casablanca. The Guardian described it as a “powerful and beautifully written document”.
The writer told the Financial Times in 2018 she did not think her gender reassignment had changed her her writing, saying: “Not in the slightest. It changed me far less than I thought it had.”
She added that she did not think she would have achieved more as a man.
When not abroad, her home was in Gwynedd in Wales, where she held staunchly nationalist views and was honoured by the Eisteddfod for her contribution to Welsh life.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55021555
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