GORGEOUS: Confronting Beauty in Some Extreme Forms

[Guest post from artist Tracey Adams who currently has her own show at the Bryant Street Gallery,  Palo Alto, and K. Imperial Fine Arts, San Francisco.   In addition, The Huffington Post interviewed Tracey in "Everything in My Life Is Interconnected" on art, music and math.]

 0904-14-Gorgeous-exhibition-majorLast week I had the pleasure of seeing GORGEOUS, an exhibition of works  from both the SFMOMA and the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.  The curators mentioned, this exhibition is not about the context or meanings of the objects. Rather, the focus is on what the objects look like and how we react to them.  What grabbed me the most were the text plaques alongside each piece. The subject of Beauty is one I’ve been exploring and reading about for the last 2 years. I’m including a few highlights from the “Gorgeous” catalog:  excerpted text  from the curators, Allison Harding and Forrest McGill.  

 Lotus-deer-and-maple-leaves-1800-50-School-of-Sakai-Hoitsu-set-of-3-hanging-scrolls-ink-and-colors-on-silk“The gorgeous challenges the limits of conventional beauty, often approaching the grotesque, abject, overwrought or kitsch. It catches us off guard with an attraction to that other thing, the under belly, where beauty gets messy and unpredictable. Some may feel attracted, others repulsed. We can’t look away. S/he may not be beautiful; s/he is gorgeous.”

“Beauty is always bizarre. I do not mean to say that it is voluntarily, coldly bizarre…I mean that it always contains a bit of strangeness, not intentional, but unconscious, and it is this strangeness in particular that creates Beauty…Reverse the proposition, and try to conceive of a commonplace beauty!” – Charles BaudelaireEllsworth-Kelly-ntitled-Mandorla-1988-bronze

 

Go experience GORGEOUS at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, through September 14, 2014!

“Chef”–A Recipe for Fun

"Chef"

With an all-star cast, “Chef”  centers on the once-celebrated chef Carl Casper(Jon Favreau, director of the Iron Man series),  who is ordered by the owner (Dustin Hoffman) to preserve the status quo: a  predictable menu the customers want.  “No one goes to a Rolling Stone’s concert  not expecting to hear ‘Satisfaction’.”  The boss commands Carl  to play to his strengths, because business is business.  When a famous food critic (the ever-appealing Oliver Platt)  dismisses the menu as tired and yesteryear, the conflict boils over into a confrontational fist-fight, gone viral. Chef Carl’s passion for trendy and innovative food, and his sense of pride, won’t let him stay.

Unsure of how to reclaim his passion for food and maintain an amiable relationship with Inez,  his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara, the sexy star of “Modern Family”) and his young son, Percy (the amazing newcomer Emjay Anthony), he starts a food truck business.   Another ex-husband of  Inez   (Robert Downey Jr. the Iron Man himself), helps finance the food truck for the down-and-out Chef.  Carl’s former restaurant’s hostess (Scarlett Johansson) also encourages him to follow his dream.

What follows is an unorthodox road trip with a fellow restaurant worker, a Cuban American (John Leguizamo,) and the twelve-year old tech-savvy Percy, who videos the fast-food orders of Cuban-style food and tweets so that foodies can find his father’s  food truck’s location (like the famous Kogi truck in LA, a model for this movie!)

The connection of food to family  is truly delicious in its own way.  While “Chef”  is certainly a feast for the senses,  it’s the  theme about restoration– restoring the father-son relationship– and restoring passion–that are the pivotal scenes in this film.

“Chef” is a  familiar recipe  with great ingredients, enjoyable for almost anyone not expecting an “art film”.  An entertaining, humorous movie that hooked this viewer,  “Chef” is hard to resist:  pairing of sumptuous shots of food porn with sensual Latin music.  You can almost smell what’s cooking, and all I could think of was what I was going to eat for dinner afterwards.  This film is more than food porn–it is a recipe for fun!

 

Posted in movie reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Replies

4 comments on ““Chef”–A Recipe for Fun

  1. John and I loved this movie! I don’t know what was more fun, the food or the music. Not much to the story but it didn’t matter. You’re right about it being pure fun!

  2. The movie, Chef, was great! I really enjoyed it. It reminded me so much of my brother-in-law, Ralph Turner, who became turned on to cooking while living in Lebanon when his father was with the United Nations and then living in Japan during the Vietnam War. He began his professional culinary career working for Leo Copper at the Shutters on Munras in Monterey, then at the Pebble Beach Lodge, restaurants in S.F., running L’ Almondine on Ocean in Carmel, and then started the All American Hot Dog Stand in Monterey on Lighthouse. Then he had his fine food restaurant, The Roost, in Carmel Valley. We all had so much fun!! Very hard work, but a blast, and for all of our kids too, who worked with him. It was a great movie! Me too. I worked for 25 years here on the Peninsula as a waitress after working in a restaurant during high school. Also, my husband had a bar restaurant with live music in El Granada on Half Moon Bay, in the late 60′s. We rolled on the floor laughing with the movie.

    • Wow, Kathleen! You should have written the review and let all of the viewers know how real the depiction is of restaurant behind-the-scenes drama!

  3. Sounds like the kind of movie I need to see! Thanks for the review. Finished watching The Escape Artist last night which wasn’t funny at all, but had that clever twist at the end. I enjoy your recommendations!

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“Snowpiercer”–Don’t Get on This Train

Snowpiercer

“Snowpiercer“(2013), directed by the Korean master Bong Joon-ho (of “Mother” fame) is a sci-fi dystopia in the year 2031, after a failed climate-change experiment seventeen years before has frozen all of Earth and wiped out all life, except for the survivors on a bullet train–Snowpiercer–  traveling across the globe in a self-contained ecosystem. The  train is class-structured with the poorest in the back suffering like slaves under grotesque conditions and the 1 % in the front with every luxury imaginable, epitomized by spa pools, floor-to-ceiling aquariums, and sushi bars.  Curtis (Chris Evans from “Captain America”), a passenger who is in the back of the train, wants social change and a wise old man named Gilliam (John Hurt) helps him.  Curtis’s  friend, Edgar (Jamie Bell),  and a mother (Octavia Spencer) of a child seized from her also are determined to change their destiny.

The scene-stealer is Tilda Swinton, virtually unrecognizable as the spokesperson for the privileged ruling class.  Every shot she is in perks up this two-hour film that, although carefully crafted and loaded with special effects, has a story that does not arc properly, dragging in plot points until another over-the-top fight scene tries to grab the audience’s attention. Swinton2

“Snowpiercer” is Korean director, Joon-ho Bong’s first English-language film with a combination of A-list Korean actors and exceptional American ones.  I am not the right demographic for this film.  It is a  thriller for the audience who loves “300″ (mainly under-30 males) with long fight scenes and special effects that chew up any story or semblance of one.  If you want to see a masterpiece by Bong, rent “Mother”and don’t get on this train.