Arts in the News: Wonder Woman, Gallows Exhibit, Professional Ballet Dancer Saves Man on Subway Tracks and more
American Painter Inspired Wonder Woman Film’s Aesthetic
Matt Jensen, director of photography for the new “Wonder Woman” film, says that the blockbuster owes a lot to American painter John Singer Sargent. Sargent, who died almost a hundred years ago, had a signature palette of deep neutrals and vivid accents that inspired the use of color in the movie: “I think a key thing for us was we wanted rich blacks, beautiful portraiture on the faces, and when we did see color–because he tended to not use a lot of color–it was vibrant,” explains Jensen. Sargent painted both elites in pristine settings as well as soldiers in grittier scenes of war–subject matter that easily translated to “Wonder Woman,” set during World War I. Paintings like “A Portrait of Madame X” and “Gassed” make it easy to see how Sargent’s gloomy-yet-gleaming palette inspired the lighting style of the new hit film. Always fun to see old and new art collide!
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has dismantled and removed a two-story structure entitled “Scaffold” by artist Sam Durant following protests by local Native Americans. The piece, made of wood and steel, was created in 2012 and combines design elements from seven historical U.S. gallows, including the one used for a mass execution of 38 Dakota men in Mankato, Minnesota in 1862–the largest execution in the nation’s history. Though the Walker museum originally intended to install the piece permanently in its renovated outdoor sculpture garden, backlash from Native American groups, who called the piece insensitive, led to its removal and the issuing of an apology not only from the museum but the artist himself. Durant has officially transferred the intellectual property rights of his sculpture to the Dakotas, who will decide what to do with the fragments. “I regret the pain that this artwork has brought to the Dakota community and others,” announced Walker executive director Olga Visa, who admitted that the removal of the sculpture “is the first step in a long process of healing.” Originally hoping that the piece would lead to more discussion around capital punishment and violence, Viso now regrets not involving Dakota and other Native communities in the decision to acquire the work. Hopefully, this incident will encourage other museums and artists to be more careful when dealing with sensitive subject matters and marginalized communities.