Opens tomorrow in NYC. Review coming soon.

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Opens tomorrow in NYC. Review coming soon.

Posted in Reviews: T | Leave a comment


Opens tomorrow in NYC. Review coming soon.

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Ritter“Amy” (Krysten Ritter) puts her dreams on hold so she can care for her younger siblings. But when she meets a drifter named “Sam” (Brian Geraghty), Amy wonders anew what she is meant to do with her life.

Refuge is a lovely, low-key character study which makes excellent use of its Long Island location. Directed by playwright Jessica Goldberg, who crafted the screenplay from her own play. (JLH: 4/5)

Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. Not yet seen by Rich.

Bonus: Click HERE to read an interview with Krysten Ritter by Laura Berger for Melissa Silverstein’s incomparable blog Women and Hollywood.


Photo Credits: Charlotte Jardat-Katz

Q: Does Refuge pass the Bechdel Test? DigitalStampA

“Amy” (Krysten Ritter) is definitely the central character in this film. In addition to her poignant scenes with “Sam” (Brian Geraghty), Amy has multiple interactions with both of her siblings, “Nat” (Logan Huffman) and “Lucy” (Madeleine Martin).

Lucy also has important scenes with her BFF “Molly” (Juliet Garrett), and Amy has a brief but extremely revealing encounter with her old friend “Carrie” (Helen Rogers).

Yes, without question, Refuge passes the Bechdel Test!



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NYWIFT Celebrates SWAN Day

With Joanna Lipper

With Joanna Lipper

Huge thanks to Terry Lawler & the NYWIFT Team for another fabulous SWAN Day celebration (the 7th for NYWIFT & the 2nd one for me since my move to Brooklyn in 2012).

This year’s film, The Supreme Price, is a riveting new documentary by Joanna Lipper.

The Supreme Price follows the life of Hafsat Abiola. Hafsat Abiola is the daughter of Moshood Abiola (who was elected president of Nigeria in 1993, but then imprisoned after a military coup) and Alhaja Kudirat Abiola (who was murdered during a demonstration for the release of her husband in 1996). Moshood Abiola later died under detention in 1998.

Hafsat Abiola was educated in the USA, so she has the option of living a private life. But instead of running away from her tragic family legacy, Hafsat has embraced it.

In The Supreme Price, Lipper and her camera crew follow Hafsat all around Nigeria as she organizes people—mostly women—to work for a better life for all citizens in her beleaguered homeland.

With Laura Fieber.

With Laura Fieber

Click HERE to learn more about Hafsat Abiola.

Click HERE to learn more about Joanna Lipper.

The Supreme Price will be shown all around the world this year as part of the 2014 Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

Thanks again to NYWIFT (New York Women in Film & TV) and SAG-AFTRA, as well as co-sponsors herFLIX, Women in the Arts & Media Coalition, and Women Make Movies. Last but not least, sending a huge message of appreciation to our hosts Reeves Lehman & the SVA (School of the Visual Arts) Team!


Photo from the Q&A (from left): Busayo Olupona, Joanna Lipper & Joanna Sherman. (Photo Credit: Shellen Lubin of Women in the Arts & Media Coalition)


Photos taken during SAG-AFTRA Reception

Top Photo: With Joanna Lipper (photo credit: Jessica Perry)

Middle Photo: With Laura Fieber (photo credit: Jessica Perry)

Bottom Photo: With Jessica Perry (photo credit: Laura Fieber)

NOTES: Jess Perry is FF2 Media’s current student intern. She will graduate from Columbia University in May. Brava, Jess! SWAN Day logo designed by Melissa Wilks. Brava, Melissa!! Click HERE to buy your own SWAN Stuff on Cafe Press :-)

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UES Crawl: Thanks, Nicole!


Huge thanks to Nicole Casamento for organizing an Upper East Side Gallery Crawl in honor of International SWAN Day.

We did our meet-up at the Dominique Lévy Gallery, where we saw the Germaine Richier retrospective. Then we went to Galerie Perrotin to see ceramic sculptures by Klara Kristalova. Then we popped our umbrellas up and walked a few block to Hauser & Wirth to experience the translucent work of Mira Schendel.

The group ended up at the Asia Society’s Nalini Malani installation, but alas, I had to head off after Hauser & Wirth to dash to the NYWIFT Screening at SVA (way down in Chelsea).

Follow links below for more pix from each stop:

* Klara Kristalova Exhibit at Galerie Perrotin

* Germaine Richier Retrospective at Dominique Lévy Gallery

* Mira Schendel Exhibit at Hauser & Wirth

Three women artists: Klara Kristalova, Germaine Richier, and Mira Schendel. All unique and so different from one another! Brava :-)


Top Photo: Nic Casamento at Dominique Lévy Gallery.

Bottom Photo: Robin Cembalest (the Executive Editor of ARTnews) at Hauser & Wirth.

Photo Credits: Jan Lisa Huttner (3/29/14)

Click HERE to learn more about WITASWAN/International SWAN Day.



Group photo (above) taken by one of the staff members at the Dominique Lévy Gallery :-)

Gallery Crawl Participants (From Left): Cristina Ryoo, Suzanne LaGasa, Willa Kammerer, Jan Lisa Huttner, Robin Cembalest & Nicole Casamento.

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UES Crawl: Klara Kristalova

KlaraKristalova02Second Stop on our Upper East Side “Gallery Crawl” in honor of International SWAN Day (organized by Nicole Casamento).

From Wikipedia: Klara Kristalova (born 1967) is a sculptor, who works mostly in ceramics. She plays upon the Meissen porcelain technique, working in a similar fashion but with larger figurines. She lives and works in Sweden.

Klara Kristalova has exhibited internationally in solo and group shows in London, Paris, Miami, New York, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Santa Fe as part of Museum Site Santa Fe, Stockholm at the Nationalmuseum, and Santa Barbara in the Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum.


At Galerie Perrotin

Photo Credits: Nicole Casamento & Jan Lisa Huttner (3/29/14)

From the Galerie Perrotin Website:


February 27 – April 12, 2014

There is something fascinating about circuses, not the big productions kind, but the small family type that travel around the countryside. They aren’t perfect but you get a sense that they really try; the kind of atmosphere were strange things can happen but we are still close to ordinary life. – Klara Kristalova Galerie Perrotin, New York is pleased to present “UNDERWORLD”, its first solo exhibition by Klara Kristalova in New York and the artist’s fourth solo show with Galerie Perrotin.

Klara Kristalova constructs a dark, odd, and yet familiar world. The characters that inhabit her universe are peculiar, alone, quiet, perhaps lost, as if they have just escaped from a cruel tale, waiting for a passer-by to stop and indicate the way. Made from glazed ceramics, Kristalova ‘s figures carry a raw, vulnerable, human feel to them. Drawing from Nordic storytelling and traditional myths, Kristalova manages to convey basic human emotions such as fear, love, sadness and guilt, which emerge from her work like memories from our own childhood.

For her first exhibition at Galerie Perrotin, New York, Kristalova presents a series of new characters who form an ambiguous circus cast: performing acrobats, a bird with a girl’s face, a boy with mosquito wings, a magician’s daughter. How they ended up together is for us to guess though don’t be fooled by their seemingly innocent look. As with “Double Face”, they all carry their own enigma of good and evil. Perhaps they deserve their fate; perhaps they are unaware of their own condition. Kristalova crafts their portraits at a specific moment of their mysterious lives, providing us with a few elements before the curtain
drops and the show begins, leaving us to write the rest of our their narrative.
Kristalova was born in former Czechoslovakia in 1967 and moved to Sweden with her parents when she was only a year old.

She studied at the Royal University College of Fine Art in Stockholm and lives in Norrtälje, Sweden. Recent exhibitions include the Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Sweden 2012), Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm (2012), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2011) and SITE Santa Fe, New Mexico (2009), among many others.

The exhibition “UNDERWORLD” will be on view at Galerie Perrotin, 909 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021, Monday to Saturday (10am-6pm) and will be presented at the same time as another solo exhibition by Klara Kristalova, “BIG GIRL NOW” at Lehmann Maupin, 201 Chrystie Street, New York, NY 10002, from February 27 – April 26, 2014.

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UES Crawl: Germaine Richier

GermaineRichier03First Stop on our Upper East Side “Gallery Crawl” in honor of International SWAN Day (organized by Nicole Casamento).

From Wikipedia:

Born in Grans, Germaine Richier began her studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montpellier, in the atelier of Louis-Jacques Guigues; in 1926 she went to work with Antoine Bourdelle, remaining in his studio until his death in 1929. There she became acquainted with Alberto Giacometti, although the two were never close. Richier for her part was more interested in a classical approach to sculpture, preferring to work from a live model and then reworking the final product. She also met César Baldaccini at this stage in her career. She married Otto Bänninger on 12 December 1929. In 1936, she won the Prix Blumenthal. During the war, she met Marino Marini, in exile in Switzerland.

Richier’s early work was fantastic, combining classical forms with human-animal hybrids and depicting creatures such as the spider and thehydra. Her style became less figurative after World War II; the bodily deformations which she favored as subjects were more accentuated in an attempt to convey a greater sense of anguish…

Click HERE to read Nicole Casamento’s post about Germaine Richier for Culture Grinder!


At Dominique Lévy Gallery

Top Photo: Robin Cembalest

Bottom Photo (from left): Suzanne LaGasa & Willa Kammerer

Photo Credits: Jan Lisa Huttner (3/29/14)

From the Dominque Levy Website:


 Germaine Richier

February 27 – April 12, 2014

NEW YORK, NY… Beginning February 27, 2014, Dominique Lévy and Galerie Perrotin will jointly present the first American exhibition in half a century devoted to the work of seminal postwar French artist Germaine Richier (1902 – 1959).

On view in the landmark building at 909 Madison Avenue where both galleries reside, Germaine Richier will present more than forty important sculptures ranging from early torsos and figures, to startling hybrids of humans crossed with bats, toads, spiders, and vegetal organisms, that brought the artist international recognition before her untimely death at the age of 57.  The exhibition traces the evolution of a defiantly independent vision and the artistic trajectory of a woman whose life was imprinted indelibly by two World Wars; who began her career in the studio of Antoine Bourdelle; and who went on to break convention and leave a vivid mark on the history of Modern art.

The exhibition complements Richier’s sculptures with a selection of photographs by her contemporary Brassaï, who documented the artist’s studio and captured the defying power of her work. Brassaï’s portraits of Richier convey the unique magical chaos of her environment. As depicted in these photographs, Richier surrounded herself with a wild jumble of sculptures spanning different periods of her output — a veritable sculptural forest that has inspired the installation design forGermaine Richier in New York. Visitors to the exhibition will discover there a deliberately dense, non-chronological, and eccentric installation, where sculptures and photographs overflow into the stairwells and draw visitors on a journey into the artist’s world.

Germaine Richier will remain on view through April 12th on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, in the same neighborhood where the artist’s first American solo exhibition was presented to broad critical acclaim in 1957 at the legendary Martha Jackson Gallery. The exhibition coincides with a major retrospective of Richier’s work currently on view at the Kunstmuseum Bern in Switzerland, as well as Giacometti, Marini, Richier: The Tortured Figure at Musée Cantonal des Beaux-Arts of Lausanne in Switzerland.

Germaine Richier has been organized with the support of the artist’s family. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, one of the first scholarly studies of the artist’s work ever published in the United States. Researched and edited by Jennifer Buonocore and Clara Touboul, with support from Daphné Valroff, the book will feature original essays by Sarah Wilson and Anna Swinbourne. It also will reproduce a 1953 text by André Pieyre de Mandiargues, never before translated in English, as well as important archival documents from the Germaine Richier Estate.

In addition to works coming from the Germaine Richier Estate, loans from American and European private collections will contribute to an in-depth examination of Richier’s oeuvre, which defies easy classification. Germaine Richier will explore the daring ways in which Richier’s art bridges the tradition of classical figurative sculpture with an idiosyncratic visual language born of an anguished, searching, and, ultimately, spiritual post-World War psyche.

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UES Crawl: Mira Schendel

MiraSchendel03Third Stop on our Upper East Side “Gallery Crawl” in honor of International SWAN Day (organized by Nicole Casamento).

From Wikipedia:

Mira Schendel (1919–1988) was a Brazilian artist best-known for her drawings on rice paper, but who was also a painter and sculptor…

In the early 1960s, Mira received a gift of rice paper from Mario Schenberg and in 1964 began to use this to make monotype drawings. She worked rapidly and in little over a year she had made the majority of approximately 2000 drawings. In these works she also first combined multiple languages, using words and phrases from her principle spoken languages – Italian, German and Portuguese but also adding words in French, English, Croat and Czech.

One important group of monotypes was inspired by Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Song of the Youths (1955-6), an early piece of electronic music that employed vocals drawn from the Biblical Book of Daniel. A number of these were included in the 1965 Sao Paulo Bienal.


At Hauser & Wirth

Bottom Photo (from left): Robin Cembalest & Cristina Ryoo

Photo Credit: Jan Lisa Huttner (3/29/14)

From the Hauser & Wirth Website:

Mira Schendel

4 March – 26 April 2014, Hauser & Wirth New York, 69th Street

New York, NY… Hauser & Wirth is proud to present ‘Mira Schendel’, the gallery’s debut exhibition of works by one of the most significant Latin American artists of the 20th century. Spanning two decades of the artist’s career, from the 1960s to the 1980s, works on view reveal the artistic, intellectual, and spiritual development of a woman who, with her contemporaries Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, reinvented the language of European Modernism in Brazil. Through her pensive, delicate, and breathtaking art, Schendel – painter, poet, sculptor – created a new lexicon. Her work was described by late Brazilian poet Haroldo de Campos as ‘an art of voids, where the utmost redundance begins to produce original information; an art of words and quasi-words where the graphic form veils and unveils, seals and unseals…a semiotic art of icons, indexes, symbols which print on the blank of the page their luminous foam’.

The exhibition ‘Mira Schendel’ is dedicated to the memory of Frances Dittmer.

Conceived and organized by Olivier Renaud-Clément, ‘Mira Schendel’ will remain on view at Hauser & Wirth’s East 69th Street gallery through 26 April 2014. This exhibition follows the acclaimed, first-ever international museum survey devoted to Schendel, held this past autumn at Tate Modern, London, and traveling in 2014 to the Fundação de Serralves – Museu de Arte
Contemporânea, Porto, and the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo.

Mira Schendel (1919 – 1988) was born into a Jewish family in Zürich, Switzerland. She grew up in Italy, where she was raised Roman Catholic and studied philosophy before being forced to move between Bulgaria, Austria, and Sarajevo to avoid Fascist persecution; she then emigrated to Brazil in 1949. Schendel settled in São Paulo in 1953, discovering a dynamic city in the midst of artistic and social revolution. Postwar São Paulo was a home to immigrants and a place where rapid change encouraged the development of Schendel’s ideas, proving an ideal place for her to create a unique visual language that conveys her intellectual, spiritual, and philosophical concerns.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, Schendel produced some of her most iconic work, including the widely recognized series ‘Monotipias’ (Monotypes). Astonishing in their confident spareness, her drawings on Japanese rice paper are characterized by heartbreaking delicacy. First inking a sheet of glass, Schendel used her finger to trace free-floating lines onto sheets of translucent paper. The slightly fuzzy character of her lines imbues these small works with palpable energy, as if Schendel had charged empty space with electrical wires. Among works on view in ‘Mira Schendel’ will be ‘Variantes II’ (1965), comprised of fourteen parts and developed in a way that allows the work to be viewed from both sides. Characterized by minimalist geometric motifs, delicate lines, or typeset letters, Schendel’s ‘Monotipias’ probe notions of temporality and transience.

At the 10th São Paulo Biennial, in 1969, Mira Schendel presented ‘Ondas paradas de probabilidade (Still waves of probability)’, a seminal, politically charged masterpiece of the artist’s oeuvre that will be included in the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth. In protest against Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964 – 1985), many artists chose to boycott the Biennial; however, Schendel’s controversial participation in the event reflects her own personal form of resistance, revealing her intention via a ‘visual silence.’ On the second floor of Hauser & Wirth’s townhouse, thousands of nylon threads will hang suspended from the ceiling. Extending to the floor, these delicate strands create a volumetric space at once opaque and transparent. Experimenting with ephemeral materials, Schendel became increasingly interested in transforming linguistic elements into objects and, here, presents a text from the Old Testament alongside an adjacent wall. While light filters through, Schendel’s installation dematerializes in our presence; it asserts the artist’s desire to establish a relationship between transparency, human existence, and the intangibility of God.

Throughout the 1970s, Schendel created an important series of objects crafted from clear acrylic glass. Influenced by the work of Swiss philosopher Jean Gebser, these works further explore themes of transparency, human consciousness, and spiritual awareness, and several are included in ‘Mira Schendel’. Among these are three examples from her ‘Discos’ (Discs) series, and a thirty-nine-part work from her series ‘Toquinhos’ (Little Stubs). Suspended from a nylon thread, ‘Untitled’ (1971 – 1973) from the series ‘Transformáveis’ (Transformables) is composed of small strips of transparent material hinged together to evoke the sensation of mutability and play. The work rotates in air, casting constantly changing shadows and reflections.

Between 1978 and 1980, Schendel produced a series of nocturnal landscapes in black ink and watercolor. In ‘Untitled’, from the series ‘Pequenas paisagens nocturnas do Itatiaia’, black and grey washes recall the mountainous silhouettes and plains of the region from which the work’s title takes its name – a national park that the artist loved, located between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Returning to painting in the early 1980s, Schendel created a series of works in tempera and gold leaf. To contrast the matte opacity of her monochromatic fields of color, the artist applied gold to small areas of the surface, creating luminous and reflective geometric forms. Often misinterpreted as a reference to traditional religious painting or notions of the divine, ‘Untitled’ (1985) expresses the artist’s formal concerns and desires to balance the manifestation of opacity and transparency in a luxurious saturated canvas of rouge and gold.

‘Sarrafo’ (Batten) (1987) belongs to the artist’s final complete series of works conceived during the last years of her life. Deliberate and almost forceful, a black wooden bar protrudes from a large white wooden panel and into the viewer’s space, as a response to the disordered and chaotic state of the nation of Brazil. Cerebral and poetically profound, this last series encapsulates Schendel’s desire to reach beyond the materiality of art making and invite an understanding of our experience of space, movement, and time.

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DIVERGENTMumbo Jumbo set in a dystopian future where everyone lives harmoniously in one of five “factions” (with the incredibly pretentious names Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless & Erudite), until, of course, one faction decides to change the rules for its own benefit.

Alas, all I saw was an excuse for boring, predictable onscreen mayhem. (JLH: 2/5)

Directed by Neil Burger. Screenplay by Evan Daugherty & Vanessa Taylor. Based on a series of YA novels by Veronica Roth. Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku. Not yet seen by Rich.


What do women want? Here’s a woman–namely me–who says she wants more films by women directors &/or screenwriters! Here’s a woman–namely me–who says she wants more films with female protagonists who have their own character arcs!! Here’s a woman– namely me–who says she wants more films that pass the Bechdel Test!!!

So today Hollywood releases a new film with a screenplay written by a woman (Vanessa Taylor), which stars a female protagonist (Shailene Woodley), and definitely passes the Bechdel Test (see below). Are you happy now, Jan? No?? What do women want???

It’s hard to describe how thoroughly bored I was as Divergent pushed past its first hour while I sat in my seat knowing it hadn’t even passed the middle mark yet. For the whole 139 minute runtime, I felt no physical tension or excitement. It seemed to me that everyone onscreen was just going through the motions, pretending to make an “action movie” that would placate both male and female audience members… But it was all just a ruse, a paint-by-number kit with stark black lines outlining all the plot and character details. The goal of Divergent was totally clear from the outset: punch, jab, stab, shoot and blow things up. WithChristina

While I was never athletically inclined, I was always a bit of a tomboy as a kid. I never played with dolls or fussed with clothes. When my mother took me to ballet class, I refused to take off my cowboy boots. All of my career choices lead me into professions dominated by men. From the AP class in Modern European History that I took as a high school Junior right up to today, I am never surprised to find that I am the only female in a room. And yet I always knew I was a girl and I always wanted to be a woman.

When the Shailene Woodley character leaves the “Abnegation Faction” and joins the “Dauntless Faction” (Oy! Am I really using this jargon?) she rejects all the qualities so apparent in her mother “Natalie” (Ashely Judd), the idealized Abnegation matron overflowing with womanly virtues. She shortens her name from “Beatrice” to “Tris,” and sets about proving she can be as tough as a guy.

But director Neil Burger is laughing at us. He has not only cast a soft, curvy actress as his lead, he plays up her femininity by clothing her in form-fitting outfits that show off her breasts, and he leaves her hair long, loose, and flowing. God forbid we might see Tris as too mannish or butch. No, no! And just to make sure there is absolutely no doubt about her sexuality, Burger has our Tris seductively bat her long lashes at a trainer, mentor, and Prince Charming named ”Four” (Theo James) who–unlike her–has the physique of a true action hero. (Where did he get this ridiculous name? Maybe I didn’t hear the explanation because I was asleep, or maybe its a tantalizing tidbit that will only be revealed in the final installment when it turns out there are four films in this series rather than three?)

Clearly screenwriter Vanessa Taylor has learned the lesson Hollywood is teaching women filmmakers these days: if you want to work, don’t create female protagonists who act like women. Tris can punch, jab, stab, shoot and blow things up! Wow!! A girl who can act just as stupid as a guy!!!

Now that’s what I call Equality :-(


Top Photo: “Four” (Theo James) teaches “Tris” (Shailene Woodley) how to shoot.

Middle Photo: Tris and her buddy “Christina” (Zoë Kravitz) make the leap that lands them in Dauntless.

Bottom Photo: Four teaches Tris how to throw punches.

Photo Credits: Jaap Buitendijk

Q: Does Divergent pass the Bechdel Test? With great reluctance I must affirm that it does… DigitalStampA

Tris has three sets of conversations with 3 female characters who all have names:

* her mother Natalie,

* her buddy Christina, and

* a nasty lady named “Jeanine” (played by Kate Winslet).

None of these conversations are about men.

She also has conversations in passing with other female characters like “Tori” (Maggie Q) and “Molly” (Amy Newbold). so the good news is that there are plenty of women in this dystopian world. But the bad news is that none of them are given anything interesting to do.


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