hollywood glamour

It’s a Sheila Guyse Weekend for Me!

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A smile that could light up any screen

A couple of weeks ago, I threw myself into a Lena Horne movie marathon. I love watching old black-and-white movies because beauty, style and class are always worth watching.

A few years ago, I watched the movie, “Boy What a Girl! and I was captivated by one of the actresses. The actress that really lit up the screen was Sheila Guyse. She played Francine, one of the two daughters of the wealthy Mr. Cummings. She was a gorgeous and talented actress – it’s a shame that she isn’t well known today.

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Guyse as Francine Cummings, with Alan Jackson as Mr. Cummings

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Another photo of Guyse, this time with Betti Mays who played her sister, Cristola Cummings

In honor of Sheila Guyse’s birthday (July 14th) I’m watching three of her movies this weekend. Luckily for us, all of these movies are available on Archive.org and YouTube, so you can enjoy them for free.

A radiant Guyse in Sepia Cinderella

Boy What a Girl was my introduction to Guyse, but I’ve never seen the other two movies on the roster, Sepia Cinderella and Miracle in Harlem. I’ve added some stills from each of the movies, so you can see why she was a sought-after actress during her career.

Serving smoldering side eye in Miracle in Harlem

These movies are not only a tribute to Guyse, but a way for me to celebrate the book that I just finished! I’ll be back with fitness challenge updates tomorrow. Talk to you all soon!

 

Ending this post with a wink and smile (from Boy What a Girl)

art

Howardena Pindell – A Lifetime of Creation

A few weeks ago, I attended a lecture on contemporary abstract artist Howardena Pindell. Pindell’s video, Free, White and 21, was my introduction to her work. I saw the video as part of my online art course through Coursera. I found the video fascinating and have always been curious about the woman behind it.

Pindell’s work will be making a stop at Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA) in August 2018. The work is part of her “What Remains to Be Seen” tour, an exhibit reflecting upon Pindell’s 50+ year career. Artists like Pindell, Betye Saar, Lorraine O’Grady and Senga Nengudi inspire me for their daring and provocative work and their insistence upon carving a space for Black, avant garde conceptual artists. Pindell’s work is thought provoking and highly detailed: it features a great deal of precision, texture and movement, all of which enhance the viewer experience. I’m looking forward to experiencing her art when it comes to VMFA!

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(photo courtesy of Nathan Keay, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago)

 

You can watch Pindell’s stirring reflections in Free, White and 21 here (or you can just click the play button below):

 

art · life curation

Edmonia Lewis’s Work at the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum

Happy Friday, friends! We made it through another week – hurrah!

Earlier this week – before the Mid-Atlantic region got hit with another round of snow – I stopped by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). Visits to the museum are good for my soul, and, since most schools are still in session, I don’t have to navigate around a lot of tourists. I can usually get to the museum, tour to my heart’s content, and return to my desk in under an hour. Sometimes I really love working in DC!

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Anyways, I recently went to SAAM for a very specific reason. I had researched Edmonia Lewis’s existing artwork and confirmed that one of her most famous pieces, The Death of Cleopatra, was located at SAAM. After learning that it was currently on view, I knew that I had to go and see it for myself.

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Photo of Edmonia Lewis (as shown on SAAM’s website)

I talked about Lewis when I wrote about my current favorite app. In that same post, I referenced an Art History Babes podcast episode that discussed Lewis’s life. I saw a few of her works on Google Arts & Culture but viewing art in person is so much more enjoyable. The surprise for me was that several of Lewis’s pieces were on view, so I took lots of pictures during this visit.

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Here is The Death of Cleopatra. This depicts Cleopatra seated on her throne, life slowly slipping away after being bitten by a poisonous snake. She’s dignified even in death, wearing her crown and full regal attire.

 

She’s substantial and powerful, and has chosen to die on the throne that she worked so hard to preserve. It’s a moving piece and a fine example of Lewis’s marble sculpting prowess.

 

A close up of the throne detailing and Cleopatra’s lifeless hand.

Lewis also sculpted Moses, a replica of the statue of Moses rendered by Michaelangelo (the original is at St. Peter’s in Rome). The original is much larger than Lewis’s version, but the resemblance is uncanny. Lewis skillfully imitated the works of great masters.

 

I wish I could have gotten some better photos, but it’s in a case so the reflection off the glass makes it hard to capture the detailing.

This whimsical statue is Poor Cupid, depicting the god of love caught in a trap. Cupid’s “aww shucks” expression made me chuckle.

 

 

As always, I enjoyed my trip to SAAM. There are a few other pieces by Edmonia Lewis on display: I may do a follow-up post about those works. In any case, I hope you enjoyed this post! This weekend, see if you can spend a little time at your local museum. You’ll be glad that you did. Until tomorrow . . .

art · life curation

Art Synchronicities

 

When I went to the National Portrait Gallery to view the Marlene Dietrich exhibit (you can read all about it here), I got a bit of a surprise. While walking around and trying to find Marlene, I came across a painting that stopped me in my tracks. You can see the painting below:

This painting is the very same one that was my most likely doppelganger, per the Google Arts & Culture app (you know, that app that I wrote about a while ago). Of course, on the app, the painting is listed as being at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. However, it is currently at the National Portrait Gallery, as part of The Sweat of Their Face: Portraying American Workers exhibit. I’m pretty sure that the painting will return to the High Museum in September, when the exhibit draws to a close.

I examined the painting and found myself smiling. The vivid colors can’t be captured via camera: it must be experienced in person. The focused gaze, the high cheekbones, and the richly hued skin did, oddly enough, remind me of myself. Of all of the paintings to make it to this exhibit, this one made the cut. And of all of the museums I could visit in DC (and there are PLENTY), I ended up at the National Portrait Gallery. And this painting had an entire wall to itself, so I couldn’t miss it as I walked to the Dietrich exhibit. I figure it was meant for me to see it. Oh yes, and here is the photo that convinced Google Arts & Culture that I am Alma’s incarnate:

I’m delighted that I got to see this painting: as always, art is best experienced in person. This is one of several portraits depicting the working class in the first half of the 20th century. I encourage you all to go and experience the exhibit for yourself, if you have the chance!