Caught in the Act

Spectacle and Bling

By Jared Bowen

June 14, 2012


Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand in the film Rock of Ages (WarnerBros.)

Hear Jared's take in his weekly conversation with 89.7 radio host Bob Seay on Morning Edition

BOSTON — Art that can dazzle can also make us think out of the box. From sculpture to circus to really loud 80s rock, these new works give us much to consider, or at least the inspiration to think about a big hair revival.

Gary Webb: Mr. Jeans

On view at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
Through August 12

Webb creates enigmatic objects that play games with the tradition of Modernist abstraction while commenting on twenty-first century consumer culture. The riot of materials he uses in his work is matched by his exuberant use of color and the compositional complexity of his sculptures, which walk a knife-edge between order and chaos. References to Modern Masters such as Joan Miró, Anthony Caro, and Donald Judd ricochet throughout Webb’s work, which is also informed by high-end furniture design, retail display, the vulgarity of mass-produced objects and advertising, and scads of bling. Overall, Webb’s sculptures are joyful, funny, playful, bizarre, and reflect a truly unrestrained creative imagination. The exhibition’s subtitle, “Mr. Jeans” reflects the artist’s somewhat surreal sensibility.

See Jared's full review: Gary Webb: Mr. Jeans

Cirque du Soleil's Totem
Plays under the Big Top Boston's Marine Industrial Park
Through July 15

TOTEM traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, the scene illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species and explores the ties that bind Man to other creatures.

Rock of Ages
Opens in theaters Friday

Director Adam Shankman (“Hairspray”) adapts the smash hit Broadway musical for the big screen. It's the story of small town girl and city boy who meet on the Sunset Strip while pursuing their Hollywood dreams.  Their rock ‘n’ roll romance is told through the heart-pounding hits of Def Leppard, Foreigner, Journey, Poison, REO Speedwagon, Twisted Sister and more. Julianne Hough, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Akerman, R&B queen Mary J. Blige, Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise, who can sing—and wear leather well—lift up the film with incredible star power, but stick to your iTunes 80s playlist.
About the Author
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 


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