Page 6 September 6, 2018 EL SEGUNDO HERALD
A Trio of Great Books That
Examine Art in Unusual Ways
By Roz Templin, Library Assistant, El
Segundo Public Library
Our library acquires truly interesting reading
material. I would like to encourage you to
browse among our nonfiction books and you
may come across mind-blowing items like Odd
Is Art, a compendium of artworks ingeniously
made from such things as postage stamps,
coffee beans, fingernail polish and thousands
of matchsticks. Fantastical photographs adorn
the pages with descriptions of methods and
a few short essays of featured artists and
art. Not all is odd -- some are breathtaking.
There is a sculpture made from scavenged
driftwood from the coast of Florida, images
made by a flat-bed scanner that look exactly
like astrophotography, and ceramics that could
easily be mistaken for carvings made of wood.
Pieces that are wildly creative are pictured in
page after page. And there are the odd ones:
a cityscape made of Jell-O, an Etch-A-Sketch
re-creation of the classic Gone with the Wind
film poster and The Last Supper made from
laundry lint. These works are from the collection
of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! locations
throughout the world.
Nearly 300 artworks are reproduced in
Reading Art, all celebrating the image of the
reader and books. In the preface, David Trigg
notes that the book was once a revered object
that was treasured and accessible to only a
few (mostly wealthy) people. Books could
be works of art in their own right. Now with
the advent of technology, we find that books
have become part of our “throwaway society”
and are sometimes even the raw materials used
to transform them into paintings, sculptures
and installations. Trigg offers a lengthy essay
(“The Art of Reading”) preceding the colorful
plates and there are expanded descriptions of
particular artists and works like Jean-Antoine
Laurent’s painting Gutenberg, Inventor of the
Printing Press and a photograph by Andreas
Gursky that illustrates 1 million-square foot
Amazon warehouse of books. Quotes about
reading are included, which makes leafing
through even more enjoyable.
Finally, historian Nell Painter is Old in Art
School, as she recounts her experiences in
returning to school in her sixties to study art.
She finds that not only is there a wide gulf in
age between her and her much younger fellow
students, but there is a disconnect between
her opinions and those of her (younger) art
instructors. Nell struggles to let go of her own
preconceived ideas and embrace new “deconstructed”
views and methods, all the while trying
to take care of her aging parents in Oakland,
California (she is living on the East Coast).
She questions what exactly makes art art? Who
Odd is Art by Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
counts as a critic? Nell discovers that gallery
representation is required if you are counted
as “an artist.” How do you get your work in
a gallery? It must be interesting. What art is
“interesting?” It looks like art. Art is what’s
in galleries. There are laughter, tears, anger
and frustration as she recounts her pursuit of
an MFA in painting.
September is Library Card Sign-Up Month.
If you don’t have a card, come in and get one.
If you have one, come in and use it! •
Check It Out
Reading Art: Art for Book Lovers by David Trigg
Old in Art School by Neil Painter
American Animals: Achieve
Greatness, Steal a Masterpiece
the friends planning, performing and living
with the consequences of their heist. These
stylistic touches won’t be too surprising if
you’ve seen Layton’s previous work, the
critically-acclaimed documentary The Imposter,
in which the director brought the story of a
real-life identity-assuming person to the big
screen with cinematic flair.
To this end, American Animals also brings
forward larger and more conceptual ideas
that concern Layton: authenticity, deception,
perception and memory. These themes are all
explored with editing and story tricks – for
example, the real-life characters will walk into
frame as one of the background actors. Plus,
blink-and-you’ll-miss-it editing puts the viewer
into off-ground, which is a fun place to be in
the hands of Layton, who very clearly enjoys
throwing the audience off the trail.
If you’re looking for a film that will offer
some of the most visually and narratively
interesting ideas of this year, look no further
than American Animals.
116 min. American Animals is rated R for
language throughout, some drug use and brief
crude/sexual material. Available to rent on
Amazon, iTunes, and YouTube Movies.
By Ryan Rojas for www.cinemacy.com
It’s an intrinsically American thing, the feeling
of wanting to leave behind some sort of legacy
after we’re gone. To the impressionable young
person, it’s a pressure that can drive them to the
most extreme of actions. Sure, one can strive
to leave behind their own legacy through hard
work. But if one were smart enough – or just
foolish enough – couldn’t one also just steal it?
This impressionable young-person-sets-outto
steal-greatness is the story of American
Animals (now available to watch digitally and
On Demand), an enthralling and electrifying
film that derives its plot from true events. Based
on the real-life story of a group of friends
who, feeling the monotony and complacency
American Animals, Courtesy of The Orchard
of their small-town Kentucky undergraduate
lives, devise a plan to steal some of the rarest
artifacts of this country’s history. Complete
with costumes, makeup and prosthetics, the
boys -- Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan),
Warren Lipka (Evan Peters), Eric Borsuk (Jared
Abrahamson) and Chas Allen (Blake Jenner)
-- make American Animals one of the most
stylish films to come out this year.
American Animals is a unique viewing experience
for the different genres that it brings
together, which I was certainly not expecting.
It’s a devilishly fun heist movie, bringing
the most heart-pounding and suspenseful sequences
when it needs to do so. But it’s clear
that Animals writer and director Bart Layton
is interested in exploring the psychology of a
young person’s head -- specifically the question
of what would make these misguided and
impressionable people go through with a plan
like this. Think Ocean’s Eleven meets The
The stylistic hybrid filmmaking comes into
play with Layton’s inclusion of interviews
from the real-life heisters themselves. As
they comment on what was going on in their
heads, the film cuts between the narrative of
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