Enrique Martínez Celaya - KCRW

Hooray for Hollywood

Hosted by Edward Goldman • Feb. 26, 2019 

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I have no doubts that most of you, like me, spent Sunday evening glued to your TV screens, hoping and crossing your fingers that your favorite movies and actors would win Oscars. And, indeed, my two favorites – Roma by Alfonso Cuarón and Rami Malek, star of Bohemian Rhapsody – were winners.

Actually, I have been rooting for Roma since I saw it over Thanksgiving weekend, and I praised it then in Art Talk for its refined cinematography. I said that it took me 10 minutes before I realized the film was in black and white; with its hundred gradations of grey, I didn’t miss color at all. And, Rami Malek, during his acceptance speech, simply amazed me with his eloquence and humility – so rare among Hollywood stars.

And, talking about Hollywood stars… take a look at two photo portraits on our website – one, of Marilyn Monroe in 1961, and another of Audrey Hepburn in 1965. Both portraits are by famous Los Angeles photographer Douglas Kirkland, who has been capturing the glamour of Hollywood for more than 6 decades.

Last Saturday, the day before the Oscars, Douglas and his wife Francoise greeted me and participants of the Fine Art of Art Collecting Class at their home studio. Of course, his portraits of movie stars cover their walls from floor to ceiling. One gets the feeling that these famous people trusted Douglas enough to drop their façade. There are moments of intimacy between them that break the fourth wall. In this portrait of Monroe from 1961, she is posing in a bed, wrapped up in a sheet, hugging a pillow. Her beauty, magic, and vulnerability are absolutely tangible. And, Audrey, with her killer smile… in Paris in 1965 during the shooting of How to Steal a Million, absolutely on top of her game.

On Monday, the day after the Academy Awards, I stopped by Gagosian gallery in Beverly Hills to see their exhibition of the famous Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. Knowing that thousands of celebrities would descend on Los Angeles for the Awards, the gallery presents Murakami as their annual “Oscars show” for 2019.

His works are huge, shiny, and crowd-pleasing. And, very expensive. Billionaire collectors are eager to acquire his works and display them along with Jeff Koons’ shiny bubbles in their private museums. I have to admit that I was rather surprised and pleased to discover Murakami’s sense of humor in his self-portrait with his small dog, POM, displayed in a small room on the second floor of the gallery.

And, let me finish today’s Art Talk by suggesting that you visit The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, where, among its famous collection of British paintings, you will find a large portrait painted by Enrique Martínez Celaya, the well-known Los Angeles-based Cuban artist. Outside, in the garden, two bronze sculptures by Martínez Celaya grace the landscape. Hooray to Huntington for continuing to install works by contemporary artists for temporary display, which encourages a dialogue with its classic masterpieces.

Source: https://www.kcrw.com/culture/shows/art-tal...