The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 29, 1998 · Page 135
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 135

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 29, 1998
Page 135
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2J THE PALM BEACH POST SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 1998 Wood's glazes shine in iridescent hues o r U - w Juri dubonnet VIN TONIQUE All QUINQUINA frgQ ..... them through her work." Naumann said Wood never lost her wit. She addressed her disappointments in love and life with a clever reference to ceramics and the human heart: "The vessel broke and laughter poured out." Her works range from utilitarian objects, such as pots or plates, to the sculptural, such as her often humorous takes on the human figure. But her chief contribution to ceramics lies in her luster-ware glazes. Her pieces are famed for their rainbow-like colors, produced by the high-fire techniques she began perfecting in the 1950s. Critics say her luster-ware calls to mind the work of ninth-century Persia, although the subjects have a thoroughly modern attitude. The forms are sometimes clunky, or at least quirky. But like their maker, they have personality. "She glittered and glimmered," said Naumann. "Her works are as alive as she was." BEATRICE WOOD: A CENTENNIAL TRIBUTE: Features roughly 160 works by the late ceramic artist. At Palm Beach Community College's Museum of Contemporary Art, 601 Lake Ave., Lake Worth. Through May 10. Museum hours are Tuesday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m. The museum is open Friday nights until 9 p.m. Admission is $2; members free. For information, 582-0006. sketch-like drawings also captured the spirit of Dada. For example, she created a stick figure thumbing its nose at the world. "This figure probably expressed the ideology of Dada better than any other object ever made, except perhaps Duchamp's urinal," Naumann said. "She made a piece of jewelry of that figure. And there's a photograph of Beatrice making that same gesture when she was 100 years old. It was her own little symbol. She had become the personification of Dada." In 1928, Wood moved to Hollywood to be near the noted patrons of the avant garde, Walter and Louise Arensberg. She turned to pottery out of curiosity, taking an adult-education course. She sim GALERIE PERRIN 1 5-50 off Please join us in celebration of our new name with our greatest sale ever. All 1 200 original posters are included. All sales final. Through April 30th 376 S County Rd Palm Beach 56 1 833 8448 (Formerly PosterGraphics, Inc.) WOOD From 1J by a woman who didn't throw a pot until her 40s, and who was still busy making art when she reached the mere century mark. ' Like Titanic's Rose, Wood had a memorable romance or two. Her lovers included the Frenchmen Marcel Duchamp, the ironic bad boy of modern art, and Henri-Pierre Roche, author of Jules and Jim, which became a famous film "starring Jeanne Moreau (whose character might have been based on Wood). Her direct, unflappable personality and teasing wit captured feople the moment they met her. ler studio in Ojai, Calif., attracted more than 300 pilgrims a month. I South Floridians needn't travel so far. Roughly 160 ceramic works are in a Wood retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art the Palm Beach Community College museum in downtown Lake Worth. The show was organized by New York's American Craft Museum, and runs through May 10. The local museum owns 12 of Wood's pieces. The exhibition represents a "huge change in philosophy" for the museum, said director Jim Peele. "This was a chance to highlight the collection, and educate our audiences about cither works the artist has done." . Not every show will have a tie-in; to the museum, he said. In this ;case, the timing worked out. Wood's death has sparked renewed interest in her career, and the Titanic connection doesn't hurt a bit. Beatrice Wood's 1967 Ah! is among the 160 ceramic works in PBCC's exhibition. co, and was raised in wealth and Victorian propriety in New York. A rebellious flirt, she had an iffy relationship with her straitlaced mother. "Her mother wouldn't have been more pleased if she had y C ply wanted to make a teapot to match some plates she had acquired. In 1948, she moved to Ojai, where she lived until her death. Her studio became a "point of married a stockbroker. Beatrice was just exploding to get away from her conservative and wealthy family," Naumann said. (Shades of Titanic.) In 1910, at 19, Wood turned a vacation in France into a journey to independence, entering the circles of the Parisian avant garde. She studied acting at the prestigious Comedie Francaise and drawing at the Julien Academy. With the outbreak of World War I, she returned to New York, where she appeared in more than 60 plays with the French Repertory Company. In New York, she became the lover of Roche, who introduced her to his friend Duchamp. (She always denied this arrangement inspired the romantic triangle in Jules and Jim, and once called the Truffaut film "boring.") Duchamp was the puckish Frenchmen who exhibited a urinal as a work of art, and whose painting Nude Descending A Staircase interest" in the local guidebooks. It's hard to say at what point Wood became a "colorful character." Her career prospered in the '60s and 70s, but it wasn't until the '80s that museums took serious notice and reporters came knocking. In 1993, Diandra Douglas, wife of actor Michael Douglas, co-prp-duced the documentary Beatrice Wood: Mama Of Dada, which spread her reputation as a wise and unstoppable creative force with links to modern art's fabled n A ;-; While writing Titanic, Cameron was searching for a living 100-year-old woman to offer inspiration, said Francis Naumann, a Dada scholar and close friend of Wood, who curated this exhibition. "He would find people who wre 100 years old, but they were depressed or out-of-it," Naumann said. "Then he visited the actor Malcolm McDowell, who collected Beatrice's work. He complained that he couldn't find somebody wjio was lively." McDowell sent him to Wood. Cameron was smitten immediately. "He got his camera, raced back to the studio and shot four hours of film," Naumann said. mmxm mm IfMGffl J was famously described as an "explosion in a shingle factory." Duchamp had come out of the i-7rt IT4rr?! lira are The direc- beginnings. Wood often described herself as a conservative personality. Others have described her as serene, but strong-willed and highly disciplined a clock-like worker right up to her death. She was married twice, but claimed neither match was consummated. (She said the first marriage was one of convenience, a ruse to escape her mother's social demands.) Wood said she had three great loves in her life Roche, who iMlhfl IHhnftfln .rj Tif ifr sTtf an 'iiRi-w nifiTi'fii tor visited Wood several times. He once brought along actress Gloria Stuart, who played the older Rose. "Stuart was mesmerized by Beatrice, who Mm Beach Counl ggg rrKjrqyette PALM BEACH RADIWN StVEN SA tt A IIU1VI Mill Hou Antique Stuart Dada movement, whose members reacted to the horrors of World War I by declaring high art dead and nonsense supreme. Duchamp once told Wood "rules are fatal to the progress of art." She took the dictum to heart. But late in her life, she bridled at the title "Mama of Dada." Instead, she portrayed herself as an acolyte who had simply soaked up whatever wisdom the more accomplished men in her life had to offer. She once told The Washington Post: "I'd go to Duchamp's studio, and he'd put my (drawings) on the floor and say, 'Good, bad, good, good, good, bad.' The things he liked were from the unconscious. The things I liked were flowers and women and smiling children. He got me over that." Naumann said Wood embodied Dada, however. Through her drawings, photos and diary entries, she recorded all aspects of the movement for posterity. Her o - n n cheated on her; the British stage director Reginald Pole, who left her for an 18-year-old girl; and an Indian scientist whom she never identified after he married a local woman. Wood proved that a broken heart is no impediment to a long life. Love, sex and loss sometimes appear in her ceramic works. "You must remember that she was born in the 19th century," Naumann said. "She was told from childhood that the great success of her life would be marriage and children. She never attained either, but she always wanted them. And she got nUDXEDDUS 8 was at her most flirtatious that 'day, in absolutely top form," recalled Naumann, who was at the meeting. Cynics say that age always adds luster to people, even trans-forming the foibles of a stubborn little rich girl into the stuff of romance. To Wood's credit, she downplayed much of her legend. -But Naumann said she was the real deal. Wood was born in San Francis Is spending on arts too much, too little? THE AMADEUS TRIO Monday, April 6 at 8 pm In the Rinker Playhouse One of the most dynamic ensembles to emerge in recent years, The Amadeus Trio combines brilliant virtuosity and superb musicianship to create performances of transcendent beauty and drama. "Chamber musk at its best!, raved Ihe Washington Posl, while the Los Angeles Times exclaimed, "A world-class ensemble!" ... f 1 I u r in1 i Tickets $30 With support from finding dancers who were willing to work for free. Despite the obstacles, she stays in the area largely because of Klein's company and its national reputation. But she knows not all artists have that connection. "You're going to live in a place where you feel there's a catalyst for your work," she says. In Palm Beach County, such catalysts are hard to come by. And the loss of a $15,000 grant to visual artists is just the start of the problem. kinds of artists. Ray envisions a local pool of $1,000-$5,000 grants, targeted at helping artists finish projects. "It could be just enough to get the thing across the floodlights," he says, adding that the money could come from government or private sources. Actually, Anna Preston, a local dancerchoreographer affiliated with Demetrius Klein, was able to get her last production mounted for a mere $400. But that meant making the costumes herself and PASSY From I J Ray to ponder the wisdom of the county and city's gift to BRITT. I'What if it (the theater) had been minimally retrofitted for spoken word or live music and that $1 million had been put into an endowment to support new work Jhere?" : ; Similarly, Larry Corning, a culturally savvy developer who's responsible for the The Artist Colony in downtown West Palm Beach, i i i I'liti: iiiiiu 21--II questions the $500,000 the county 1 'l.'(lt; spends each year on a film com mission. "If you gave ten $50,000 THE CHOIR OF WALES-DUNVANT MALE CHOIR Tuesday, April 7 at 1 1 am and 2 pm la Dreyfoos Hall A world-renowned ensemble of nearly 100 choristers, the Dunvant Mole Choir began its life in a non-conformist chapel in Wales in 1 895. The choir's extensive repertoire spans over 150 selections, ranging from great Welsh hymns and songs to Andrew Uoyd Webber's Broadway hits. Tickets $15 grants to local filmmakers, you iiiiiiihlll could build a film industry faster than they re accomplishing, he says. .j V 04; :X :i wmm . . Both men s propositions are somewhat shortsighted. Ray's i4, suggestion sounds smart only in light of BRITT's failure. (And myit where was Ray when that $1 mil lipn gift was being proposed?) Cor O' ft ning s idea ignores the real and valuable work of the film commission to lure non-film projects (te. television commercials) to the county. And a $50,000 grant is overly generous, even by the stan dards of major foundations that BRAZIL'S BALE FOLCLORICO da BAIIIA Wednesday, April 8 at 8 pm Dreyfoos Hot With its cornivol dances and rhythmic sambo, this exhilarating, uniquely Brazilian group has achieved international success. The 30-member troupe of dancers, muskions, and singers perform a repertory based on the troditionol 'Bahion folkloric donees tailored to fit a contemporary theotricol vision. The Hew York Times proclaims it "exuberant, indefatigable ond virtuosk!" Contains partid nudity. support artists. :; But to go back to the consortium's argument, the point is tu've got to start somewhere only that somewhere has to mean more money supporting more 1 m m Ticket! $20-$35 Sp,mrel by If Place your results-getting Pilm Beach Post ad today. Call 820-4300. I 'I IK L

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