How to Draw a Bunny is a terrific documentary about the life of Ray Johnson, “the most famous unknown artist” according to the film. Johnson became an underground icon in the New York art scene of the 1960s. He began as an abstract painter but moved to collages, sending them through the mail to friends and strangers. Johnson was a close friend of many famous artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, possibly inspiring some of Warhol’s work. Johnson’s life was art, a great, mysterious piece of art. Even his death is often speculated to have been a “last performance.” While the film cannot put together the puzzle that is Ray Johnson, it does shed some light on a great artist who, in life, did not gain the same measure of notoriety as his peers. I did not know who Ray Johnson was until I watched this film, and since then I haven’t stopped looking.
Costumes, props, and stage scenery make theater come alive, providing character detail and environment. The plays of Shakespeare have been internationally produced for centuries and no two performances are ever alike!
Designing Shakespeare was developed to allow for comparisons between productions. Through this audio-visual database, you can view several productions of the same play, by the same director, or by the same theater company.
Similarly, The Cleveland Press Shakespeare Photographs from the Cleveland State University Library is a collection of photographs from Shakespeare productions not only on stage, but also film, television, opera and ballet. The portraits of the actors in character make this an excellent database for costume design. Search by title for your favorite play!
Not only is this a beautifully produced and lavishly illustrated book: its subject, Hugh J. Ward, is a UArts alumnus who attended the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art (today’s UArts College of Art and Design) from 1927-1930. The author, David Saunders, made extensive use of the University of the Arts archives, including a visit to look at the materials himself.
Following his work as a cartoonist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ward made his mark as an illustrator of pulp magazines and fiction. In addition to work for magazines such as Super-Detective, Spicy-Adventure Stories, Mystery Adventures (“Exotic – Peppy- Exciting”), Spicy Western Stories, and Spicy Mystery Stories, all of which usually featured scantily-clad damsels in distress, Ward illustrated The Lone Ranger and Green Hornet comic books, and created the first full-color image of Superman for the radio show, The Adventures of Superman (see pp. 159-165). Library Journal says that’ “Saunders’s gangbusters volume will knock the socks off pulp-art fans.”
The latest installment of Chris Ware’s Rusty Brown storyline, The Acme Novelty Library #20 focuses on the supporting character of Jordan Lint, a bully in Rusty’s school. Ware shows us Lint’s entire life, each year represented by a page in the book. Details and events are often hidden in the course of the story, only for them to arise and resonate in the characters’ lives later on. As always, Ware is a virtuoso at design and expression, and in this volume we see him experimenting and expanding his visual capabilities. In the end, he creates some sympathy for the bully, but is not afraid to show Lint’s deep and tragic flaws.
Filmmaker Carl Dreyer tells the epic story of Joan of Arc’s imprisonment and trial in unmatched cinematic beauty. Full of asymmetry and slants, lights and shadows, and close-up stills and off-center movements, lead actress Renée Falconetti gives a flawless, silent performance accompanied only by composer Richard Einhorn’s Voices of Light, an oratorio. This is a must-see silent film that captures, as Dreyer himself notes, “realized mysticism.”