There has been a lot of speculation lately about a COVID-19 related baby boom. While the world will have to wait and see if that happens, with the number of celebrities pregnant right now, it certainly looks like classrooms will be a little extra crowded in the coming years. Whether this is related to lock-down or not, here are a few of them that are either pregnant, or have recently become parents.
Bindi Irwin, the daughter of the late Steve Irwin, is expecting her first child. Irwin and her husband Chandler Powell announced via instagram in August, with a picture of the two holding a baby-sized Australia Zoo uniform shirt, with a caption reading “Baby Wildlife Warrior due 2021.”
Mandy Moore, famous for “Tangled” and “This Is Us” is pregnant with her first child. She and her husband, singer Taylor Goldsmith, are expecting a boy early next year.
Nathan Kress, known for “iCarly,” is expecting his second child with wife London Kress. The two also have a daughter, Rosie, who will turn three in December.
Reality-TV stars Jinger Duggar Vuolo and sister-in-law Kendra Duggar are both pregnant. Kendra, 22, is expecting her third child, and Jinger, 26, is expecting her second. Vuolo is due this November, and Duggar is due in February.
Emma Roberts, known for “American Horror Story” is expecting her first child, with boyfriend Garrett Hedlund. Rachel McAdams, famous for the 2004 classic teen movie “Mean Girls,” is pregnant with her second child with partner Jamie Linden.
Model Gigi Hadid and singer Zayn Malik welcomed their daughter in September. In August, Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom announced the birth of their daughter, Daisy Dove Bloom.
It definitely seems like there will be a lot of new babies next year! It is nice to know that even when it seems like the world is ending, people are still getting married, having babies, and living their lives to the best of their abilities, even if it looks a little different right now.
Deaccession is a highly controversial concept throughout the art world and has been the subject of a fair amount of scrutiny in recent years. What art to sell is a particularly difficult subject, as everyone has a different idea of what is important enough to stay in a museum. Several museums have been under scrutiny in the past few weeks for their deaccession decisions.
There are three schools of thought when it comes to deaccession. According to the journal, The Museum Scholar, conservatives believe that art should never be removed from a museum’s collection because this would violate the public’s trust. Moderates acknowledge that deaccession has some value but fully believe that the money gained from sales should only go to buying more art. Finally, the liberal point of view believes that museums should be able to sell art as they see fit, with no regulations or stipulations.
While many museums have taken part in deaccession over the years, there has been an uptick recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has swept the globe. Museums that rely heavily on revenue from gallery visitors have lost an incredible amount of money due to quarantine rules and regulations and must find a way to care for their collections.
CNBC reports that The Metropolitan Museum of Art has projected that it will lose $150 million in revenue through June 2021, and popular museums in places like Vienna and Amsterdam are losing anywhere from $168,700 to $1,012,000 per week.
Museums cannot simply sell art whenever they wish to, as there are guidelines put in place by the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD). Normally, works sold are second tier or simply redundant and do not serve the museum’s interests anymore. Recently, AAMD has relaxed many of its rules surrounding deaccession in an effort to help with the strain many museums are under currently. Many leaders from the organization still continue to assert that deaccessioning is unethical and museums should think extremely carefully before doing it.
Recently, two museums gained a lot of attention for their deaccession plans. The Brooklyn Museum plans to sell $40 million worth of art to care for their collection, and according to Art News, the Baltimore Museum has aimed even higher, releasing its plan to sell $65 million worth of art. The Brooklyn Museum of Art’s sales have gone fairly smoothly and have made little waves, however the decision of the Baltimore Museum of Art to sell some rare and important works –such as an Andy Warhol piece– has caused controversy.
Arnold Lehman, the former director of the Baltimore (1979-97) and Brooklyn Museums (1997-2015) told the New York Times “I’m not at all opposed to deaccessioning, but Baltimore was selling masterpieces.” It must be noted, however, that the reason the museum decided to sell these works is less callous than some critics make it out to be.
According to The New York Times, the museum has been trying to focus on helping and supporting the community as much as it can, even before the pandemic came to the United States. Christopher Bedford, the current director of the museum, intended to use the money from the sales to acquire works from more underrepresented creators, to make a collection care endowment that would give the museum $2.5 million for pay raises for staff, and to focus on several other “equity-oriented measures.”
While the intentions of those at the Baltimore Museum may have been altruistic, deaccession will always leave many unhappy and critical. Controversies surrounding deaccession have been going on since at least the 1960’s according to Art News and the pandemic has only brought the issue more attention.
On Thursday Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. via Zoom, Cory Gundlach delivered a Boyden Gallery Lecture on authenticity and African art. He also answered questions from students in the Art History 440 class. This class has been working for a number of weeks with large sculptures. They are learning about curatorial practice, according to Erin Peters, the Director of the Boyden Gallery at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM).
Cory Gundlach is the Curator of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art. He has a PhD in art history specializing in African art from University of Iowa and has done research in Burkina Faso, West Africa.
Gundlach’s lecture on authenticity in African art began with discussions of the first U.S. exhibits of African art. He stated that these exhibits were lacking context and were not respectful to Africa at all. Among the earliest recognized African art were Bamana headdresses. These were often worn during performances or rituals.
Gundlach discussed how African art was often categorized as the work of tribes. However, important historical figures such as Leo Frabenius and Franz Boas were among the first to view African art as being made by individual creative artists. Boas refuted the hierarchy of cultural differences that placed Western art at the top. Even today, there is a lot of emphasis on the exhibition history of a piece of African art to determine authenticity. This is because prestige in African art has historically been associated with the ways that the objects have been used in the Western world.
An interesting idea discussed in the lecture had to do with the meaning of originality. Many pieces of African art were made for a marketplace. Gundlach showed examples of two masks that were created in the same style before and after advice was given to the artists. Despite the fact that they were made in two different contexts, one is not more authentic than the other. Furthermore, artists throughout history have made copies of other works but that is not a reason to dismiss its authenticity.
A man named William Butler Fagg was an accomplished scholar in this field, however he had unusual ideas about purity and he believed there was a decline in African art due to Europeans. However, as Gundlach said in the lecture, just because something was made in a different context does not mean that the artistry is inferior or cannot be appreciated.
Gundlach himself has been to Africa and spoken with many artists there. They primarily make art for locals, either for religious purposes, to be placed on shrines or they work with objects for healing purposes. The artists are perfectly happy to create objects to sell to tourists and other people in Africa. In Gundlach’s experience, African artists are creative and make beautiful art either way.
Towards the end of the lecture, Gundlach shared a photo of a mysterious object that he took to a radiology lab at the University of Iowa to see what was inside of it. While his original intention had been to share the results of that CT scan, at the same time he wanted to respect the secrecy of the elements included in objects such as those, and therefore decided to withhold those images.
As Gundlach says, it is important to think about the political and racial inequalities that belong to the birth and development of African art. The majority of objects that have passed through European hands have not been documented well and there is a huge void of information.
With two albums in the past two years, Ariana Grande is no stranger to releasing music in quick succession. However, she still managed to surprise the world when it was announced that she would release her sixth album titled “Positions”on Friday, Oct. 30. The singer tweeted on Oct. 14 “i can’t wait to give u my album this month,” promptly sending fans into a tailspin of excitement and disbelief.
The album did not disappoint fans or critics. Social media exploded with people discussing how mature and sexual Grande’s new album was. NPR’s Latasha Harris calls “Positions” Grande’s “most explicit to date”, noting that it certainly has a much more mature sound with some surprisingly distinct R&B themes running throughout the album.
In regards to the sound of “Position,” Grande utilizes her amazing vocals constantly. The track “My Hair” showcases her incredible vocal range, with The Los Angeles Times comparing her whistle tones in the song to Mariah Carey. “Positions,” the first single of the album, has already had extensive radio play.
“Positions” definitely does not hold back in regards to sex. In fact, Grande makes it clear she has been enjoying the intimacy and privacy quarantine has provided quite a lot. References to this can be found in songs like “West Side” where the singer quips “We got all we need right here.”
Most of the songs, while extremely sexual, revolve around a monogamous relationship and the fun a couple is having together. For instance, in “Six Thirty” Grande describes home as a place for her and her significant other to relax and play video games until 2 a.m.
This album is not for the singer’s younger fans at all. Each song is more mature than the last both in regards to content and language, with nine of the 14 tracks being marked as explicit. In a more humorous turn, the album even features some fun and very suggestive titles such as “34+35.”
There are several collaborations between Grande and other artists on the album. “Motive,” the third song on “Positions,” features the first collaboration between Doja Cat and Grande. The song “off the table,” which details a couple debating whether to become serious in their relationship, features The Weeknd. For the seventh track of the album Grande recruits Ty Dolla $ign, who proudly described their song together as “a melodic and amazing tune” in a recent interview.
Grande’s “Positions” is one of her best albums yet. She seems to have found her true sound after several years of being stuck in the bubblegum pop genre. Not only does she let her amazing voice reach new heights, but she allowed herself to experiment with new sounds and artists, which resulted in a fun and sultry album that can not easily be forgotten.
The St. Mary’s Triangle and Rainbow Society (STARS) presented four showings of the 1975 musical comedy The Rocky Horror Picture Show in Cole Cinema during the Halloween weekend. The shows, which featured live performances and free snacks, occurred at 8:30pm and 12am on Oct. 30 and 31, respectively. In order to follow COVID-19 protocols, 30 people were allowed in the theater at one time, and seats were properly distanced. The staff also handed out individually-wrapped snacks with gloves to ensure all students’ safety.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which was based upon a 1973 musical production, was considered to be one of the most progressive films of the 1970s. Written to be a tribute to science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930s, it is centered around a young couple, Brad and Janet, whose visit to their former science teacher is cut short by a terrible storm and a flat tire. Seeking shelter and a telephone, the two come across a mysterious castle containing all sorts of strangely dressed people whom Brad judges to be “party guests”. Later, though, they discover the castle is run by a transvestite alien named Dr. Frank N. Furter, a mad scientist who is creating a muscle man named Rocky in his laboratory. Later, Frank N. Furter seduces both Brad and Janet separately, causing chaos to ensue.
When the movie was first released, it received bad reviews from critics for its unusual content. However, it became a well-known midnight movie in the years following and audience members began dressing as characters in the film. Eventually, audience participation became a vital part of every showing, as the production began incorporating a “shadow cast” that lip-synced along to the characters and performed along with the movie. The audience members are expected to participate as well, reacting to certain scenes by shouting at the characters, wearing newspapers over their heads, and dancing the “Time Warp”. Rocky Horror’s cult following continues to grow, and forty-five years after the first showing, it is the longest-running theatrical release in film history. It is often shown on or near Halloween at the stroke of midnight, and those who are “virgins”(those who have never seen the show before) are often made to undergo an “initiation”.
According to STARS president Calvin Ryan, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has several themes relevant to the LGBTQ+ community, including sexual liberation and “embracing one’s queerness and individuality”. While Frank N. Furter is the villain of the film, the fact that it featured him as an openly queer main character was quite progressive for its time. The midnight showings became popular among the LGBTQ+ community of the 1970s and 80s, as lines of oddly-dressed people outside theaters every Saturday night attracted much attention. The film, though outdated in some ways, is still important to LGBTQ+ individuals today. SMCM’s production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show was unique in several ways, as it had to take into account COVID-19 guidelines and social distancing requirements. Because of this, seats in the Cole Cinema were taped off, replaced by balloons which featured the characters’ faces. Additionally, the showing did not feature a live cast, but still encouraged audience participation. Before the showing, Rainbow Room staff held a series of contests – from a “mask on” lip syncing battle to songs such as I Want it That Way and Uptown Funk, to a competition wherein audience members who called someone and confessed their love in front of everyone received prizes. Despite restrictions, the STARS club was able to bring The Rocky Horror Picture Show to life, COVID-style.
Simone Leigh, a sculptor from Chicago, will be the first Black woman to represent the U.S. at the 59th Venice Biennale in April of 2022. This event is often viewed as the most prestigious exhibition in the art world.
Leigh is known for her larger-than-life sculptures celebrating strong Black femininity. Her work contains “multilayered references to African traditions, feminism, ethnographic research, post-colonial theory and racial politics,” according to the New York Times. She currently works from her studio in Brooklyn.
Leigh received a bachelor’s degree in fine art from Earlham College, a liberal arts college in Indiana. She once spent a semester interning at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. This experience “spurred a lifelong interest in African motifs” and the history of objects associated with the African diaspora, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
One of Leigh’s most famous works, “Brick House,” is featured on The High Line in New York City, an elevated public park that runs through Manhattan. The piece is a 16-foot-tall bronze sculpture of a Black woman with detailed braids framing her face and a skirt resembling a house. Her chin is tilted to the sky as she looks onward.
According to the High Line website, the title Brick House “comes from the term for a strong Black woman who stands with the strength, endurance, and integrity of a house made of bricks.” Cecelia Alemani, the director and chief curator of High Line Art, described it as “an icon,” “a goddess,” and a “powerful feminine presence in a very masculine environment,” due to how the surroundings are dominated by towering skyscrapers and cranes.
Leigh stated in an interview with the New York Times that people in ceramics told her “there was no way [she] would ever be included in the contemporary art space.” Now, her art is finally getting the recognition it deserves. She has received many awards, such as the 2018 Hugo Boss Prize. Along with $100,000, this award also came with a show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. According to artpapers.org, Leigh’s exhibition, “Loophole of Retreat,” “places Black women at the center to explore narratives centered not in trauma but in the defiantly autonomous acts that often follow it.” She drew a lot of inspiration from the work of Harriet Jacobs, a formerly enslaved abolitionist and writer. The title of the exhibition comes from a chapter in Jacob’s narrative “Life of a Slave Girl”called “The Loophole of Retreat,” referring to the tiny crawl space where Jacobs hid for seven years to escape her master.
While Leigh has often thought of her work as autoethnographic, she also said in a video for Guggenheim Museum that there are “moments where you have to explore fiction and narrative in order to connect the dots when there’s been so much left out of the archive.” She will be creating a new series of work for the Venice Biennale and has yet to provide many details about these projects since they are subject to change.
In the meantime, one can spend hours admiring her past work which continues to celebrate “the self-determinate actions of Black women across decades and across the diaspora,” as Leigh stated in a video for the Guggenheim Museum.
Halloween has come and gone quicker than ever before. As the pandemic continues to persist, it is in no way appropriate to celebrate in any sort of traditional gathering that we might be used to participating in every year. However, some fun ways that people can still get in the spooky spirit is by listening to music and watching movies and TV in the theme of the spooky celebration or the autumnal season. Compiled below are some recommendations for media perfect for this time of year to consume with your roommates or family.
Everyone knows the classic Halloween songs played on the radio or at parties, like Michael Jackson’s Thriller, The Monster Mash, the Ghostbusters theme, as well as many others. However, these songs are sometimes a bit overplayed and not the most enjoyable to listen to while casually getting into the Halloween spirit.
Below are fifteen songs, varied across genres, and fairly recent in release, all highly recommended for helping you to successfully get into the Halloween spirit despite everything this year. 1. Creep by TLC (1994), R&B/Soul. Released on Halloween in 1994 by the iconic girl group, the groovy beats, and overall texture of the song bring a soul sound to the holiday of the year whose brand is the definition of the title of this track. 2. Supermassive Black Hole by Muse (2006), Alternative Funk-Rock. This song might be recognized by those who have seen the 2008 film, Twilight, and its just as iconic (if not more) baseball scene. The entire album from this movie could have also made this list, as each track just as this one brings that mysterious and moody Halloween eeriness. 3. Heads Will Roll – A-Track Remix by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, A-Track (2009), Synth-Pop. For the more hyped-up side of Halloween music, perfect for a high-energy dance moment to have with your roommates when celebrating safely this October 31. 4. Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac (1976), Rock. One of the epochal band’s (which recently fluttered back to the tops of the Billboard Top 100 Chart) classic hits. According to ET, during Fleetwood Mac concerts Stevie Nicks “would introduce “Rhiannon” by saying, “This is a song about a witch.” and “an enormous yellow moon would appear as the backdrop.” How fitting that this Halloween there is a Blue Moon. 5. Babylon by SZA, Kendrick Lamar (2014), Alternative R&B/neo-soul. An absolute masterpiece. This track has a combination of a dreamy but edgy sound, resulting in a beautifully eerie addition to your Halloween playlist. 6. Toxic by Britney Spears (2004), Dance-pop. A total throwback from the early 2000s, which is the decade that happens to be currently trending again in fashion and culture. Toxic’s recognizable high-pitch Bollywood strings evoke the vibrations of one of the many facets of Halloween. 7. Seven Devils by Florence + The Machine (2011), Baroque-Pop. A wholly eldritch ballad, dramatic and breathy as every treasure sung by Welch is, however, this track brings the full-sized candy bars to the table this All Hallow’s Eve with its particularly ghoulish pulchritude. 8. Out of Body by Gorillaz, Kilo Kish, Zebra Katz (2017), Contemporary R&B. A quintessential Halloween party for the ears as well as an eccentric and jocular dance track. 9. In The Woods Somewhere by Hozier (2014), Blues/Indie-Folk. A melancholy and mournful but simultaneously invigorating piece, capable of bringing October 31 at dusk to the forefront of the mind with an instant play. 10. Monster by Lady Gaga (2009), Europop. This song is included, not only because it is about a monster which is very Halloween-esque, but also mainly because the beginning of the song was a trending TikTok sound this year, which makes it relevant to put on this list of songs to be listening to this year’s Halloween season. 11. Haunted by Taylor Swift (2010), Country. Arguably one of the most dramatic and emo-resounding songs in Swift’s entire discography. The breakup ballad is cathartically energetic, full of vexation and indignation, leaving one truly haunted by the soul-stirring vitality of the stinging saga. 12. Dracula’s Wedding by OutKast, Kelis (2003), Hip-Hop/Rap. Freaky and fun. It is a groovy number and an utterly copacetic one at that. 13. O Children by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (2004), Alternative Rock. You might recognize this song from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I. No explanations here, in recent years, the book and film series have helped define what Halloween is in a modern interpretation. 14. Highway to Hell by ACDC (1979), Rock. For some, the underworld might be the last place they would like to end up, for others, it is the first. Halloween is not everyone’s favorite holiday either. And not everyone loves this song too, but here we are. 15. Widow’s Peak by Odetta Hartman (2018), Country. Ominous and chilling, this tune brings both resplendence and nightmares, a suitable final track to end your Halloween night. Bonus! Two (of many) albums that just “feel like fall” to check out: Queens of the Breakers by the Barr Brothers and folklore by Taylor Swift.
T.V. Shows to help you get excited for the fall season and in the Halloween spirit:
1. Gilmore Girls (Netflix) One of the most fall-feeling, if not the most, show of all time. Just watch the intro theme. No more explanations. 2. Halloween Baking Championship (Hulu) Who does not love to distract themselves by watching people try to bake the impossible in a timely manner? Oh, and it’s Halloween-themed? Duh. 3. Stranger Things (Netflix) A creepy cult classic. If you have not seen it yet, it would be an excellent choice to binge-watch this Halloween Saturday night. 4. The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix) New as of this year, and currently trending on Netflix! 5. Wizards of Waverly Place (Disney+) A show that many of us grew up watching in our formative years, so if you are feeling like regressing a bit this Halloween, this would be perfect for you! 6. Exclusively the Thanksgiving episodes of Gossip Girl (Netflix) Each of the Thanksgiving-themed episodes serves up more than turkey and stuffing with sides of iconic 00’s fashion and of course major drama. By the way, the episodes are: S1E9, S2E11, S3E11, S4E10, and S6E8. 7. American Horror Story (Netflix) Another cult classic to rewatch or watch for the first time! 8. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix) Debuting in 2018, catch up on the three seasons with a friend this Halloween. 9. The Twilight Zone (Hulu) If you are looking for an older T.V. show to check out, TTZ is a perfect fit for you. 10. Finally, both Netflix and Hulu have good Halloween selections, in fact, Hulu has their own “Huluween” section with all kinds of T.V. and movie options.
Aside from the horror and mystery genres, some specifically Halloween movies to get you in the spirit are the Halloweentown Series, Twitches Series, Hocus Pocus, and The Nightmare Before Christmas (all available on Disney+). Finally, some movies that put you in the Halloween spirit but are not directly related to Halloween or the horror or mystery genre are Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the first Twilight film (Both available for rental or purchase on some streaming platforms, but maybe you have an old DVD copy at home!) And as always, make sure to consume your media critically. The films above are beloved movies that our generation grew up with as kids that can bring the nostalgia of one’s younger years, but the creators have been found to be problematic in recent years.
Although this Halloween is most likely definitely going to be much different than any Halloween experienced before, music and movies are just one way we can celebrate safely this year. It is vital that people stay considerate of others and take care of communities by choosing to stay home and stay safe. Consider and enjoy some of these options that have been provided.
A TikTok video from a user named Nathan Apodaca from Idaho (also known by the username @420doggface208) posted on Sept. 25 shows Apodaca cruising down the side of the road on his skateboard carefreely drinking straight from a large bottle of Ocean Spray cranberry juice while singing along to the iconic Fleetwood Mac track, “Dreams.” The video instantly went viral and is currently sitting at 66.8 million views and 11.1 million likes. The virality of the video caused others to imitate the video and create their own by grabbing their skateboard and juice while drifting along to the song. This included celebrities like celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey, singer Shakira, T.V. personality Dr. Phil, fashion influencer Kiel James Patrick, comedy duo Cheech and Chong, as well as the CEO of Ocean Spray, Tom Hayes, and Fleetwood Mac current and former members Mick Fleetwood, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham.
Undoubtedly because of the nature of the popularity of the video and subsequent TikTok trend, it caused the track “Dreams” and its album, “Rumors” to soar on the 2020 music charts 43 years after its debut. Rolling Stone published on Oct. 14 that it currently sat on their chart at number two right behind Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” and that, “Since September 26th, “Dreams” has garnered over 1 million streams a day, including a three-day run — Oct.8 through Oct.10 — where the track was streamed over 2 million times a day. By comparison, the track usually averaged a half-million streams prior to the viral TikTok video.”
NME reported that “Sales of the song also increased 184% in the first three days of the original video being posted, and streaming numbers saw a 242 per cent increase in first-time listeners of the song.” Which means that most likely, first time listeners are going to be new generations of Fleetwood Mac fans.
Billboard announced that, “Fleetwood Mac’s former No. 1 single “Dreams” re-enters the Billboard Hot 100 [dated Oct. 17]at No. 21, landing on the chart for the first time since its original 1977 run.” and “In the tracking week ending Oct. 8, “Dreams” garnered its best-ever weekly U.S. streams and download sales totals: 13.4 million streams (up 54%) and 22,000 downloads sold (up 197%), according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.” They also noted the history of the original virality of the song, “Dreams,” which the group’s Stevie Nicks solely wrote, debuted on the Hot 100 dated April 16, 1977, and spent a week at No. 1 (June 18).” Tracy Smith interviewed Nicks in an episode CBS This Morning on Oct. 25 where Nicks said: “This TikTok thing has, kind of, blown my mind and I’m happy about it because it seems to have made so many people happy.” During uncertain and heartbreaking times, this heartwarming and relaxing trend has certainly brought joy to lots of people. Through this, we are reminded of how music can bring people together even when we have to keep apart to stay safe. Whether it is an old favorite you play to remember better times or it is a newfound song to you to play while creating happy memories, “Dreams” is undoubtedly the kind of track with the capability to do just that.
“Clueless” (1995) is not only a poor adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” it is also wildly unpleasant to watch. The “iconic” teen flick centers around a shallow 15-year-old named Cher who believes she is the best at everything she does.
The storyline of “Clueless” is loosely based on Jane Austen’s novel “Emma”, in which a young woman mistakenly confident in herself attempts to match-make people she knows and ends up accidentally making things much more complicated. Like Emma, Cher in “Clueless” spends a large portion of the film playing matchmaker with her teachers, schoolmates and friends. Emma and Cher also both have a friend in their story which they spend time “teaching” how to be more like themselves. In Emma’s case, she teaches her friend Harriet about manners, painting, dancing, reading and who to associate with in English high society. Cher on the other hand teaches her friend Tai how to dress, where to sit during lunch, what kind of parties to go to, and who to associate with in Beverly Hills high school society.
At the end of both stories, the main character realizes that she is in love with someone she has known for a long time. In “Emma,” she falls in love with her family friend Mr. Knightley, and in “Clueless,” Cher falls in love with her ex-step-brother Josh. The relationship between Cher and Josh is uncomfortably incestuous and pedophilic. Cher is 15 at the start of the film, and is 16 by the end of it, and her ex-step-brother/love interest Josh is portrayed as a college freshman, implying that he is in the 18-19 year range. A 3-4 year age difference at their stages of life, especially considering that Cher is a minor and Josh is legally an adult, is substantial. The fact that Alicia Silverstone (Cher) was 18 while Paul Rudd (Josh) was 26 also added to the creepy dynamic, especially during the characters’ kiss scenes.
In “Clueless,” none of the characters learn a lesson or undergo any character development— even though their parallel characters in “Emma” do— except for the “slacker” kid, Travis, who is the only redeemable character in the entire movie. Cher’s character epiphany is supposed to occur when she realizes that she has feelings for Josh. Afterward, we are supposed to see her character growth when she donates various possessions to a disaster relief charity event because she wants to feel like a good person. During this scene, Travis apologizes to Cher for spilling beer on her shoes at a party, and Cher does not apologize for calling Travis a “slacker” and a “loadie” or for encouraging her friend Tai to be rude to him.
After Cher’s supposed character growth epiphany, she accidentally ruins her father’s law paperwork, and Josh comes to the rescue to cheer her up. Finally Cher and Josh go in for a remarkably incestuous kiss, and the entire movie is resolved!
“Clueless” heavily romanticizes and sexualizes the 15-16 age. In one particular scene when Cher, Dionne and post-makeover Tai are at a diner, Dionne and Cher verbally shame Cher for still being a “virgin” at 16, calling her “hymenally challenged” (0:46:18). When Cher and Tai get into a verbal argument because of Tai’s feelings for Josh, she insults Cher with the iconic one-liner, “You’re a virgin who can’t drive” (1:17:00). This perpetuates the harmful idea that teenagers who have sex are somehow better or cooler than teenagers who do not. This type of mindset often pushes teenagers to have sex before they actually want to or feel like they are ready to do so, and one could infer that these interactions Cher had with her friends pressured her into attempting (but failing) to have sex with her schoolmate Elton.
As if this all was not enough, the “humor” in “Clueless” is disappointingly subpar and problematic. Aside from using slurs in both joking and conversational context, most of the comedic dialogue was just women making fun of other women for their appearances, insulting everything from hats to perfume to Cher insulting someone for wearing a dress that she also happened to own. The cringiest part of the movie, though, is when Cher says to her El Salvadorian housemaid, “Lucy, you know I don’t speak Mexican!” (1:11:42). When confronted by Josh about her cultural insensitivity, Cher shows no understanding of why what she said was offensive or ignorant. Cher’s internal monologue later expressed that she apologized to Lucy, but this interaction is never shown on screen, so the audience has no way of knowing whether Cher apologized sincerely and learned from her mistakes or whether she will continue with her microaggressive behavior.
I would say that the fashion is what made “Clueless” worth watching, but no amount of yellow plaid could make up for the irritating static characters, misogynistic undertones, racism, hypersexualization of minors and bad jokes in this movie.
In order to generate funds for collection care, the Brooklyn Museum has decided to sell several million dollars worth of art. Art Market Monitor reports that this was a long standing plan to deaccession works in order to be able to take care of its overall collection. The museum had one deaccessing round on Thursday, Oct. 15, at Christie’s auction house, and another on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at Sotheby’s in New York City.
Brooklyn Museum director Anne Pasternick made a recent statement about the decision saying that it “…comes after several years of focused effort by the museum to build a plan to strengthen its collection, repatriate objects, advance provenance research, improve storage and more.” According to Art News, the museum hopes to raise $40 million in total to help alleviate the damage done by the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
The auction at Christie’s seemed to be a success. One of the top selling items was the 16th century work “Lucretia”by Lucas Cranach the Elder, which sold for $5.1 million rather than the estimated price of $1.2 million. The Brooklyn Museum had owned the painting since 1921.
In addition to “Lucretia,”several other pieces were successfully sold off to various collectors. Many paintings sold for well above their estimated price, which will help the museum immensely in reaching its goals. For instance, Lorenzo Costa’s “Portrait of a Gentleman”sold for $110,000 rather than the lower estimate of $60,000, according to Art News. Unfortunately some works sold for below their estimates. Giovanni Di Marco’s painting depicting the Madonna and child sold for $75,000, which was far below its estimate. Like the painting of Lucretia, this painting has been in the Brooklyn Museum’s possession since 1925.
Despite some paintings selling for slightly less than estimated, the museum managed to generate a total of $6.6 million. While this is an impressive figure, there will still need to be several more auctions in order to reach the ultimate goal of $40 million.
The auction at Sotheby’s has a pre-sale low estimate of $12 million. Art News reports that the museum plans to sell seven works in total, including works from several impressionists. At one of the biggest lots, Claude Monet’s 1897 work “Les lles à Port Villez” is estimated to sell at anywhere from $2.5 million to $3.5 million. Also up for sale is “Carrefour de Malbry” by Henri Matisse for an estimated $800,000 to $1.2 million and Edgar Degas’ 1902 work “Femme nue assise s’essuyant les chevaux” for $1 million to $1.5 million.
If the sale on Oct. 28 goes well, the Brooklyn museum will be well on its way to its goal of $40 million. Unfortunately, the museum will have to sell many more pieces to reach this number. Hopefully, the COVID-19 pandemic will fade away enough for the museum to begin to generate more revenue from art lovers visiting the museum rather than art auctions.