CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Art World Bares its Soul in Adam Goldberg’s Superlative ‘(Untitled)’
CHICAGO – One of the best and most exciting surprises of the 2009 film year is a smaller, claustrophobic film starring Adam Goldberg and set in the art gallery world of New York City. “(Untitled)” is an honest, uncompromising character study.
Taking its name from the practice of inscribing artwork with no label at all, (Untitled) involves three people, two who are practicing artists and one who owns a small Soho art gallery. Adrian (Adam Goldberg) is a composer of atonal symphonies – think using buckets and chains for sounds instead of harmonics – and although recognized as a significant craftsman he still needs to supplement his living by providing piano atmosphere in a haughty bistro.
His brother Josh (Eion Bailey) is a “successful” artist, having found a niche market selling his works to decorate hotel lobbies and corporate hallways. He is the biggest income generator for Madeleine (a revelatory Marley Shelton), who owns a small but cutting edge gallery. Embarrassed that she has to rely on Josh’s commercial work to stay afloat, she coyly hides his work in the back when clients come to call.
When Madeleine sees Adrian perform one of his symphonies, she not only gets a commission for him but takes him on as a lover. When the three attitudes of the principal characters collide – Adrian’s outsider inclination, Josh’s desperate need for artistic credibility and Madeleine’s blind worship of the next edgy art happening – the very question of who decides what art can be is philosophically rendered.
Photo credit: Parker Film Company/Samuel Goldwyn Films