The Picasso Museum reopened this week following renovations that more than doubled its size. The renovations, finished years past the predicted completion date, have been notorious for the intrigue they’ve inspired. The museum, housed in a Baroque mansion, needed a progressively larger budget that resulted in, if anything, slower renovations. These roadblocks inspired dramatic firings, including that of Anne Baldassari, the museum’s director, among a host of other intra-museum drama. However, anxious crowds still swarmed the sidewalks in front of the museum in anticipation of the public opening this past Saturday to see the over 400 works by Picasso on display.
Hedy Pagremanski, 85, of New York City, has finished more than 80 of her cityscapes, which have quickly become more than paintings: now, they’re public history. Pagremanski paints only buildings bound to be demolished, making her works both valuable for their artistic quality, as well as for the fact that they preserve a New York that is rapidly disappearing. Her most recent work, featuring two tenement-style buildings, began after word got out that they were also set to be torn down. The two buildings, at 400 and 402 Grand Street, were part of a 1.9 million square-foot development called “Essex Crossing,” which will replace the brick with towers rising from boxy, modernist glass and metal bases.
A new film from director Vishal Bhardwaj, known for making classic Shakespeare stories into modern Bollywood films, has generated fierce controversy in India. The film, called “Haider,” is a loose adaptation of “Hamlet,” set in Kashmir during the 1990s. The movie, despite being the most contentious movie of the year, has also become one of the most acclaimed. In particular, the film drew an intense reaction on social media from Hindu nationalists, who called for a boycott, claiming that it sympathized with terrorists and justified ethnic cleansing. However, journalists in India’s national media praised the film, saying that it was a highly effective reimagination of Shakespeare.
Although a thriller movie about a mathematician might seem highly unlikely, “The Imitation Game,” hits theaters Nov. 28. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, the British logician who worked to decipher a German naval code known as Enigma using the earliest digital computers which were based on his idea for a “universal machine.” The director of “The Imitation Game,” Morten Tyldum, uses plenty of devices to raise the stakes in this mathematical thriller, including scenes of wartime carnage, montages of the code-breaking machine beginning to work and flashbacks to Turing’s time as a bullied and alienated child. Although the film takes liberties with the historical record, it stays true to certain key points: the strategic value of cracking the Enigma cipher, and the tragic persecution Turing faced after the war due to his sexual orientation.