The Front Row, 07/28/2006

Today we consider work by two controversial artists as the Museum of Fine Arts presents an exhibition of work by Gustave Courbet and the Mildred's Umbrella Theatre Company presents Edna O'Brien's Triptych. . .

Gustave Courbet's Landscapre near Ornans, 1864Frenchξpainter Gustave Courbet actively generated controversary throughout hisξcareer.ξHe was a pwerful presence in the Parisian art community, however, becasue of his brash personality and his outspoken advocacy of leftists political ideals he was regularly shunned by the conservative members of the jury of theξFrench Salon. In spite of his concentration on painting outdoor scenes, Courbet is known primarily for his figurative work, and his intense, dramatic and radically innovative landscapes have been largely ignored by art historians in the 130 years since his death. But now, theξGetty Musuem in Los Angelesξhasξassembled the first-ever majorξmuseum exhibition of his paintingsξin that genre and it's currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts Hosuton. Getty Curator Mary Morton talked about Courbet and the Modern Landscape with KUHF's Alison Young.ξAudio here.ξξ

Mildred's Umbrella presents TriptychNine of the books by Irish author Edna O'Brien have been banned in her native country, while at the same time, her work has been hailed by critics and readers throughout the English-speaking world, and has won such prestigious prizes as the Kingsley Amis Award for Fiction, the Yorkshire Post Novel Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Ms. O'Brien's stories often take an unblinking, probing look at such topics as sex, marriage, religious upbringing and the plight of women caught in predatory relationships with men. Her play, Triptych, focuses on three women -- mistress, wife and daughter -- full of life, lust and power, who reveal their passion for the same man and confront the ways in which love can both entrap and liberate.The play's U-S premiere took place in San Francisco three years ago to rave reviews, and it was presented in New York in 2004. Now, Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company has mounted the first Houston production, which opens tonight at the Midtown Art Center. The three cast members, Michelle Edwards, Patricia Dunn and Christie Guidry, spoke with Alison Young. Audio here.ξξ

Houston Center for Contemporary CraftTomorrow the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft is holding its third annual Open Studio Tour. Starting at the Museum itself on Main Street, participants can see for themselves the inner sancta where a number of local craft artists do their creative thing.ξ Houston native Kristen Loden, former development director for the Alley Theatre, took over as Executive Director o the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft just two months ago. She spoke with KUHF's Alison Young about her hopes and dreams for the city's newest major museum. Audio here.ξ

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