WBEZ | Steve McQueen http://www.wbez.org/tags/steve-mcqueen Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Artist Steve McQueen transforms the Art Institute of Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/artist-steve-mcqueen-transforms-art-institute-chicago-103279 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Steve-McQueen-Charlotte_480.png" style="height: 380px; width: 620px; " title="Steve McQueen, Charlotte (courtesy Art Institute of Chicago)" /></div><p>Mere steps inside the Steve McQueen exhibition you&#39;ll realize this is a completely different sort of show for the Art Institute of Chicago.</p><p>For one, the exhibition space is mainly dark - and vast. The first work is <em>Static</em>, McQueen&#39;s 2009 film which consists of a swirling shot of the Statute of Liberty. You can imitate the circling movements of the film by moving around the large two-sided rectangular screen.</p><p>Further in you&#39;ll pass a close-up of an eye bathed in red light, called <em>Charlotte</em>, after the British actress Charlotte Rampling. In another room three of McQueen&#39;s better known installations come together in a wide triangular structure:&nbsp;<em>Bear (1993)</em>,&nbsp;<em>Five Easy Pieces (1995)</em> and&nbsp;<em>Just Above My Head<strong>&nbsp;</strong>(1996).&nbsp;</em></p><p>In fact the entire space has been sculpted to present McQueen&#39;s work, including the construction of a series of small dark screening rooms that are accessed long passages with padded walls. At times it feels a little like traveling through one of those cinematic spaceships, only instead of the usual blindingly white interior, all the lights have been turned out.</p><p>McQueen isn&#39;t well-known in the United States, at least not outside art circles. Mention his name and most people will think you&#39;re talking about the late star of films like <em>Bullit</em> or <em>The Great Escape.</em></p><p>Adding to the confusion, McQueen is probably best known here for directing some recent feature films, including&nbsp;<em>Hunger</em> and <em>Shame.</em></p><p>This review, covering 20 years of his work, will introduce the artist to a wider circle of fans. But even those familiar with McQueen&#39;s work will have the opportunity to encounter new work. His 2003 installation&nbsp;<em>Queen and Country</em> is being shown in the U.S. for the very first time.</p><p>You&#39;ll find it in a small, well-lit room near the back of the exhibition. McQueen worked with photos of British soldiers who died in Iraq. He printed them up as large sheets of postage stamps. They&#39;re framed in glass and hung in a large wooden cabinet.</p><p>He made it in 2003, as the British Imperial Museum&#39;s Official War Artist to Iraq, and aimed for a different view of the war.</p><p>McQueen says his ambition was &quot;to look at this conflict outside of newspapers, outside of television or whatever we get information from as far as how we get our information on conflicts.&quot;</p><p><em>The Steve McQueen retrospective is at the Art Institute through next January.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 19 Oct 2012 15:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-10/artist-steve-mcqueen-transforms-art-institute-chicago-103279 Steve McQueen's NC-17 ‘Shame’ a layered portrayal of addiction http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-02/steve-mcqueens-nc-17-%E2%80%98shame%E2%80%99-layered-portrayal-addiction-94549 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-02/shame.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p>A major transformation happened in the mind of the movie goer over the past twenty years. Television, with its radical insistence on reductive and literal narrative forms, has altered the relationship between the movie viewer and the movie auteur—or the filmmaker. The role of the film artist used to be to ask questions. Today, audiences demand only answers.</p><p>No recent film exemplifies this radical shift more concretely than Steve McQueen's <em>Shame</em>. Many individuals who've seen the film leave it confused and feeling cheated. They’re shocked—surprising for an age in which pornography thrives on the internet—by the rather brief frontal nudity and explicit sex scenes involving the main character, Brandon, played by Michael Fassbender, or his sister Sissy, played by Carey Mulligan.</p><p>Brandon is a successful New York office-worker in his 30s who moves between his minimalist high-rise apartment and his equally high-tech cubicle. But something else drives and dominates his life: sex. Getting ready for work, Brandon is pleasuring himself in the shower, trying to pick up a girl on the subway. His office computer is confiscated because it is infected with viruses. Out with his boss for drinks, he displays a cool reserve in picking up women. His life, we realize, consists of one-night stands.</p><p>All this changes when his younger sister, Sissy, suddenly turns up at Brandon's apartment—unannounced.&nbsp; She’s the opposite of Brandon's cool—impulsive, garrulous, uncontrolled. She’s a lost soul.&nbsp; As the film progresses, we realize she and Brandon share a painful history—a history we will never learn. She’s easily seduced, but her easily-stirred passions serve as a stark contrast to Brandon's sex addiction which has little to do with sex, and all to do with control.</p><p>A critical scene involving Brandon and Marianne, a co-worker, as they escape work at midday for sex at Brandon's apartment. When finished, Marianne reaches out in tenderness, trying to establish an emotional connection, only to be rebuked by Brandon. Brandon’s never-ending search for sex excludes any possibility of love.</p><p>Steve McQueen, the Turner-prize-winning artist, took on a very tough theme in his first film, "Hunger," which is about the hunger strike at Ireland's notorious Maze prison. <em>Shame</em> is not as extreme as "Hunger," yet its theme of addiction is layered and complex.</p><p>McQueen elicits this with a visual brilliance. The film is gray and architecturally edgy. McQueen uses this palette not just to underscore the alienation of the characters, but to reveal the broken emotional core which leads to obsession and addiction. Self-loathing underpins Brandon's sex-obsession.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Shame</em> contains a brilliant performance from Michael Fassbender; smartly, he portrays Brandon as <em>almost</em> invulnerable, protected by an outward shell. Conversely, this suggests the depth of the torment that goes on inside him. Carey Mulligan, in her role as Sissy, has grown as an actress since her role in "Education." Though her own vulnerability is much more in the open than that of her brother, McQueen never lets us in on the secret of the brother and sister's common past. We are only sure that there was one. Yet McQueen is smart enough as a filmmaker not to fall into the trap of empathizing with the characters—something which would allow the audience off the hook. The film would be about <em>them</em>. Instead, <em>Shame</em> is a film that is about <em>us</em>, and about our own addictive behaviors. Our addiction may not be sex, but the moral of <em>Shame</em>, if there had to be one, is that every personal obsession, no matter how petty, blocks the possibility of our being full individuals.</p><p>Ultimately, it’s the intelligence of this film that in refusing to give us simple answers, it poses penetrating questions in an original and a riveting way.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Milos Stehlik is the director of <a href="http://www.facets.org/" target="_blank">Facets Multimedia</a>. His commentaries&nbsp;reflect his own views and not necessarily those of Facets Multimedia, </em>Worldview <em>or WBEZ.</em></p><p style="margin-left: 1in;">&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 18:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-02/steve-mcqueens-nc-17-%E2%80%98shame%E2%80%99-layered-portrayal-addiction-94549 Worldview 12.2.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-12211 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-december/2011-12-02/billboard-12-2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>University of Chicago theorist <a href="http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/harcourt" target="_blank">Bernard Harcourt</a> believes that a new kind of resistance called "political disobedience" emerged from Zuccotti Park and Occupy protests around the country. He tells <em>Worldview </em>why the media needs a new lexicon to describe the leaderless social movement. Also, with tensions rising in Syria, a potential leadership vacuum in Yemen, and elections in Egypt, the Arab world is in the throes of deep uncertainty. <a href="http://www.columbia.edu/cu/history/fac-bios/Khalidi/faculty.html" target="_blank">Rashid Khalidi</a>, a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University, ruminates on the aftermath of the uprisings. Later, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/contributor/milos-stehlik" target="_self">Milos Stehlik</a>&nbsp;reviews <em>Shame</em>. Steve McQueen’s new film follows a New Yorker whose private life of sexual addiction is disrupted when his sister arrives unannounced for an indefinite stay.</p></p> Fri, 02 Dec 2011 16:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-12211