New Alexander Calder piece bound for UVA

New Alexander Calder piece bound for UVA

Occasionally labeled an “aggressive optimist” by friends, Feedback knows the sunny side of the street when he sees it. During the last few months, he’s had some cultural company there—namely, the University of Virginia Art Museum, which said sayonara to its part in the scrapped $118 million Arts Gateway project and opted for modest renovations to the Bayly building’s exhibition space that will increase access to the museum’s permanent collection. A defeat? To the aggressive optimist, it’s simply a change in perspective, a choice to keep on the sunny side.

Staying mobile: A new piece by artist Alexander Calder (pictured) may arrive at the UVA Art Museum in time for the building’s September 12 reopening.

Now, it sounds as if the UVA Art Museum will shortly unveil a new symbol of its optimism. Vice Provost for the Arts Elizabeth Hutton Turner tells C-VILLE that an untitled mobile by Alexander Calder—the second Calder piece to reach the UVA Grounds in the last year—will hang from the ceiling of the museum, possibly as soon as the Bayly building reopens its doors to the public on September 12.

“In times of great change, works like Calder’s really open up possibilities—they don’t shut them down,” says Turner. “Calder offers myriad visual confirmations and solutions.”

The mobile is, according to Turner, a “very sizable piece,” and a loan from the Calder Foundation, for whom Turner has served as an advisor for many years. As a point of reference, Turner brings up the other Calder piece loaned to UVA, the “Tripes” stabile (think “standing mobile”) installed in front of Peabody Hall. The size is similar; it just requires a bit of a perspective change. Turner estimates that the mobile is 12’ in diameter, roughly the length of the stabile turned on its side.

“To open up those spaces, to activate it, a mobile is a great thing,” says Turner. With a few historical and modern UVA strengths on display—exhibits focused on the Academical Village and works inspired by one-time Lawn resident Edgar Allan Poe, and a multimedia piece by music professor Judith Shatin—there ought to be plenty more to activate the new space. Read the Feedback blog on next week for more on the museum’s reopening.

ATO Pictures approaching End Zone?

Yipes! That headline sounds a bit dire, doesn’t it? Not to worry, folks. While ATO Pictures co-founder Temple Fennell told a few folks during last year’s Virginia Film Festival that a few “mini-major” production companies weren’t faring too well, the film branch of Coran Capshaw’s media empire still seems small enough to stay healthy. No small feat in the midst of an economy that threatens to do to the Weinstein Company what Brad Pitt and company do to the Nazis in Inglourious Basterds, that company’s recent Quentin Tarantino film.

After coming across an hour-long video of Fennell’s lecture to Darden students and film fest attendees, Feedback called him to check in on the status of End Zone, the film adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel of the same name. The film is, according to Fennell, “on hold at the moment,” but not for reasons I’d describe as “Piven-esque.” (Sorry, Jer—still love you in “Entourage.”) Rather, Fennell says that the flick is simply waiting while ATO Gotham, a domestic distribution company, is developed.

“Primarily, we want to have greater control of our U.S. distribution,” Fennell told C-VILLE. “Going out and selling films at Sundance and different markets is really not a viable model anymore for independent films.”

As Fennell told his crowd at Darden last fall, “The audience doesn’t care whether a movie costs $5 million or $50 million—they just want a good film.” Is End Zone the ticket? We’ll check in again with Fennell soon.