THIS WEEK: A SELECTIVE GUIDE

JAZZ, GRUB AND A CHARISMATIC NONAGENARIAN | June 24th 2008

Sterling and Francine Clark Art Insititute

Special to MORE INTELLIGENT LIFE

Our guide to what's on around the world, compiled by Ariel Ramchandani and Jessica Gallucci.

EAT IT

Chicago has had quite a foodie year--from Grant Achatz winning the James Beard Award for outstanding chef to Stephanie Izard, one of their own, winning Top Chef: Chicago. The city may finally be shedding its stodgy culinary reputation for deep-dish pizza and neon relish--although there will certainly be plenty of both at the Taste of Chicago this week. The annual festival is the world's largest dedicated to food, now in its 28th year. Hungry visitors can buy strips of tickets for $8, to be used for either "taste portions" or entree-sized selections. The restaurants involved will provide cuisine that spans the globe (Indian ice cream?). The scheduled performers are just as eclectic: visitors can chew along to the sounds of Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, the homegrown Plain White T's and Chaka Khan. There will even be fireworks on July 3rd. ~A.R.

TASTE OF CHICAGO, through July 6th, Grant Park, Chicago

 

FINDERS, KEEPERS

Wade through the Royal Academy's summer exhibition in the wake of Charles Saatchi, who was recently trawling for fresh talent at its schools show. The summer show, which calls itself "the largest open contemporary art exhibition in the world", presents about 1,200 works, many from unknown artists. Look out for porcelain sculptures by Rachel Kneebone, whose tangled compositions of human limbs and herbaceous growths recall, in a modest way, Bernini's "Apollo and Daphne". Suzanne Moxley"s seamless collages of reprocessed antique photographs are here, too. Saatchi scooped up stacks of works by three Academy graduates early this month; if you have a keen eye and some pocket money, it may be worth following his example. Even as the Times scoffed at Saatchi's investment in "infant-like" paintings by Carla Busuttil, it acknowledged that the former ad-man drives the market. And if scribbles are to become a hot trend, this exhibition has Roger Phillpot. Get there before a certain reclusive millionaire returns for seconds. ~J.G.

SUMMER EXHIBITION, through August 17th, Royal Academy of Arts, London

 

A LOT OF CANDLES

Retirement is hardly restful when one is as famous and influential as Nelson Mandela (as Adam Roberts writes in his feature on the charismatic nonagenarian). But at least the man accepts his many tributes with grace--such as the 46664 concert honouring his 90th birthday, scheduled for June 27th in London's Hyde Park. The long list of performers include Annie Lenox, the Sugababes, Amy Winehouse, Leona Lewis, Johnny Clegg, the Soweto Gospel Choir and Jerry Dammers, whose song "Free Nelson Mandela" was a theme of sorts for England's anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s. Special guests include Gordon Brown, Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey, among others. Proceeds will go to the 46664 campaign, dedicated to HIV prevention and raising awareness about AIDS (named for Mandela's prison number during his infamous incarceration on Robben Island). ~A.R.

THE 46664 CONCERT HONOURING NELSON MANDELA AT 90, June 27th, Hyde Park, London

 

PLAY IT AGAIN, CONDI

Jazz lovers will swoon: Patti Austin and the Count Basie Orchestra are to team up for a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, performing standards from George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter and Irving Berlin. The Count Basie Orchestra has won 17 Grammys, and in February, after nine nominations, Austin was awarded her first, for best jazz vocal album (listen to the winning tracks). The Aspen Music Festival sparkles with stars: next month Yefim Bronfman, Gil Shaham and Lynn Harrell (all Grammy winners) will perform piano trios of Mozart, Shostakovich and Marc-André Dalbavie. Condoleezza Rice (no Grammy to date) is also on the programme. Rice, America's secretary of state, once said that her dreams of becoming a concert pianist were dashed when, as a teenager, she encountered younger and more proficient musicians at this very festival. She will perform Dvorák in early August, accompanied by four of the school's students. ~J.G.

ASPEN MUSIC FESTIVAL, through August 17th, Aspen Music Festival and School, Aspen

 

AMERICA, BUT SOFTLY

"If only I could paint without paint!", lamented George Inness, an American painter (perhaps while sighing and dabbing at a muted and misty canvas). Along with James McNeill Whistler and their followers, Inness practiced the art of painting softly, producing atmospheric works with blurred shapes, shadowy figures and soft contours in the late 19th- and early 20th centuries. The works of 15 American "soft" painters are on view at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown Massachusetts, in a show called "Like Breath on Glass: Whistler, Inness, and the Art of Painting Softly". The exhibition takes its name from something Whistler once said, that paint should be "like breath on the surface of a pane of glass." The Clark, with its newly completed conservation centre designed by Tadao Ando and nestled at the top of the hill in a muted grey, is the perfect institution at which to see these moody and natural paintings. ~A.R.

LIKE BREATH ON GLASS: WHISTLER, INNESS AND THE ART OF PAINTING SOFTLY, through October 19th, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown