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red hot

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on January 10th, 2018

Art, advertising, and politics all come together in a fantastic show currently at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art called Constructing Revolution: Soviet Propaganda Posters from between the World Wars. Regardless of what your politics may or may not be, the work in Constructing Revolution: Soviet Propaganda Posters from between the World Wars is visually stunning, and every graphic designer out there owes these artists a debt of gratitude. The imagery is bold, the messages are clear (which was important, since most of the target audience was illiterate), and although a lot of this work is around 100 years old, many of the themes explored in Constructing Revolution: Soviet Propaganda Posters from between the World Wars could apply to right now: women as revolutionaries, “power to the people,” the struggle between the “haves” and the “have nots”. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same… Another thing I couldn’t help but notice is how much these images reminded me of movie posters…


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…or album art…


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…or of “Rosie The Riveter”!


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Constructing Revolution: Soviet Propaganda Posters from between the World Wars runs through February 11th, so get there while you can! Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm; Thursday, 10 am – 8:30 pm; Sunday, 1 pm – 5 pm. Admission is free (but donations are welcome)!







all aboard

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on December 27th, 2017

How was your Christmas? Were you able to give (and get) the gifts you were hoping for (and to)? Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary was under the tree in my house this year. The wrapping paper may have had my husband’s name on it, but it’s already proving to be a gift for both of us. Terry and I originally saw Chasing Trane at Frontier this summer, and much like Loving Vincent, as soon as the film was over, we both declared we already wanted to see it again. Thanks to a massive snowstorm, this Christmas proved to be the perfect day to do just that. Chasing Trane is a beautifully put-together, uplifting documentary about the life and music of jazz-man extraordinaire John Coltrane, as told by the people who knew and loved him in one form or another (family, friends, fans).


Chasing Trane is filled with fantastic music, interesting interviews, and the gorgeous paintings of Rudy Gutierrez, all of which blend together to tell the story of a man who overcame his demons, explored new frontiers, and changed the landscape of his craft. “My music is the spiritual expression of what I am,” he said. “I want to be the force that is truly for good.”


If you’re unfamiliar with the work of John Coltrane, Curtis Memorial Library is here to help! A quick Minerva search reveals CDs, books, and – you guessed it – even a copy of Chasing Trane. Curl up on your couch on a cold day and let John Coltrane’s music and story warm you up.


my cousin vinny

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on December 13th, 2017

Everyone knows the basic story: Vincent Van Gogh, arguably the most important painter ever to have lived, died broke and alone and unappreciated. He committed suicide in 1890; exactly 100 years later, his painting, “Portrait of Dr. Gachet,” sold for $82.5 million (which translates into roughly $150 million today). Van Gogh’s work has influenced and inspired countless artists, and reproductions of his paintings are everywhere- books, cards, t-shirts, coasters, you name it. To say that he had no idea what kind of impact his work would have on the world is a bit of an understatement.


Like millions of other fans, I’ve often thought, “If only he could know! If only he could see this!” Never have I felt that longing as keenly as I did while watching Loving Vincent. Loving Vincent is a gorgeous, moving tribute to Van Gogh’s work and life, and it might be the most visually stunning film I have ever seen. Van Gogh’s story is told through his paintings, and they have been brought to life here in a way that will make you catch your breath. A team of over 100 artists hand-painted each and every frame of Loving Vincent (how fun must that have been?) and the results are extraordinary.




I have my fingers crossed that Loving Vincent will eventually make its way to one of the theaters here in Brunswick, but if you don’t want to wait, this is a film worth traveling to see on a big screen. If you’re looking for an even more immersive experience, Curtis Memorial Library can help! Check out The Complete Letters of Vincent Van Gogh or one of the many other relevant titles available in the Art & Architecture section upstairs.