weekend links: Patricia Highsmith, Modigliani, nude cinema

Paul Laffoley
Paul Laffoley

Paul Laffoley, True Liberation (1963). Image appears courtesy of Kent Fine Art/Huffington Post.

The movie Carol hits theaters today. The film, based on one of Patricia Highsmith's novels (other films adapted from her work include Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train and Anthony Minghella's The Talented Mr. Ripley), has been receiving rave reviews, and Frank Rich lauds it for providing a glimpse into the oft-ignored world of American lesbian culture. This is a captivating look back at one of America's most fascinating lesser-known writers. [Vulture]

Earlier this month, Modigliani's Nu Couché became the second-most expensive painting to ever sell at auction, going for $170.4 million. The buyer was a Chinese billionaire, Liu Yiqian, who previously made headlines for purchasing a Ming dynasty teacup for $36.3 million and then proceeding to actually drink tea from it. He and his wife have plans for transforming the Chinese art world, and you can find out all about them here. [The New York Times]

The artist Paul Laffoley passed away on Monday. Laffoley was often described as a visionary, and his meticulously detailed paintings, which look like computer printouts from another dimension, certainly give merit to the claim. His first retrospective was put together by the Austin Museum of Art (now The Contemporary Austin) in 1999. Here is a selection of his paintings, available in high-res glory for your eternal contemplation. [Huffington Post]

Congratulations to the National Book Award winners, who were announced earlier this week. Adam Johnson's Fortune Smiles won the top fiction award, and Ta-Nehisi Coates took home the nonfiction award for Between the World and Me. On an only tangentially related note, here is an essay on James Baldwin, whose name almost always appears next to Coates's in praise. Congrats, Ta-Nehisi, on an award well-deserved. [The Times Literary Supplement]

One hundred years ago, the first naked woman appeared on film. The woman was Audrey Munson, the film was called Inspiration, and the critics were surprisingly unfazed. The Motion Picture Production Code, however, created in 1930, stated that nudity was never justified: it "may be beautiful [but that] does not make its use in the films moral." The moralists obviously lost on that one, but, as this article illustrates, it took a bit of effort and a lot of legal wrangling to get from Les Amants to Nymphomaniac. [The Economist]

Sean Redmond

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