MEMETERIA by Thomas May

Music & the Arts

A New Era at Wiener Staatsoper

From the Wiener Zeitung:

“For director Bogdan Roščić’s inaugural season at the Vienna State Opera [he just took over the reins from Dominique Meyer in July], the audience is being greeted by a photorealistic still life that critiques colonialism — even before the curtain is raised. On Monday, ahead of the season’s first premiere, the new safety curtain was presented. It is the work of US artist Carrie Mae Weems.

For her model, she turned to R&B icon Mary J. Blige. Titled ‘Queen B (Mary J. Blige),’ the figure looks at herself in a mirror amid a Baroque-style setting — clad in a blend of contemporary clothing and set pieces alluding to the trappings of erstwhile symbols of power from the West. Here, a visual indictment of the Eurocentric gaze goes hand in hand with a celebration of Black beauty and prosperity. ‘What actually interests me is the idea of representation itself,’ says Weems …”

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