MoMA Mixtape: Krystal Bick Gets Lost in Imagination
The love of music, movies, and art collide to create an epic playlist...and a bonus movie guide.
Jun 20, 2023
There are a few things that happen when I go to a museum with someone. We’ll likely get lost, enjoy getting lost, and make up entire story narratives about all the art we’ve seen. Most of those narratives will relate to plotlines in beloved movies, so we will weave an imaginary film of epic proportions that defies time, space, and most cinema conventions.
Of course every great movie has an equally amazing soundtrack. So let’s get lost at MoMA together. You take the right Airpod and I’ll take the left. But be forewarned: this auditory screenplay has no linear storyline. We’re bouncing around the museum in an Everything Everywhere All at Once kind of way. Sadly, Hot Dog Fingers are not included, but I know a good stand on Seventh Avenue we can visit afterward.
From left: Marc Chagall’s I and the Village (1911) and the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)
Marc Chagall’s I and the Village and the Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All at Once + “This Is a Life” by Son Lux, Mitski, and David Byrne
There’s something undeniably dreamlike about Chagall’s work. The two central figures in this painting are locked in a gaze, connected through a broken yet distinct white line, the contours of their faces creating multiple overlapping planes. Separate yet connected, much like the multiverse world of Everything Everywhere All at Once, in which parallel lives exist all around us, separated by chance encounters and the smallest of decisions. And just listening to the opening 30 seconds of “This Is a Life” feels akin to floating, which is exactly how I feel when I spend time with I and the Village.
Jacques-Henri Lartigue. Avenue des Acacias, Paris. 1911
Jacques-Henri Lartigue’s Avenue des Acacias, Paris and Bryan Forbes’s The Madwoman of Chaillot + Michael J. Lewis’s “Aurelia’s Theme”
Let’s spend some time with Katharine Hepburn in The Madwoman of Chaillot, based on the 1945 play of the same name, about an eccentric French countess (Hepburn) who, along with her oddball troupe of friends, thwarts a plot to drill for oil in Paris. As a Hepburn fan and costume design lover, I adore this film, and it was instantly what I thought of when I saw this photograph by Lartigue. This subject’s panache is so palpably unapologetic (a great adjective for Hepburn, too, I think) and I can definitely see her walking her two pooches to Countess Aurelia’s theme down the Champs-Élysées, perhaps en route to a cheeky glass of champagne.
Unidentified photographer. Walter Miller shooting from Woolworth Building. 1912–13
Unidentified photographer’s Walter Miller phooting from Woolworth Building + George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”
This photograph of Walter Miller sitting atop the Woolworth Building, with early-20th-century New York streets below him, has a feeling of a new frontier. It’s like the city is sprouting beneath his feet, inch by inch, as he sits at a dizzying height above it all. Dizzying is also the name of the game when it comes to “Rhapsody in Blue,” the title song to the 1945 film about American composer George Gershwin, and arguably one of his most iconic compositions. It was written in the span of only a few weeks, and largely inspired by a train ride Gershwin took from New York to Boston, and it is full of frenetic energy. In particular, the opening trill of that sweeping clarinet solo is enough to send anyone into euphoric spins, similar to how this photograph makes me feel about Walter Miller, perched precariously above New York City.
From left: Henri Matisse’s Study for Luxe, calme et volupté; Krystal Bick at MoMA, 2023
Henri Matisse’s Study for “Luxe, calme et volupté” and Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief + Lyn Murray’s “To Catch a Thief” theme
Do you hear that? The French Riviera is calling and I can almost feel the rumble of a beautiful sapphire-blue Sunbeam Alpine convertible rounding a hairpin corner overlooking the Mediterranean. While Matisse had no inkling about Grace Kelly and Cary Grant’s adventures in Alfred Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief, I have a feeling he’d have plenty of input about the set design and location scouting. Plus, there’s Mattisse’s affinity for blue—a color the future Princess of Monaco looked undeniably beguiling in, both on screen and off.
Krystal Bick is a writer, photographer, and social media consultant based in New York City who has a deep affinity for all things cinema, Italian culture, and classic vintage fashion. You can usually find her writing on a stoop in the West Village, reading park bench dedications in Central Park, or walking her corgi pup, Etta, along the Hudson River. You can find her musings on her website This Time Tomorrow.
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