Terrific Whitney Cover On “Talent”

Performing a Whitney Houston cover on a singing competition show is widely regarded as one of the riskiest things to do. Simon Cowell, who has judged programs like “The X Factor,” “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent” has routinely criticized contestants for choosing to do, remarking how there was just no way to compete with one of the greatest singers of all time. So if a cover makes Cowell grin from ear-to-ear on national television, it’s got to be great. “America’s Got Talent” contestant Johnny Manuel simply slayed with his rendition of Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” a vocally-demanding and complex song only the fiercest of competitors would attempt.

Facing Off With The Old Masters

One of the favorite sports of Renaissance artists was called the paragone, the “comparison,” the debate about the most expressive form of art. This spring and summer, the Florentine exhibition “Bill Viola: Electronic Renaissance,” organized around the work of the acclaimed American video artist Bill Viola, has brought the paragone into the twenty-first century. Centered in the massive fifteenth-century Palazzo Strozzi, “Electronic Renaissance,” which runs until July 23, also involves several other venues in the city, placing Viola’s videos alongside Renaissance works by the likes of Jacopo Pontormo, Michelangelo, and Paolo Uccello. More information here.

Kendrick Shares Video For “ELEMENT”

Kendrick Lamar has shared the new music video for his explicit song “ELEMENT.” Directed by Jonas Lindstroem and the Little Homies (Kendrick’s directing alias alongside Dave Free), the bloody new work begins with a hand reaching up out of water and features gruesome scenes throughout.

Will It Be As Good As The Vuitton Museum?

Bernard Arnault, the owner of the Louis Vuitton luxury goods group LVMH, built a Paris museum for his own art collection three years ago, in a vast and stunning 11,000 sq metre building designed by Frank Gehry. Now, Francois Pinault, Arnault’s luxury-goods rival, is making his long-anticipated renewed bid to create a museum by renovating and restoring the former Paris stock exchange (pictured), the 19th century Bourse de commerce – one of Paris’s most historically important but least known buildings. The project, in which the Japanese architect Tadao Ando will install a giant concrete cylinder in the middle of the unique circular building, is so ambitious that Ando promised it would blast away the political malaise of the moment and soothe the wounds of Brexit. Really? We shall see.

Drake Parodies Steph Curry & “Get Out”

During Monday night’s first-ever NBA Awards, host Drake made fun of the perfect-couple image of Steph Curry and his wife, Ayesha. Drake cast her as the brainwashing psychologist-villain of Get Out (played in the film by Catherine Keener). In the parody sketch, which was broadcast on TNT, the rapper plays the central role of Steph Curry—assuming the guise of Jordan Peele’s protagonist, Chris (Daniel Kaluuya). He is drawn to the study by his wife, Ayesha (not the real Ayesha, of course), after receiving a FaceTime call from his Golden State Warriors’ teammate Draymond Green (as the film’s TSA agent/pal), begging him to come party with the fellas. Things go considerably south from there.

Why Fosse Was So Influential

Of Bob Fosse, who would have just turned 90 were he still around, Lisa Rosman writes: ‘Every major icon of the last forty years owes much to Bobby, as his friends called him – from Michael Jackson to Liza Minnelli to Madonna to Britney Spears to Lady Gaga and even Beyoncé. Fashion would not be fashion without his exposed garter belts and fishnet stockings – more of his backstage-as-front-stage ethos – and it took the world decades to catch up with his matter-of-fact mingling of races and sexualities. His integrations didn’t seem intellectually derived so much as a no-muss, no-fuss privileging of talent and originality wherever it could be found.’

Romania: On The Border Of The Real

Adam Thirlwell writes: ‘Cristian Mungiu’s latest movie, Graduation—for which he won Best Director at Cannes last year—opens with an establishing shot of a dusty European square surrounded by small apartment blocks, then quickly cuts to an interior: a neat living room, with lamps and sofa and table. And there the camera lingers. You might think it a photograph, if net curtains weren’t moving slightly at the picture’s edge. There are a few lulling seconds of noise from the off-screen square: cars, children playing. Then abruptly a rock is thrown through the window—and the curtains flare out wildly.’