Mark Masuoka, the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Akron Art Museum, has a new vision for the Museum that entails interacting more with visitors, increasing its profile in the city, implementing new programs, and revising processes within the organization to make things work better. We can applaud Masuoka for work hard to appeal to the public more in this fashion, and to get people interested in the visual arts.
Film is an art form, and in itself, it is both visual and performing. It is often rare do we see films that look at the film industry, let alone the other more important art forms. A classic film that dives into the life of a visual artist that Masuoka displays if not should display in the future is 1956's Lust For Life, about Vincent Van Gogh.
The film stars Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald, Pamela Brown, Everett Sloane, Henry Daniell, and Lionel Jeffries. The film begins with Van Gogh meeting before an evangelical council, who states he isn't fit for the work of being a minister. One of the council members gives him a second chance, by sending him to a mining town. While there, he is confronted with his shortcomings when a miner tells him that it is not that his message is bad, nor his ministry is bad, but until he knows the miner's life, he can't best serve the needs of the faithful. Vincent takes on the challenge, and immerses himself in mining life. He also sketches the miners as he lives with them. This angers the evangelical council, who come to the mining town to investigate his ministry. They condemn him for living like a pauper, to which he condemns them for being hypocritical to God's word. Eventually, he comes home to figure out his career path, and continues drawing, but to the behest of his disappointed father. Van Gogh is socially awkward and makes scenes, but it is unintentional. After failing in courting his widowed cousin, he is sent to live with his brother, Theo, and is mentored into becoming a painter with his cousin, Anton Mauve. Once there, he is able to become educated and befriend painters, like Paul Gauguin. He paints and paints, but hardship continues in his life. You will have to see the movie to see these hardships, and to see what masterpieces we now know were painted during that time.
Hopefully, Masuoka can shine a better light to classic paintings, as well as revitalize public interest in visual art. However, if you want to appreciate art more, and see an innovative film that influenced the biography films to day, see this film!