The Short List
Critics' Picks: Grant Wood's painting 'Arnold Comes of Age,' 'Monroe' on DVD and Queen Elizabeth II
Three things Seattle Times writers love this week: Grant Wood's painting "Arnold Comes of Age," a commentary on homoerotic desire and memory; the DVD release of "Monroe, Season 1," a British TV series about a cantankerous doctor; and Queen Elizabeth II, who is royally deserving of a weekend of Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
'Arnold Comes of Age'
Grant Wood's 1930 oil-on-board "Arnold Comes of Age" — painted the same year as "American Gothic" — is a highlight of "Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture," running just one more week at the Tacoma Art Museum. It presents a subtle commentary on homoerotic desire and memory, as its gawky sitter, caught in a rigid Renaissance-portrait pose, is set against a Midwestern riverside background. Small details — a butterfly fluttering by his arm, the two lads skinny-dipping behind him — suggest something's not sitting easily within his wary, inhibited stillness. But is he even aware of his own desire? And could he ever act on it?
Michael Upchurch, Seattle Times arts writer
Fans of curmudgeonly TV M.D.s can recover from the loss of the Hugh Laurie series "House" with Season 1 of this engaging British show, now available on DVD, about another cantankerous medical man. Monroe (James Nesbitt) is a playful, wisecracking Leeds neurosurgeon whose operations are (natch) more successful than his ailing private life. He solves brainy medical mysteries, and his doses of lacerating wit are softened by a compassionate bedside manner.
Misha Berson, Seattle Times arts writer
Queen Elizabeth II
On her 21st birthday she told the British people, "... my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service," and she has carried out that promise with aplomb since ascending the throne in 1952. Now 86 and celebrating her Diamond Jubilee with a host of events this weekend, QEII — who still undertakes nearly 300 engagements a year — has seen 12 prime ministers come and go, as well as six popes, 12 U.S. presidents and at least 30 corgis.
Weekend Plus editor