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Culture Watch: What's new in music, DVDs, books and magazines

November 10, 2010 | 11:00 am

Book: “The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence,” Susie Linfield (University of Chicago Press). A smart, very readable dismantling of postmodern criticism’s confusion over the power of photojournalism. — Christopher Knight

Bolt Classical music: Howard Skempton: “Bolt From the Blue” (Mode). New works for piano (Daniel Becker) and voices (EXAUDI) by the British composer and a modern-day Satie who exemplifies less is more with extraordinarily simple music that resonates with unspeakable beauty and immediacy. — Mark Swed

Jazz: Dan Tepfer’s “Five Pedals Deep” (Sunnyside). Only 28, this New York City-based pianist has earned comparisons to Brad Mehldau, but this trio album shows Tepfer on his own intriguing path. — Chris Barton

DVD: “Carmen” (FRA Musica). Bizet’s opera here is returned to its source, Paris’ Opéra Comique. Conductor John Eliot Gardiner uses the period instrument Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, but his Carmen, Anna Caterina Antonacci, is a sexy modern. — Mark Swed

 DVD: “I Am Love.” Architecture buffs and dedicated aesthetes of all kinds will find much to admire, or least ogle, in director Luca Guadagnino’s lush, occasionally overheated story of a wealthy Milanese family occupying a perfectly outfitted gem of a Moderne villa. With a score by the composer John Adams and costumes by Jil Sander’s Raf Simons, the level of taste on display is almost unbearably high. — Christopher Hawthorne

MAXXIMagazine: “Zaha Hadid Architects and the Neoliberal Avant-Garde.” Though it occasionally lapses into academic jargon, British critic Owen Hatherley’s essay for Mute magazine on Zaha Hadid is among the sharpest and liveliest analyses I’ve read on the Iraqi-born, London-based architect and her growing practice — particularly when it comes to explaining the appeal of Hadid’s fluid buildings to “the businessmen, oligarchs and Sheiks who commission them.” — Christopher Hawthorne


Top: Howard Skempton: “Bolt From the Blue” (Mode)

Below: Hadid's MAXXI Museum in Rome. Credit: Roland Halbe