Park Avenue’s Billionaires: How They Stay That Way

Park Avenue’s Billionaires: How They Stay That Way

Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream is the riveting new documentary by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), which presents his perspective on the increasingly glaring disparity between rich and poor Americans. Gibney contends that America’s wealthiest citizens have rigged the game in their favor, creating an unprecedented degree of financial inequality in the United States.

Gibney proposes that this is nowhere more evident than on New York City’s Park Avenue. 740 Park Avenue in Manhattan is currently home to the highest concentration of billionaires in America. However, just across the river, less than five miles away, Park Avenue runs through the South Bronx, an area that is home to the poorest congressional district in the United States.

In Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American Dream, Gibney states that while income disparity has always existed in America, over the last 40 years it has accelerated sharply. As of 2010, the 400 richest Americans controlled more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of the population, or 150 million people. In the film, Gibney explains why he believes upward mobility is increasingly out of reach for both members of the middle class and the poor.

Park Avenue’s Billionaires: How They Stay That Way

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A Theater of Manners: Portraits of the Wealthy, Social Nobility and Politically Powerful

Jim Dow, “The Dining Room, Morgan Library, New York City” (1999 / 2010)

Jim Dow, “The Library, Metropolitan Club, New York City” (1999 / 2010)

Jim Dow, “The New York Society Library, NYC”

Annie Leibovitz, “Queen Elizabeth II” (2007)

Martin Parr, France. Paris, “Haute Couture” (2007)

Daniela Rossell, “Paulina with Lion, Mexico”

A Theater of Manners: Portraits of the Wealthy, Social Nobility and Politically Powerful

Portraits and Power: People, Politics and Structures is a collection of photographs showing the seldom seen hidden lives of the wealthy, social nobility and politically powerful persons of our times. The collection is currently on exhibition at The CCCS, Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, in Florence, Italy. The images portray the representatives of a social class that normally exercises careful control over the circulation of pictures of its members, whether in the form of family photographs or of official portraits.  The photographs unveil the game of social roles and attitudes conducted by the subjects, a veritable Theater of Manners, which demands enough sensitivity on the viewers’ part for them to focus on those details in the pictures that render hidden and non-immediately obvious features visible.

In addition, many of the photographs present an authentic and rare view of the architecture, furnishings and frameworks of some of the most exclusive private circles of New York City, circles that have a long and significant history, such as the renowned Metropolitan Club. Though there are over twenty such circles of this kind in New York City, outsiders will very seldom notice their presence. Presently, an increasing number of politicians and businessmen are choosing to meet in these secluded rooms, which public opinion often perceives as places of intrigue and the setting for various kinds of secret appointments. The photographs give a face to these exclusive meeting places, inviting viewers to  admire the timeless opulence of their rooms.

Portraits and Power: People, Politics and Structures

Slide Show: Theater of Manners/Portraits of the Wealthy, Nobility and Politically Powerful

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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Enter the Void: The Dark World of Sex, Money and Power

Enter the Void: The Dark World of Sex, Money and Power

Enter the Void is an award-winning film by French filmmaker Gaspar Noé, a psychedelic visual ride through the nighttime metropolis of drug dealers, drug abusers, pole dancers, love-hotel clients, murder and death.  Set primarily in Tokyo, and most often at night, the film is divided into two sections.  In the first part, a young American (Oscar) smokes some hallucinogens, and as the screen explodes with phosphorescent, biomorphic forms, he walks through the city, buying and selling drugs, and discussing the Tibetan Book of the Dead.  In the second section, Oscar’s spirit appears to separate from his apparently dying body, gazing down at the bleeding man curled on the floor.  The flesh will surely rot, but his spirit continues the journey, plunging even deeper into the night and darker memories.

This piece includes the VFX (Visual Effects) for Enter the Void, created by the French visual effects studio, BUF, which also produced the film.  Taking on almost 350 of the films shots over the course of 2 years, BUF added to and even rebuilt many shots to complete the spiritual and hallucinogenic vision of Gaspar Noé.  This article also presents the full-version of Mr. Noé’s movie, Enter the Void.

VFX for Enter the Void

Enter the Void: The Dark World of Sex, Money and Power

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