M.C. Escher was a skilled print-maker who produced amazing works of art that experimented with space and time, geometry, artistic composition, playing around with values in a drawing, capturing reflection, and so much more. This particular Escher exhibit is the first exhibition of its kind in a Boston museum featuring original prints and drawings. The exhibit consisted of over 50 of Escher's masterpieces, most of which were under-appreciated by the mainstream art world. I even learned that M.C. stands for Maurits Cornelis Escher. Escher loved Tessellations, arrangements on a two-dimensional surface of shapes that interlock without gaps or overlapping. The majority of Escher's prints are woodcuts, which he preferred for the art he was personally creating.
In the artwork "Day and Night" shown above, Escher explores the balance between two dimensional and three dimensional forms. The black and white birds in his woodcut are flying in opposite directions, morphing into a landscape below. Escher plays with the ideas of symmetry and contrast. The right and left sides of the paper are mirror images of each other. The white birds appear over a nighttime landscape, and the black birds appear over a daytime landscape.
For those interested: A Lithograph is printed from a flat surface, most often stone, where the artist would draw on stone with a greasy crayon. The stone after being treated so that the crayon will work with the printing ink on it and the stone surface is kept wet to repel the ink. A Woodcut is a relief print where the artist carves into a wooden block to create areas that are raised that will hold the ink that will be printed. A Linocut is a relief print made by gouging and cutting a piece of linoleum, then inking it, and printing it. Linocuts are preferred when printing flat areas of color since the linoleum has no grain as compared to wood. Some of Escher's works are Mezzotints, which is a labor intensive process, so Escher stopped doing it soon after starting it!
Shown here above, are two studies for "Drawing Hands" (shown below), completed around 1948 with graphite pencil. It's fascinating to see how these hands are drawing one another into existence. The two hands are in a never-ending state of drawing and appear to be bringing life to the other. On a technical note, it's very cool to see how Escher depicts the tendons and veins of the hand with only slight changes of value in light and dark.
In the Self-Portrait shown above, it's interesting to note that it is a very serious drawing that has a tremendous amount of detail in it. However, there are a lot of abstract elements in this Self-Portrait such as his wavy hair.
Many of Escher's works of art focused on impossible structures. They are akin to optical illusions, where the buildings seem to violate the laws of gravity and physics.
The theme of Reflection appears often in Escher's work. Below the distorted perspective of a room is captured in the reflection of a silver sphere. And shown below, in "Eye" he captures the reflection of a skull.
Here is Willem de Kooning's 1937-1938 Oil on Masonite painting titled, "Untitled (The Cow Jumps Over The Moon). I learned that de Kooning was trained as a commercial artist and his artistic styles move back and forth between abstract and figurative methods. This painting below is one of his earlier works, which reminds me of Joan Miro's work to some degree. His later artwork, for which he is more well-known, is more gestural and epitomizes the abstract expressionism movement.
I stared at this painting below "Grazing Horses IV (The Red Horses), painted in 1911 by Franz Marc for quite a long time. Not because I love horses, but rather it struck me as fascinating. Franz Marc painted horses a lot, and was known for his preoccupation with animals. I learned that this particular painting was actually his first work of art to enter a museum's collection, the same year it was made. What struck me was his use of unnatural colors in a very natural scene. It's hard to see in the photo, but I was intrigued with the use of bright red in only one or two spots on the horses.
Below is Jasper johns' "The Dutch Wives", encaustic on canvas, created in 1975. If you haven't read my blog article on the Jasper johns retrospective exhibition at The Broad Museum in Los Angeles, you can find it HERE.
Below is a wonderful painting from a German artist that I was unfamiliar with named Corinne Wasmuht. It is titled, "50 U Heinrich-Heine-Str." oil on wood and created in 2009. The painting is a portrayal of Berlin's Heinrich Heine Street subway station and its surrounding neighborhood. It's hard to tell scale from photographs, but this is a huge painting and it's scale immerses the viewer, but the paintings various perspective points and different scales of objects also disorient the viewer. It's really a magnificent painting and I can see why it was gifted to Harvard's Busch-Reisinger Museum.
Below are some fascinating samples taken from the Forbes Pigment Collection. Edward Forbes was the director of the Harvard Art Museums from 1909 to 1944. During his tenure, he traveled the world, collecting a large number of pigments for the library. Today, the Pigment Collection contains more than 2,500 samples that are beautifully displayed in cabinets on the 4th floor and are used to this day to help identify pigments used in historical artworks.
I came across this wonderful, short video on the Forbes Pigment Collection that was created about 2 years ago. Check it out!
For more information about The Harvard Art Museums, please visit their website: www.harvardartmuseums.org. I definitely recommend visiting the Museum as you're in for a wonderful experience!
The wall-sized mural/drawing depicts the word “plunder” in giant, curving strokes of Gregg shorthand, the stenographers’ tool that translates sounds into curving and bisecting lines. It is an abstract image for the many people who cannot read shorthand, yet is also a precise rendering of the word, “Plunder.” Lewis's work of art, called "Plunder" continues his ongoing investigations of the relationships between drawing, abstraction, and language. In a number of his previous artworks, he would feature sayings (in English lettering) from the book, "Life's Little Instruction Book."
If you take a close-up look at the wall drawing, you'll see his use of screws and graphite-dipped rubber bands to generate the large line drawing.
There are 19,000 rubber bands, each dipped in graphite, the same mark-making material found in pencils, and each fastened by screws drilled into the wall. Lewis created “Plunder” over five days in October with the help of nine Brandeis undergraduate students.
It's on view at the Rose Art Museum through June 10, 2018. for more information, please visit: www.brandeis.edu/rose
The Museum of Contemporary Art is actually comprised of three locations. The first is the MOCA Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood; the second is the MOCA on Grand Avenue; and the newest location is the Geffen Contemporary. There is actually a fourth location in Nevada. Yes! Nevada. The artist, Michael Heizer's artwork titled, "Double Negative" is a work of land art located in the Moapa Valley on Mormon Mesa near Overton, Nevada and was acquired into MOCA's permanent collection in 1985. If the artist's name rings a bell, it's because I recently wrote about his other monumental piece of artwork at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; CLICK HERE TO READ THE BLOG ARTICLE. I should note that time didn't permit me to visit the Pacific Design Center, or the Geffen Contemporary (or visit Nevada), so this post will only include my visit to the MOCA on Grand Avenue. I also visited the Broad Museum (Read On & See Below.) The Geffen Contemporary is just a 15-20 minute walk from MOCA Grand and admission to one museum grants you admission to the other museum.
The MOCA on Grand Avenue housed an entire gallery room with Mark Rothko paintings. While I can appreciate Rothko's artwork and acknowledge its importance in art history, his paintings are not my favorite. I do love all the colors, and I also love the shapes, however, there is ambiguity, blurring of lines, that doesn't hit me the right way. Rothko wanted viewers to stand close to his paintings to see the vertically stacked bands of color seem to float upon colored grounds.
This large painting on two panels is by the artist, Njideka Akunyili Crosby. It's called "Garden, Thriving" and was completed in 2016. Her artwork was quite fascinating to see in person and I've included a detailed photograph of the two-panel painting. Originally from Nigeria, the artist layers photographic imagery within the chairs' fabric and the plant leaves. The images are pictures of Nigerian pop stars, models, military dictators, celebrities, and the artist's own personal photographs. To create this artwork, she uses acrylic paint, transfers, colored pencils, and collage on paper. There is so much to see in this painting, you could look at it for 10-20 minutes, or longer!
I should also mention that the mural that is wrapped around the exterior of the museum is by this same artist!
Three other works by Jackson Pollock from MOCA’s permanent collection, were also on view. These were great examples of the diversity and range of materials Pollock used in his artwork from watercolor to collage.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California
This building is simply spectacular. Frank Ghery is one of my favorite architects and this is a perfect example of why that's the case. (In addition to all the awards he has won for his incredible architectural design). Frank Gehry was asked to devise a new home for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Walt Disney Concert Hall opened in 2003. Reflecting Gehry’s longtime passion for sailing, the structure’s exterior features are expanses of stainless steel that hover above Grand Avenue. Frank Gehry has devoted his career to disrupt the very meaning of design within architecture. From the iconic Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, and now the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Frank Gehry has proven time and again the beautiful magic of his whimsical, cutting-edge design.
The Broad is one of the finest contemporary art museums I have ever visited. Founded by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, the museum houses more than 2,000 works of art and holds one of the most prominent collections of postwar and contemporary art worldwide.
The Broad's third floor galleries show a rotating selection of artwork and, best of all, it is free! The first floor galleries are for special exhibitions, like the Jasper Johns exhibit "Something Resembling Truth" that runs through May 13, 2018.
So let's talk about the beautifully designed building... It's often called "The Veil and the Vault" because the building has gallery space as well as an extensive storage facility. In contrast with the neighboring Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Broad was designed to be porous and absorptive. There are wonderful olive trees that were planted in the plaza next to the museum.
There were a number of artworks by Jeff Koons at The Broad. "Balloon Dog (Blue)" is perhaps one of his series of works that is most famous. The artwork is made of stainless steel and wights 2,000 pounds. It was created as part of his Celebration Series, a group of paintings and sculptures that memorialize rituals, icons, and images related to birthdays, holidays, and other celebratory parties or occasions.
Roy Lichtenstein is one of my all-time favorite pop artists. He was one of the founders of Pop Art in the 1960s and used tiny dots in his artwork, similar to the printing style of comic-books. The dots were placed in such a way to create an image, imitating the way comic-books and newspapers were printed.
In addition to borrowing or seeking inspiration from newspaper ads, commercials, and comic books, Roy Lichtenstein also was inspired by some of his favorite artists like Picasso and Mondrian. See the two images below.
Here is a sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein, "Goldfish Bowl" created in 1977. It is painted and patinated bronze. On the right is a detailed view, showing that the sculpture is very two-dimensional, despite it looking 3-D.
I always love seeing paintings by Chuck Close. Chuck Close is known for his detailed paintings of faces, and later he was known for the deconstruction of that detailed portraiture. He explores portraiture and created this photo-realist painting called "John", painted in 1971-72. I included a detailed shot showing the incredible painting technique.
John Baldessari, "Tips for Artists Who Want to Sell" 1966-68, Acrylic on Canvas. John Baldessari never touched this painting, didn't paint it, didn't write the text. Here, it's the role of the artist as the facilitator of the artwork; creating the concept. The humor is that the view is shown the paintings message, but the message is text taken from an art magazine with tips on what art should be.
Another one of my all-time favorite artists is Andy Warhol. A short time after Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, Andy Warhol started to create silkscreen images of Marilyn. I learned that Warhol had recently just learned how to silkscreen, so this was a somewhat new process for him! In the painting above, titled, "Two Marilyns" created in 1962, Warhol captures the terrible fact of Marilyn's death, as if he was reporting the news. With silkscreens, the images deteriorate with each printing, which I believe is symbolic of her presence and then her fading into history with her death. It can also be interpreted as the volatility of fame and celebrity. I'm not sure how many versions of "Two Marilyns" were created, but I learned that the one pictured above from The Broad Museum was the 27th version of the silkscreen created.
Ellsworth Kelly worked with shapes and solid colors. The painting below, "Green Blue Red" created in 1963, uses colors and shapes to create contrast and bring attention to edges. In the above image on the left, the green rectangle and blue oval are vibrantly displayed against the red background. His composition almost goes against the principal of design of balance. Below, Kelly's oil on canvas painting, "Green Relief with Blue" was completed in 2011. It's actually two conjoined canvases and I've posted the photo of the same painting as seen from different angles. It almost acts like a 2 dimensional painting trying to be a sculpture, with different views from different angles.
Jasper Johns: "Something Resembling Truth"
A Special Exhibition at The Broad (Through May 13, 2018)
While The Broad Museum's main collection has free admission, this special exhibition required a special ticket with a timed entry. The exhibit was one of the best I've ever seen. The exhibit covered over 6 decades of artistic achievement from this iconic American artist. The comprehensive exhibit features more than 120 extraordinary paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures, by Jasper Johns and draws upon works from within The Broad's permanent collection as well as from loans from over 50 international public and private sources.
The imagery he used in his artwork were common items such as American flags, numbers, letters, targets, and light bulbs. Perhaps Johns’ most famous painting, "Flag (1954–55)" and is a fairly accurate representation of the American flag, in encaustic on collaged paper and fabric.
The American Flad is a geometric composition that has a strong sentimental and patriotic value in society. Jasper Johns' flags ofent trick the eye, or blur the lines between perception, reality, and illusion.
Jasper Johns began to incorporate objects and tools used in his artwork directly into the artwork's creation. Things like paintbrushes, color charts, and rulers. In the painting below, the "R" of "Red" is a neon light and wooden letters protrude outward from the canvas.
I highly recommend you to experience the Jasper John Exhibit if you can!
Also on the first floor was a very unique art installation by artist, Yayoi Kusama, titled "Infinity Mirrored Room--The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away." It is a mirror-lined room that includes LED lights that reflect endlessly in the mirrored space. It doesn't sound like much, but it is quite amazing to see. You need a separate timed ticket, which is free, and only one person can enter the room at a time for a duration of 45 seconds.
As you can see, the Broad Museum is quite an amazing experience. I highly recommend you visit The Broad in Los Angeles and experience the art scene in Downtown LA. For more information about The Broad, please visit their website: www.thebroad.org
Vinvent Van Gogh's "Irises" is one of The Getty's highlights. Van Gogh painted Irises in 1889 in the garden of the Saint-Remy asylum where he was being treated for his mental illness. It is oil on canvas. I learned that Van Gogh never really thought of this painting as a finished painting, but rather more of a study. It's a great example of his work that demonstrates how he painted en plein air. I'm fascinated with his brush techniques and how he layers color upon color upon color. I've included a detailed image of "Irises."
I really loved the special exhibit at The Getty Center called, "Cut! Paper Play in Contemporary Photography." This exhibit that runs through May 27, 2018 features the work of contemporary photographers who use paper in unique and innovative ways. Some of the artists created paper models with images from current events with the intention of photographing them to create their final piece of artwork. While some artists make folds, cuts, or layers to arrange photographs to create something entirely new and innovative.
The photo below is the artwork of artist, Soo Kim. To create her artwork, she cuts and layers imagery to create areas of negative space that gives her images a 3-D look. The shadows cast onto the wall are fascinating. I included two detailed shots showing some of the imagery seen in this cut photograph. the other detailed photo shows the beautiful shapes created by the shadows.
The grounds of The Getty are home to wonderful sculptures; there's something wonderful around every corner. Unlike most paintings, sculptures are typically created to be displayed outdoors. Outside, a three dimensional sculpture can be viewed from every angle, a variety of distances, and therefore creating an experience or a special moment for the viewer. The sculpture gardens include artwork from artists such as Joan Miro, Rene Magritte, Alexander Calder, Fernand Leger, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, and other artists.
Another amazing exhibit was the "Michelangelo to Degas" exhibit that featured new aquisitions that broke records in the art world. The Getty Museum purchased 16 major drawings and one painting from a private collector that includes works by Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto, Goya, Domenico Tiepolo, and Edgar Degas. Below are three of my favorite pieces from this small but powerful exhibit. From left to right: Edgar Degas' "After The Bath (Woman Drying Herself)" about 1886; Michelangelo's "Study of a Mourning Woman" about 1500-1505; and Edgar Degas' "Two Studies of Dancers" about 1873.
I encourage you to go visit The Getty when in Los Angeles--You won't be disappointed! I encourage you to take advantage of the wonderful tours and events that the Getty Center offers such as architectural tours, garden tours, exhibition tours, etc. Also, for families with children, there are Art Detective Cards where kids can find the artworks and solve mysteries while exploring the galleries. For visitors information, please visit: www.getty.edu.
Here's a photo of me at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in front of Chris Burden's sculpture, "Urban Light" installed in 2008. Burden restored over 200 cast-iron streetlamps to create this work of art. Burden was fascinated with urban life and how streetlamps are one of the fundamental building blocks of an urban metropolis. I found it interesting that the streetlamps were recently converted to LEDs, reducing the installations's annual energy consumption by 90%. The conversion to LEDs was funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation this year. Chris Burden was commissioned by Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum to create a similarly themed sculpture. You can see it by CLICKING HERE in an older blog article about the Rose Art Museum.
Chis Burden's "Metropolis II" depicts an urban landscape. Burden created "Metropolis I" seven years before "Metropolis II". The earlier work featured eighty Hot Wheels cars zooming around a model city. This work is much larger and includes 1,100 custom designed cars, 18 highways, and a vast array of buildings and structures. The artwork runs on select days and times, so plan ahead!
Richard Serra's "Band" is a massive sculpture that fills a huge exhibition hall from top to bottom, from front to back. The sculpture took two and a half years to develop. Made from over 200 tons of steel, it measures 12 feet high and over 70 feet in length.
Below are two views of the same sculpture, titled "Phoenix" by Alexander Liberman, created in 1974-75. I love how a different view of this sculpture creates an entirely new image, a new feeling, a new perspective.
"Levitated Mass" (Shown below) was conceived by artist, Michael Heizer, in 1969, but only realized in 2012. "Levitated Mass" is a 456-foot-long concrete pathway, over which sits a 340-ton granite boulder. As you walk down the pathway, it descends to fifteen feet in depth, directly underneath the massive boulder before ascending back up.
Below are two views of the same Alexander Calder sculpture created in 1964 titled, "Three Quintains (Hello Girls)." It is made from sheet metal and paint with motor. To me, it appeared to be moved by the wind, but apparently it has a motor that moves the mobile sculpture.
I love this painting below by Vincent Van Gogh, not because I love the imagery, but because it really doesn't look like a typical painting by Vincent Van Gogh! This painting, "Garden of the Rectory at Nuenen" was painted in 1885 in the Netherlands. The browns and grays are vastly different from the vivid, bright colors we are used to seeing in his later paintings when he lived in the south of France.
Below is one of Van Gogh's more typical painting style with all the beautiful colors and brushwork. The painting, "Hospital at Saint-Remy" is oil on canvas and was painted in 1889. It depicts the scenery at the institution in the south of France where Van Gogh was being treated for severe mental illness.
The Hammer Museum also has other galleries dedicated to contemporary artists. There was a really cool exhibit by the artist, Molly Lowe and another exhibit by the artist, Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Abu Hamdan uses a series of overhead projectors that cast images that have been created with a visualization tool that architects use to map the leakages of sound throughout a structure. The visuals are accompanied by audio that helps transform the research on a Syrian torture prison. I enjoyed looking at the exhibit from a visual perspective, but after reading about the artwork's meaning, it really makes me question my thoughts on conceptual art. Below is a photo of the small room that housed the projectors.
Perhaps the most bizarre (in a good way) exhibit was called "Stories of Almost Everyone" featured in the large exhibit hall . It's a group exhibition of 40 artists that is about society's willingness to believe the stories that are conveyed by works of contemporary art. It really hones in on conceptual art and how we look at material objects. Below is a photo of the exhibit hall showing some of the artworks. I'm including a YouTube video that was created by the Hammer Museum with Will Ferrell and Joel McHale, which is very funny and addresses the issues related to conceptual art head-on. Art can be confusing and the fact that the Hammer Museum pokes fun at this, I think, is really bold. "Stories of Almost Everyone" runs through May 6, 2018. For more information about The Hammer Museum, check out their website: https://hammer.ucla.edu/.
In recent years as you've read in my previous blog posts, I visited museums like the Whitney, the Guggenheim, MOMA, the Brooklyn Museum, the New Museum, the Jewish Museum, just to name a few. I encourage you to look through the Categories Listing on the right side of this page and click on what interests you, whether it be museums, cities, or famous artists.
The Met has been in the news this past week because it was announced that its admission policy is changing, requiring visitors to pay for admission (the Museum has been pay-as-you-wish for over 50 years). The new admission policy will go into effect on March 1, 2018. Residents of New York State, and students from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will remain pay-as-you-wish. Children under 12 will remain free. Be sure to check out their website for more information: www.metmuseum.org
I'd recommend purchasing your ticket(s) online and arriving to the Museum when it first opens. You will wish you had more time for your visit if you don't! The line for admission seemed to span the entire length of the huge museum, but having purchased an advance ticket, I was able to walk in a separate door, check in, and head straight into the galleries. Admission will get you into the Met Fifth Avenue, the Met Cloisters, as well as the new Met Breuer.
I didn't have the chance to visit the Met Cloisters and the Met Breuer. My visit to the Metropolitan Museum of New York on Fifth Avenue was amazing. First of all, it is massive. I forgot just how large the museum is that is located on the Upper East Side on Fifth Avenue between East 80th and East 84th Streets. This blog post covers my experience of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Fifth Avenue, mainly what was on exhibit in their Modern & Contemporary Art galleries, 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture, and some of their Asian Art collection. There were also two special exhibitions going on that I'll include: One on the hugely talented artist David Hockney. And the other on an artist that you may have heard of before, Michelangelo! At the end of this blog, I'll include a few other artistic surprises outside of the Met I encountered on my trip to NYC.
In Marc Chagall's painting shown below, "Le Pont de Passy et la Tour Eiffel," painted in 1911, we experience a fascinating view of Paris and the Eiffel Tower. The important thing about this painting is its composition. Chagall uses several converging diagonal lines: the bright red road, the orange cement wall, and the lines denoting the blue sky. If you think about the time period of the painting, it's interesting to note how it depicts some of the modern changes to the city of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower, the construction of the Pont de Passy Bridge and technologically modern train, electrical power-lines, and how it is juxtaposed alongside the element of the horses and wagon alluding to and earlier time in history.
With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, painters like Fernand Leger incorporated streamlined forms and contours of assembly-line production into their artwork. In the painting shown here, "Three Women by a Garden" painted by Fernand Leger in 1922, three generations of women are depicted. "Woman with a Cat" was painted in 1921.
Piet Mondrian is one of my favorite artists. Here is one of his iconic paintings called, "Composition" completed in 1921. It's an early example of the geometric style of painting that Mondrian called Neo-Plasticism, that emphasized planar relationships in painting, architecture, and design. Many people who look at my own personal artwork sometimes comment that they see hints of a Mondrian influence in my artwork. Here is Mondrian's painting at the Met, next to one of my paintings!
Mondrian used black lines to divide the canvas into rectangles that are sometimes painted in shades of blue and red, creating lighter hues by mixing primary colors with white. Later on in his artistic process, Mondrian stopped creating these hues and used pure, primary colors. In comparing his painting with mine, we each use an entirely different process to create our black lines and blocks of color. If you notice, the black line at the bottom right of his painting doesn't quite reach the bottom. To me, it detracts from the overall design. Here are two other artists, whose works are hung alongside Mondrian's at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I love Jackson Pollock's artwork! The painting below is called "Number 28" and was painted in 1950. His drip and pour paintings are widely recognized as his greatest achievement in art. He used simple sticks or paint stirrers and enamel house paint, sometimes poured right from the can, spilling lines directly onto raw canvas spread on the floor. What I love about his paintings are that the paint on the canvas we see is a record of the artist's creative process and his movement as he walked around all the sides of the canvas.
One of the Special Exhibitions on display during my visit was "Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer." Michelangelo Buonarroti lived from 1475 to 1564 and is celebrated for his excellence of the power of drawing and invention that provided the foundation for all the arts. His drawing skills, design, sculpture, painting, and architecture all combined to give him the reputation of "The Divine One" by his contemporaries. The exhibition showed a range of over 200 works by the artist that was pulled together from 50 public and private collections across the United States and Europe. The exhibit opened in November and is on view through February 12, 2018. Below are just two of his incredible artworks I saw at the Met. #MetMichelangelo
During my visit there was a magnificent exhibit of the British artist David Hockney that showcases 60 years of his art career. I highly recommend visiting this exhibit that is at the Met Fifth Avenue through February 25, 2018. David Hockney's painting address translating movement, space, and time into a two dimensional painting. Hockney is probably best known for depicting California swimming pools and backyards in the mid-1960s. Many of his paintings are quite large, perhaps over 6 or 7 feet square. I love how he uses Acrylic paint on canvas.
Alexander Calder created a series of moving sculptures called mobiles that he created in a diverse range of abstract configurations. Shown here, is a free-moving wind mobile that is carefully balanced on a movable pivot point. I learned that he was inspired by the work of Joan Miro, and the similar shapes and forms can be observed in Calder's mobiles. In the video below, you can see the kinetic nature of his mobile, "Mobile" created in 1941 from painted aluminum, steel, steel rod, and wire.
Here are some of Claude Monet's masterpieces...
And lastly, I came across these wonderful sculptures created by artist, Jaume Plensa, that are permanently installed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel near Grand Central Terminal. I learned that these two huge sculptures are reminiscent of the Moai sculptures on Easter Island.
Overall, my visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was simply amazing. I could have spent the entire day looking at all the art and taking photos of every piece of artwork, but I could only include these 6 dozen or so photos! I wish I had the time to visit Met Cloisters and Met Breuer as well. Well, reason for another visit! I hope you enjoyed this blog and I welcome your comments! Have a friend who would enjoy reading this blog? Then please share it with them via email or social media! You can click on the Facebook and Twitter buttons below!
Last month I visited Napa Valley and had the pleasure of visiting Yountville, St. Helena, and Napa. The region of Napa Valley is known for incredible wine, so it was no surprise that it had incredible art as well.
During my visit, I visited a few wineries and did a few wine-tastings all in two days. I learned that many of the vineyards in the area have art galleries associated with them. I'll write about the artistic things that I came across, however, my blog is by no means a comprehensive listing of all the artistic offerings of this incredible region in California.
I had an amazing time at Kelham Vineyards, where I was lucky to have an incredibly delicious, gourmet dinner. Kelham Vineyards also sells a number of prints by the French artist Gerard Purvis. The artsist is best known for creating original sculptures & prints made from wine bottle foils. To my knowledge, Gerard Purvis' work can only be found in the United States at Kelham Vineyards. For more information, please visit: KelhamVineyards.com and kelhamvineyards.com/Puvis.html.
The next day, the first stop was in St. Helena at the Alpha Omega Winery, which was one of my favorites: aowinery.com. At our next stop, I enjoyed a private luncheon in Yountville at Cliff Lede, which is where I came across some very cool art. For more information about Cliff Lede, please visit: cliffledevineyards.com. Outside of the private tasting room on a beautiful terrace were these two incredible sculptures. I only wish my photos were better to really capture these sculptures. I posted the photos here:
The private tasting room, called the White Room, named after the Beatles White album, also had some very cool art in it. The lunch for our private party was served directly in the Tank Room where we saw the innovative technology used in producing their delicious wine. Looking up toward the White Room, were some beautiful paintings, which I posted here below.
That evening, I dined in Napa and had the pleasure of strolling around the town and exploring a number of public art sculptures in town. Many of the sculptures were part of the Napa Art Walk. The Napa Art Walk is a bi-annual, rotating exhibition of juried sculpture created by artists from the Western United States. For more information, please visit: www.napaartwalk.org.
Based in Napa is the Art Association of Napa Valley, which is a private, nonprofit arts organization that enhances life for the Napa Valley by supporting arts and culture in the area. Their website includes an artist listing, newsletters and class and event listings. Located in Downtown Napa at 1307 First Street is an art gallery that features the work of members of the Art Association Napa Valley. For more information, please visit www.artnv.org.
The Yountville Art Walk was one of the highlights of my trip to Napa Valley. Known for the finest food and wine in the country, Yountville is also known for art. The Napa Valley Museum is located in Yountville. For more information, visit www.napavalleymuseum.org.
Beautiful sculptures lined the streets of Yountville. I learned that in 2010, Gordon Huether partnered with Yountville Arts to establish the Yountville Art Walk. More information about Gordon Huether can be found on his website, www.gordonhuether.com. The sculptures are for sale, with a percentage of the proceeds going to Yountville Arts Fund to support their arts-related activities, programs, and events. Based on my observation, the sculptures ranged in price from $6,000 to $60,000! Yountville was a terrific place to explore and experience some great public art. Below are some photos of just a few of the sculptures I had the pleasure of seeing during my time in Yountville.
For more information about Yountville Arts, please visit www.yountvillearts.com.
See this beautiful, bright yellow painted piano reminded me of the piano I painted as part of the Celebrity Series of Boston's Play Me I'm Yours StreetPianos Boston 2016 Public Art Installation. To learn more about the piano I painted, please click the link to visit: StreetPianos Boston City Hall Plaza 2016.
There is so much to see and do in the Napa Valley Region. I barely scratched the surface of the art offerings the region has to experience, but I hope that this blog article inspires you to visit the area and explore on your own! I know that I'm already excited about the possibility of returning to the Napa Valley and exploring more the art world has to offer!
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Puerto Rico and traveling to various islands in the Caribbean on a family vacation this summer. It was a wonderful trip, filled with all the expected highlights one would expect such as sun, sand, beach, sightseeing, and adventure. But I didn't expect to see some incredible artwork during my time in Puerto Rico and on my cruise vacation.
I should note that by no means is this blog article a complete and accurate picture of the art of Puerto Rico or Curaçao. The following are just a few of the things I came across that struck my eye. In Puerto Rico, I did not have the chance to visit the Puerto Rico Museum of Art http://www.mapr.org/es or the San Juan Museum http://sanjuanciudadpatria.com/en/services/arts-culture-and-innovation/san-juan-museum/sanjuanciudadpatria.com/en/services/arts-culture-and-innovation/san-juan-museum/
What I discovered weren't major art installations in world-renowned art museums, or famous public art, but rather art that really captured the flavor of the local area.
After my visit to the Curaçao Museum, I took a walk near the water to get into the main shopping area. Along the water in Curaçao, is the famous floating pontoon bridge. This public artwork by Frank Van Der Loo was placed along the water near the pontoon bridge's entrance. Although the coloring of the artwork was faded (especially apparent from the real-life view across the water of the characteristically vibrantly-colored buildings), I really liked this mural. It reminded me of the mosaic shapes I use in my personal artwork. Especially the mosaic-like shapes shown in the sky and in the lower portion of the mural.
In Curaçao, I came across a storefront that is operated by the Art Foundation Curaçao. They teach classes and provide art programs for at-risk youth. Art Foundation Curaçao is a non-profit organization founded based on the idea that people of Curaçao are creative and talented and that Curaçao has all the ingredients to become an art destination.
On sale in the gallery were "Curaçao Cubes" created by local children in foster homes in a workshop titled "Big Power of Small Blocks." The proceeds from the sale of the approximately 4"x4" painted wood blocks go back to the foster homes for more free art classes.
One of its projects is the Plein Air Curaçao. Plein Air painting is a painting created in the open air; a form of rapid painting with the start and ending of a painting usually in one session of about 2-3 hours. Natural light changes over time, so the quick nature of painting with broad strokes creates impressions of reality as seen through the eyes of the artist.
Plein Air Curaçao is a bi-annual international art festival. For more information, please visit www.pleinaircuracao.com.
Not far from there was the Jewish Cultural Historical Museum, adjacent to the Mikve Israel-Emanuel (the oldest Synagogue in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere, The museum housed numerous Jewish ritual objects as well as information about Dutch Jewry and the Jewish community of Curaçao. For more information, please visit: http://www.snoa.com/museum
I should mention the Cruise ship's art galleries and the on-board art auctions that are common on all the major cruise-lines. The art auctions were operated by Park West and all I care to say about this is that I found this online article that I found to be an accurate representation of my experience on the ship. Although I did not purchase any artwork from Park West on the ship, I did find it to be a fascinating experience interacting with their staff, viewing their artwork, and participating in their on-board auction champagne reception event.
That said, the cruise was wonderful and all the artwork I saw on this trip was amazing. I highly recommend visiting Curaçao and I welcome your comments!
I had the pleasure of visiting the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, which is always an incredible experience. There are always new exhibits to see as well as a chance to see some of one's favorite works of art since visiting last.
Henri Matisse, perhaps one of the most famous artists in the world, was the subject of a fascinating exhibit. The "Matisse in the Studio" exhibit pushed the limits of how one experiences Matisse's work. Having seen his artwork countless of times at museums all over the world, including visiting the Matisse Museum in the south of France, I've never quite have seen artwork presented in this unique format.
Henri Matisse was an artist who revolutionized 20th Century art. This international exhibition examines the critical importance of the objects in Matisse's studio and how they influenced his creative process and finished artwork.
The exhibit has a number of thematic sections that each focus on different stages of his career as an artist. Matisse didn't limit his work to one medium like painting or sculpture, but also did many drawings, cut-outs, collages, prints, and more. What makes this exhibit particularly fascinating is that the artwork is presented next to the objects that helped inspire Matisse's creativity and served as subject matter for much of his work. Matisse found inspiration everywhere: In sculpture, in a chocolate pot, textiles, furniture.
Below, the pewter jug served as inspiration for the painting below. You can see how the curved lines of the jug, the waviness, are imitated in the lines of the background tapestry, the woman's robe, and the actual jug he painted as a vase of flowers. As you can see in the close-up photos below, the wavy lines are not painted on, but Matisse rather scratched the paint off the surface of the canvas. This reminds me of how I used this technique in some of my artwork. You can see some of those paintings here and here.
Show above is a table that appears in the painting to the left. And below is a female torso Roman sculpture that Matisse used to create the "Formes, Plate IX" for the illustrated book "Jazz". Matisse used cut paper as its own medium. He also uses Guache paint on paper that he cut and pasted on canvas to create "Mimosa" and "Panel with Mask". The movie, "A Model for Matisse" discussed the relationship between Matisse and his longtime friend and nun, Sister Jacques-Marie. Their relationship began when she started working for him as his nurse, but later she often served as a model for Matisse's most famous artworks. The nun also helped paint the paper that Matisse used for his cutouts. The sister was instrumental in helping Matisse design the Vence Chapel (the Chapelle du Rosaire), one of his greatest accomplishments in his career as an artist. The two large cutouts were designs for the robes that the priests were to wear while celebrating Catholic Mass.
The "Matisse in the Studio" exhibit runs from April 9, 2017 to July 9, 2017. For more information, please visit www.mfa.org.
Art of the Americas. Level 3
Below is just a few snapshots I took during this visit to the MFA, some of my old favorites as well as some new favorites. Below from are some wonderful photos of Piet Mondrian's work, "Composition with Blue, Yellow, and Red," Georgia O'Keefe's "White Rose with Larkspur No. 2," Joseph Stella's "Old Brooklyn Bridge" large, oil on canvas painting, Pablo Picasso's sculpture, and his "The Bull" series completed in 1945 and 1946.
Also below are two of Jackson Pollock's incredible paintings, along with a close up shot of his drip-work, splattering, etc. and lastly, I've included a piece by Charles Sheeler titled "On a Shaker Theme" and an incredible work of art by Stuart Davis, "Apples and Jug" where he takes the traditional still-life and transforms it into his modernist universe, with elements of cubism and even of advertising imagery.
In the Contemporary Art galleries, two pieces struck me on this visit. One is Carmen Herrera's, "Blanco y Verde (#1)", Acrylic on Canvas. Originally from Havana, Cuba, Herrera studied painting in New York. The simplicity of the forms here was really striking. I love the exactness of her straight lines, and her minimal use of color. We don't know if there is a background or a foreground, and we almost lose our-self within the painting completely. Carmen Herrera recently had a retrospective exhibit of her work a the Whitney Museum of American Art a few months ago.
Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross
This powerful exhibit recently opened in March and will be on view through July 30, 2017.
“Memory Unearthed” is a very moving exhibit that provides a rare glimpse of life during the Holocaust. Holocaust Survivor, Henryk Ross took this incredible display of photographs of life inside the Lodz Ghetto from 1940 to 1944.
Henryk Ross was confined to the Lodz ghetto in 1940 and enlisted by the Nazi regime as a bureaucratic photographer taking photos for Jewish identification cards, for propaganda materials, etc. Secretly, Henryk Ross documented the horrible living conditions and persecution of the Jews under the Nazis. Ross his the photos and negatives before the last of the Jews were sent from the ghetto to the Auschwitz and Chelmno death camps. The photos seen in this exhibit survived because Ross buried the photos and negatives hoping to provide a historical record of the persecution of the Jews.
All the photos were very powerful to see. However, there was one piece of artwork that I found completely incredible and breathtaking from an artistic perspective. I've included the photo below. It is actually a modern print from an original 35mm negative, depicting Ghetto police escorting residents for deportation. The image itself and the unfortunate and horrifying circumstances in the photo are very compelling. But beyond the face value of what is happening in the photo, you can see that the negative is partially destroyed, burned, or deteriorating. From one perspective, the visual piece of artwork is quite beautiful and striking. And from another perspective, it is quite ugly, off-putting, sad, and even symbolic. This exhibit helps us Never Forget the horrors of the Holocaust and its victims of persecution and death.
Overall, this was an incredible visit to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. With every visit, there are new things to see, experience, learn, and explore.
Part 1: Barcelona Architecture
One cannot talk about Barcelona's architecture without mentioning Antoni Gaudi. Part of the Modernista movement of the late 19th Century, Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona's most famous architect. Almost anywhere you look in Barcelona, Gaudi had some part in its creation, from the houses, apartment buildings, churches, sidewalks, parks, and even the city benches lining the streets. In Modernism, nature was a huge element present in decorative motifs as well as present in the actual architectural structure of Gaudi's buildings. Below are some of Gaudi's masterpieces, but there are dozens of others throughout Barcelona to visit and experience.
I really enjoyed seeing Casa Batllo, which is situated on a main street in the heart of Barcelona. Mosaic is everywhere. The Chimneys of the building are works of art. The roof is representational of a dragon's back. The exterior facade demonstrates Gaudi's expert use of texture and color. Below are some photos of the exterior of the building as well as the interior. The sidewalk tiles as shown in the photos below line the streets and feature an underwater, marine-life motif.
Gaudi's Sagrada Familia is innovative and highly symbolic. The architect's objective was to explain the teachings of the Church through sculpture and architecture. Following Gaudi's death, work on the Sagrada Familia continues to be carried out by collaborating architects and artists. The project is expected to be complete by 2026, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Gaudi's death.
The stained glass windows were perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of the Sagrada Familia. The colors were so vivid and bright.
Park Guell is another one of Gaudi's masterpieces. It was build between 1900 and 1914. It was opened as a public park where Gaudi let his imagination run wild with his incredible use of mosaics throughout the park. Below are some photos of Park Guell. The mosaic work is unbelievable and reminds me very much of the mosaic illusion that I paint in many of my own paintings.
La Pedrera is also known as Casa Mila. It was completed in 1912 as an apartment building. There are curved walls that seemingly defy the laws of gravity. The rooftop is amazing at night and includes all of Gaudi's architectural trademarks. Bricks in the attic create arched ceilings and are uniquely used using the log side of the brick, which also features the brick-maker's fingerprints. There are terrific wrought iron balconies and exquisite ceramic mosaics. I highly recommend visiting La Pedrera by booking a night tour, which includes a full tour of the building and a surreal visual light display on the rooftop under the stars, followed by a champagne toast and cookies!
Although my time in Barcelona didn't permit me to visit the Palau Guell, I should mention that it is an excellent example of one of Antonio Gaudi's early architectural masterpieces. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is a magnificent example of domestic architecture in the context of Art Nouveau and one of the first important commissions Gaudi received at the start of his career. It is located just steps away from La Rambla, not far from La Boqueria.
Part 2: Barcelona's Art Museums and Fine Art
A Guide to Visiting Barcelona's Museums:
If you plan to visit Barcelona, I highly recommend purchasing the Barcelona Museum Pass, also known as an art passport from ArtTicket BCN, which will give you access to six Barcelona museums, including the ability to skip the lines. The Passport give you access to the Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso), the Joan Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro), the National Museum of Art of Catalunya (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), the Antoni Tapies Museum (Fundacio Antoni Tapies), the CCCB, and the MACBA. I purchased the passport online (for 30 Euros), and simply showed the ticket to the first museum I visited to receive the passport. The passport is stamped upon entry at each museum. To learn more about the ArtTicket BCN, check out their website: http://articketbcn.org/en/barcelona-museum-pass. I should also mention that it is very important to check the hours of each of the museums as they vary significantly. Most museums, with a few exceptions, are closed on Mondays. Also, all city museums are free at last one afternoon per month, so be sure to check the websites in advance for hours and special exhibition dates.
If you're interested in contemporary art, check out this website that provides a network devoted to contemporary art in Barcelona: http://www.artbarcelona.es/circuit/en/.
Picasso Museum in Barcelona
The Museu Picasso of Barcelona is a wonderful center documenting Pablo Picasso's early years of apprenticeship. With over 4,000 works of art in its permanent collection, you'll see why this museum is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Barcelona.
The Picasso Museum highlights the artist’s relationship with the city of Barcelona. I learned that Pablo Picasso's father was a teacher at the San Telmo Fine Art and Crafts School. and had an important influence on Picasso's future career as an artist, who demonstrated a strong interest in art from a very young age. There are some drawings and small panels in oil that give an idea of his efforts to give his own creativity free rein and explore new techniques by taking in his immediate environment.
In Barcelona, Pablo Picasso continued his art education at the La Llotja Fine Art School. The photos here show his artwork featuring Barceloneta Beach and two ports. After taking these photos, I learned that photos were not allowed, so unfortunately, I do not have photos showing the rest of the museum. This Picasso museum focused on his earlier works, and very few on display were "well-known Picasso masterpieces." The museum highlighted Picasso's creative process of some of his work of his Blue Period. Some of the highlights of the museum included Las Meninas Series. This was a series of paintings based on the Velazquez painting Las Meninas.
For more information, please visit www.museupicasso.bcn.cat.
Fundacio Joan Miro
The Joan Miro Museum (Fundacio Joan Miro) is located in the Montjuic area of Barcelona and houses the work of Joan Miro as well as temporary exhibitions of 20th and 21st Century art. The collection of paintings, sculptures, drawings displayed at the museum is one of the most comprehensive collections representing every stage of Miro's career as an artist. There are paintings related to Surrealism and works based on the Spanish Civil War. Miro's work on large canvases in the late 1970s onward demonstrate his use of large color fields and painting with free gesture.
For more information, please visit www.fmirobcn.org.
Museums Further Afield from Barcelona:
In the town of Girona, I visited the Museum of Jewish History. The goal of the Museum is to preserve the history of the Jewish communities of Catalunya. Art at this museum included various Jewish ritual objects. Be sure to visit if you are in Girona, which is not far from Figueres, where the Dali Museum is located.
On of my favorite pieces was this one below entitled, "Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea which at a distance of 20 meters is transformed into the portrait of Abraham Lincoln (Homage to Rothko).” Gala was his wife and muse for many years.
The exterior of the museum is a work of art as well. Statues with loaves of bread on their heads. Inside the museum in the open air courtyard is a spectacular and wild work of art called, "Rainy Taxi". If you put a Euro in the slot located at the base of the artwork, it will rain inside the taxi, and an umbrella will open up on top of the artwork!
The museum includes paintings by Old Masters with works from the 13th Century to the 18th Century. The largest section of the museum is devoted to works from the 19th and 20th Centuries and includes a wonderful selection of Catalan painting and sculpture of the Modern period. I was very impressed with their collection of paintings by the great masters of French and international impressionism (Degas, Sisley, Monet, Pisarro, Sargent, etc.). Picasso and Dali, avant-garde artists are also well represented!
Part 3: Barcelona's Public Art
The streets of Barcelona are filled with art by world renowned artists. Below are just a few of these that I came across on my artistic journey.
If your favorite color is blue, like it is mine, then you'll enjoy the exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum called, "Infinite Blue." The exhibition's title hints at the connection between the color blue and the idea of spirituality as written by Russian artist Vasily Kandinsky, "On the Spiritual in Art." Blue is often associated with the heavens and the spiritual because blue is the color of the sky.
The artwork featured in "Infinite Blue" feature every variety of the color blue from ancient times to the present. The exhibit includes a wide range of artwork from the museum's permanent collection of Asian, African, Egyptian, American, Native American, and European art: paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, etc. My understanding is that this exhibit will expand to other areas of the first floor of the museum over time.
My favorite blue is Cobalt Blue. On display were a variety of blue and white ceramics from the Middle East. The use of Cobalt in the Middle East likely inspired the Chinese to use the pigment.
In the artwork below and the detailed close-up, artist Arlene Schechet has created handmade papers from abaca, a plant native to the Phillippines. The Flow Blue series, from which this work derives, is named after a British transfer pottery from the early 19th century. For more more information on the exhibit, use the hashtag #infinitebluebkm.
The museum also had a number of wonderful pieces from Alex Katz, Georgia O'Keeffe, Diego Rivera, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Edgar Degas, and Auguste Rodin. Here are a few paintings on exhibit. Having walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn over the Brookyn Bridge earlier that day, I really appreciated Georgia O'Keefe's painting of the Brooklyn Bridge. I had always thought that most of her artwork was in the same genre of the Ram's Head painting below. Georgia O'Keefe's painting of the Brooklyn Bridge emphasizes the abstract elements of the composition. This painting was one of her last works of art painted in New York before relocating to New Mexico in 1949.
Luce Center for American Art: Visible Storage Study Center:
One of the many wonderful surprises at the Brooklyn Museum was discovering the Visible Storage Study Center. The beautiful display gives you an inside look at how museums work and provides you with a glimpse of the breadth and scope of the Brooklyn Museum's collections. The Visible Storage Study Center contains artwork organized and identified by the accession number assigned by the museum's registrar. Visitors can learn more information about the object by entering an item's identification number on a special web site at computers located throughout the space.
I had the opportunity to see the Marilyn Minter "Pretty/Dirty" exhibit that was on display at the Brooklyn Museum from November 4, 2016 to April 2, 2017. The exhibit featured many over-sized paintings showing seductive and sexual visual statements. The artwork included paintings and videos mostly sexual in nature. The photographs, paints, and videos in one gallery focus on licking, dripping, and devouring mouths. I believe it is a commentary on American culture's inexhaustible appetite for glamour and stimulation. I've included a few photos from the exhibit below.
The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago is the most significant icon of 1970s American feminist art. It took Judy Chicago 5 years to complete the project from 1974 to 1979 with the help of hundreds of collaborators. The Dinner Party represents 1,038 important mythical and historical women, most of whom had been neglected by history. The Dinner Party consists of a series of Entry Banners, Heritage Panels, a Heritage Floor, and a huge ceremonial triangular banquet table measuring 48 feet on each side with a total of 39 place settings. The Dinner Party is housed a the Brooklyn Museum as the central installation of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
The Table is in the shape of an open equilateral triangle, a symbol of equality. Each place setting represents a woman of great historical significance, either real of mythical. The Heritage Floor beneath the table is comprised of 2,300 porcelain tiles.
The Brooklyn Museum was a fascinating experience. Check out the Museum in you are in the vicinity. You won't be disappointed!
Just recently, on February 14th, I came across an editorial article on Artsy.net by Isaac Kaplan entitled, "Do Francis Picabia's Anti-Semitic Remarks Tarnish his MoMA Retrospective?" After reading the article I learned about Picabia's anti-Jewish feelings (and womanizing behaviors). MoMA's exhibit apparently does address this part of Picabia's character; however, I must have missed this as I walked through the gallery. To answer Kaplan's question personally. I think it does, in fact, tarnish his reputation. I really enjoyed his artwork during my visit to the MoMA. But after learning more about the artist, I can't say that I can admire him. Famous artists are people that I want to look up to and admire. They are people that I want the next generation of artists to look up to. And so, while I can appreciate his artwork at face value and his artistic technique, learning about his anti-Semitic behavior does take him down several notches in my book. Similarly, just like we want our kids to admire our professional sports players, it's hard to have our kids look up to them if they do drugs, treat women badly, are anti-gay, or are anti-Jewish, or discriminate in any way. So, I'm kind of let down after my great experience viewing his work in the gallery. But for this blog article, I will continue to proceed sharing my thoughts on the exhibit as if I hadn't learned of his anti-Semitic feelings and behavior.
Here is the link to the article for your information: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-francis-picabias-anti-semitic-remarks-tarnish-moma-retrospective
As I walked though the gallery rooms, the one thing that struck me the most was how his artistic style changed throughout his lifetime. Picabia was an artist of many genres, and his body of work lacks consistency and categorization. He shifted styles over time. The exhibit highlights his impressionist landscapes, abstract works, paintings, photo-based nudes, etc.
Here are some photos from the exhibit.
These two Picabia paintings shown below reminded me of one of my own paintings that I painted earlier this past year, "Woof Woof! Gotta Get My Bone." All three works utilize black lines in a similar fashion. I should note that my painting was created without ever seeing Picabia's work; I am just noting the coincidence in how we both used these lines in the same fashion.
"Revolutionary Impulse: the Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde" was another wonderful temporary exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art that runs through March 12, 2017. The fact that all the artwork on display comes directly from MOMA's permanent collection, demonstrates how wonderful MOMA is and how impressive their permanent collection is. Of all the artwork on view, there were two artists whose work caught my eye.
The two photos below are from the Russian artist Alexandra Exter. The oil on canvas painting on the left, called "Theatrical Composition" was very intriguing to me. I loved the colors, shapes, and overall composition of the painting. The other smaller works, pictured to the right are six designs from various stage sets like The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and others.
To photograph all the well-know paintings from all the famous artists would be a huge undertaking. So I'm including a small selection of some of my favorite pieces along with some detailed close-up photos from the following artists: Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, Henri Matisse, Fernand Leger, Jim Dine, Andy Warhol, Edward Ruscha, Josef Albers, James Rosenquist, Robert Rauschenberg, and Sol LeWitt. I have the close-up photos to show the brushstrokes, the detailed use of color, and a glimpse into what the artist was focused on while painting their masterpiece.
Pablo Picasso's Guitar Sculpture (3 views), and below, "Vase of Flowers" & "Les Demoiselles d'Avignon
I highly recommend visiting the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. More information about the museum can be found on their website: www.moma.org.
Part of the Museum's focus is dedicated to the subject of the Jewish Journey, Jewish culture, and Jewish continuity. The main exhibition is about the Jewish experience as it has evolved from ancient times to the present day. The exhibit highlights the question of how Judaism has been able to thrive for thousands of years across the globe, even in challenging times, through Jewish texts and objects.
Jewish texts have been the central factor in the survival and evolution of Jewish continuity. The objects on exhibit such as Torah scrolls, other religious scrolls, and Jewish ritual objects, all reflect the different ways Jews have expressed their sense of what it means to be Jewish throughout history, in various countries, cultures, and religious contexts. The Culture and Continuity exhibit is located on two floors of the museum. There is so much to say about the exhibit, but most of what I will blog about will focus on the visual arts.
After the destruction of the Second Temple, and beginning in the 3rd Century CE, synagogues were often decorated with beautiful mosaic floors and wall frescoes. Jewish symbols included biblical figures, Hebrew writing, the menorah, and the shofar. Below are some photos of one of these mosaic floors, including a detailed/close-up photo. These mosaics reminded me of my signature style of my personal artwork, creating the illusion of mosaic tile using acrylic paint for my paintings.
I was particularly interested in the paintings at the museum, many of which I will highlight in this blog article. Max Weber, who lived from 1881 to 1961, is perhaps one of the most notable artists who portrayed Jewish life in his artwork. Max Weber was born in Russia and emigrated to the the US. Below on the left is a photo of Weber's famous oil on canvas painting, "The Talmudists," painted in New York in 1934. In his early years, he was a great admirer of the artist, Paul Cezanne, and studied art in Paris from 1905-1908. Cezanne's influence can be seen in his earlier works, including the painting, "Still Life with Challah" exhibited at the Jewish Museum. Most of his early works were still lifes and focused on Jewish ritual objects for Shabbat. By 1919, Weber abandoned formal experimentation and turned to Jewish subjects in pursuit of the spiritual.
Marc Chagall was another famous Jewish artist who had work displayed at the Jewish Museum. Chagall had a lifelong fascination with the Bible and much of his artwork expresses his passion for using his artistic expression to convey the imagery of the Bible. A lithograph on paper, "Moses Displays the Ten Commandments" from "The Story of the Exodus", 1966, is shown to the right.
Shown below, this 1986 large acrylic on canvas painting by David Reeb, an Israeli artist, titled "Map of Israel" is one of a series of paintings that incorporated the pre-1967 Israeli border, known as the "Green Line." Reeb was one of the most outspoken Israeli artists of his generation and was preoccupied with the political implications of the map of Israel. The ongoing conflict between Israel and her neighbors and the conflict around national borders is the major theme in his series of paintings. In this painting, Reeb portrays the outline of the realistic map as the main motif on an abstract patterned surface. In the photos below, I've included 3 photos showing some of the incredible detail of this fascinating painting.
Another fascinating exhibit called "You Don't Have to Be Jewish" featured a compilation of television commercials and clips from the museum's National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting, paired with print advertising campaigns, works of art, and more. The exhibit explores material produced for Jewish audiences or with Jewish content and the way religion, ethnicity, and identity play out on American television. The exhibition closed in early February.
Also on exhibit from November 4, 2016 to March 26, 2017 was "Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design." Pierre Chareau was a celebrated French furniture designer, architect, and art collector. The exhibit showcases rare furniture, lighting fixtures, and interiors, and even featured virtual reality glasses to immerse the viewer in the architectural renderings.
One of the most fascinating exhibits that I've seen this past year was "Take Me (I'm Yours)." The exhibit is based on a 1995 exhibit at the Serpentine Gallery in London, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and the artist Christian Boltanski.
In a conventional museum experience, it is the visitor that consumes art by looking at the paintings, sculptures, or photographs on exhibit. Typically, one is not allowed to touch the art, and certainly not allowed to take them home! Take Me (I'm Yours) defies this well-established standard by featuring works by more than 40 artists from different generations and from all over the globe: The goal of the exhibit is to encourage you to not only touch the artwork, but also to take them away with you and keep them for yourself. Some of the things I walked away with were a can of lemon-flavored sparking water, photographs of glamorous women from the 1950s, stencils, temporary tattoos, pins, hard candies, pill capsules, fabric patches, and more!
The exhibition ended in February. I've posted a few photos below. Photos of visitor experiences can be found online using the hashtag: #TakeMeImYoursNYC.
During my visit, I saw a drop-in art workshop underway, where families were creating works of art together inspired by exhibitions currently on view at the Museum. On Sundays, families can participate in studio art sessions, experience a simulated archaeological dig, or experience the museum's exhibitions with a printed Kids Gallery Guide. The Museum hosts family concerts, workshops and vacation week programming, and workshops for kids with disabilities. For more information, visit: TheJewishMuseum.org/Families.
The main exhibit during my visit was entitled "Pixel Forest," which is the first New York survey of the Swiss artist, Pipilotti Rist. The exhibit opened in October 2016 and is only on view through January 15, 2017. Pipilotti Rist is a pioneer of video art installations that blend visual displays with sound and immerse the viewer in a completely new environment from the moment the museum's elevator doors open! The exhibit takes up almost the entire museum's exhibition space on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Floors of the museum and includes work from the artist’s entire career.
I really enjoyed walking though "Administrating Eternity" which featured video projections on numbers sheets of transparent fabric suspended from the ceiling. Walking through the exhibit, you feel immersed and even part of the experience. You see other people, their shadows, seeing parts of the video and missing segments of others, fabric moving with the breeze as you walk by, etc.
One of her pieces included a chandelier made from undergarments. Another unique and very cool installation was "Pixelwald" and comprises 3,000 LED lights that are suspended from the ceiling and change colors over time. I loved the whole experience walking through, hearing the sounds the artist chose, looking at the uniquely-designed shapes of the lights. Every one was different and beautiful. For all of Pipilotti Rist’s pieces, the sounds of heartbeats, forest sounds, and oceansounds almost put you in a trance. If you visit the exhibit, take some time to sit, and experience some of the videos, which are quite fascinating and visually esoteric. Some of the footage was even filmed underwater. I've included some photos of the exhibit below.
I should also mention Chris Burden's "Ghost Ship" that was part of his exhibit at the Museum in 2013. The ship was conceived to sail autonomously and unmanned off the coast of Scotland. In 2005, the "Ghost Ship" did, in fact, sail 400 miles! It remains on the facade of the museum's exterior as a tribute to his legacy. You can see a photo of the ship in the photo at the start of the blog article. It's quite something to see and represents some of his work other than the permanent installation at Brandeis University in front of the Rose Art Museum and at LACMA.
For more information about the New Museum, check out their website: www.newmuseum.org.
The exhibit's juror is Judith Klein of Judith Klein Art Gallery, New Bedford, MA. I highly recommend checking out this exhibit before it closes on February 2, 2017.
Upcoming exhibits at the Attleboro Arts Museum look amazing as well, so if you're in the Boston Area or Providence, RI, be sure to check out the small but wonderful Attleboro Arts Museum.
For more information about the exhibit:
This past week I had the pleasure of visiting two of my favorite Art Museums in the Boston area. What I love about art museums is the special combination of new temporary exhibitions and spectacular permanent collections.
The Rose Art Museum
The first museum I’ll write about is the Rose Art Museum, located in Waltham, Massachusetts. On a personal note, the Rose Art Museum is special to me because it is part of Brandeis University, my alma mater. As part of my art education at Brandeis university, I had the unique opportunity to tour the Rose’s amazing permanent collection—however, not exhibited on the walls of the museum, but rather in the museum’s storage vault. In the mid-1990s, I saw incredible works from the collection from Roy Lichtenstein to Andy Warhol to Willem de Kooning to Jasper Johns. With over 8,000 works of art, mostly from American Artists from the 1960s and 1970s, the Rose Art Museum is one of the leading art museums in the world. Use the following link to see the digital collection: http://rosecollection.brandeis.edu/
This week the Rose Art Museum was exhibiting a temporary retrospective exhibit on the artist Rosalyn Drexler. The exhibit, “Rosalyn Drexler: Who does She Think She Is?” recently closed, but I believe it is traveling to other museums in the coming months.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston
The following day I had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, which houses one of the world’s best and diverse collections of fine art including contemporary art, art of Asia, Oceana, Africa, Europe the Americas, art of the ancient world, and jewelry, musical instruments, prints, drawings, and photographs. Although I didn’t get to see everything in the museum, I was able to see some of my favorite works of art again as well as see some new things and very cool new temporary exhibits.
And while I’m more of a contemporary and modern art kind of guy, I was particularly impressed with the story behind a 13-foot-tall statue of a classical sculpture of Juno. The Roman marble lady is the largest Classical sculpture in any museum in the United States. But perhaps even more fascinating was where the statue was found; It was found in the backyard of a Brookline, Massachusetts home (a suburb of Boston). The statue that is dated to about the year 1633 was purchased at the end of the 19th Century in Rome and brought to Brookline, Massachusetts to be placed as part of a formal garden.
The Danish artist, Jeppe Hein’s work entitled “PLEASE…” is a neon light installation from 2008. Hein is fascinated with the relationship between the viewer and his artwork and the art really isn’t complete without the viewer’s participation. I really can relate with Jeppe Hein and his work because some of my artwork also has a similar element to it. My paintings entitled “Close Your Eyes” and “You Have To Read This” come to mind when thinking about Hein’s work. With “Close Your Eyes” I’m trying to convey to viewers a bit of edginess or something to make you think twice about what you are seeing. I really enjoy the irony of creating art that is visual, and then the message of the painting instructs you not to look at it. “Close Your Eyes” was selected in the prestigious Connecticut Academy of Fine Arts Annual Juried Art Exhibit a few years ago. The six works of art are pictured here. http://www.jeppehein.net/
Throughout the museum (and around the Museum and even in Faneuil Hall in Boston) is the Megacities Asia exhibit, which runs until July 17, 2016. Megacities are cities with populations of more than ten million. These megacities are increasing in numbers and changes the lives of so many people. I was really impressed with the works of the artists Ai Weiwei and Choi Jeong Hwa. Choi Jeong Hwa’s “Breathing Flower” located just outside the museum was very moving. http://aiweiwei.com/
The Art Connection
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