The Harvard Art Museums
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!
Metropolitan Museum of Art New York
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!
PS: If you liked this article, you might like these other articles on my artistic travels:
Los Angeles, California
New York City Street Art
Napa Valley, California
Park City, Utah
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.
The Brooklyn Museum
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!
The Art Connection
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