Saturday, September 02, 2017

Challenging Expectations


Riding in the subway car minding my own business as the train makes a racket and slows to a stop. The arrival sets off the hustle and bustle as riders get on or off.

Every once in awhile this exchange of people is punctuated by a voice over the noise that starts a    voice over the noise that starts a lament, a litany of reasons exorcising loose change into the rattling paper cup it the panhandler.

The other passengers respond with a variety of behaviors. som reach in their purse for change. others, like me on this day, just ignore him.

I was casually observing the other passengers and the performer when I became aware of something odd. The man was  talking in an intelligible drone, a "lorem ipsum" of speech, filler sounds without meaning. at the next stop he got off, never uttering another word or asking for spare change.

In recalling his event later I felt I had experienced a brilliant performance of street theater. I don't know if it was and it really doesn't matter.  one of the ways art functions in the culture is by challenging our expectations.

We navigate our daily lives by responding  to situational events with a script created by our past experiences. We all respond personally but,  for any given situational event there are generally a finite number of responses. they are culturally and personally derived. these responses are also shaped by the historical moment.

Art forms that challenge our expectations cause us to reexamine our script, they make us aware of our subliminal responses by subverting our expectations on how an event will unfold.

In the event like this performance in the subway car, and in its reselling, we often just drill down through our situational scripts. these  drift from panhandler to crazy or an assumption if misperception by the observers.

The performance, by distorting  our perceptions, can make us aware of the hidden assumptions we use to navigate our lives. This simple, but precisely executed even, can shed some light on other expectations we have about life and on how art can illuminate our lives.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

In From the Cold


A lot of thoughts, not quite ideas, spinning around in my head. Thoughts of the time, of the culture and of how art might fit into all this. 


Thursday, November 06, 2014

Picasso's Weeping Women

I've been thinking about how I want to approach writing this blog. I am not really interested in writing criticism, it's a mind numbing task which takes the passion out of the art for me. I do look at a lot of art online, on a daily basis and I have decided that I will start posting what I am looking at, online and in the galleries.

In 1937 Picasso was 56, and Spain was embroiled in a civil war. Over the next 12 months, Picasso, inspired by the catastrophe of Guernica, made an extraordinary series of images of a woman in tears. There is not much to say about them, she speaks for herself. Picasso gave painting the power to evoke emotions beyond mere appearance. There ar 18 images, arranged in chronological order, a mini exhibition.

Pablo Picasso
Portrait de Dora Maar
Date: 28-January/1937
Medium: Pencil & stump drawing
Dimension: 12.4 x 15.94 inches (31,5 x 40,5 cm)
Collection: Private collection

April 26, 1937: Guernica is bombed to rubble by the Facists.
Wiki link, read all about it.


Pablo Picasso
Guernica [Étude]
Date: 24-May/1937
Medium: Pencil & gouache on paper
Dimension: 9.13 x 11.54 inches (23,2 x 29,3 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
Guernica [Étude]
Date: 24-May/1937
Medium: Pencil & gouache on paper
Dimension: 11.5 x 9.13 inches (29,2 x 23,2 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
Guernica [Étude]
Date: 28-May/1937
Medium: Pencil, crayon & gouache
Dimension: 9.13 x 11.54 inches (23,2 x 29,3 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
Guernica [Étude]
Date: 31-May/1937
Medium: Pencil, crayon & gouache
Dimension: 9.13 x 11.54 inches (23,2 x 29,3 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
Guernica [Étude]
Date: 3-June/1937
Medium: Pencil, crayon & gouache
Dimension: 9.13 x 11.54 inches (23,2 x 29,3 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
Guernica [Étude]
Date: 3-June/1937
Medium: Pencil, crayon & gouache
Dimension: 9.13 x 11.54 inches (23,2 x 29,3 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure
Date: 3-June/1937
Medium: Pencil, color crayon & gray gouache on white paper
Dimension: 9.13 x 11.54 inches (23,2 x 29,3 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure
Date: 8-June/1937
Medium: Pencil, color crayon & gray gouache on white paper
Dimension: 11.46 x 9.13 inches (29,1 x 23,2 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
Guernica [Étude]
Date: 13-June/1937
Medium: Pencil & crayon
Dimension: 11.42 x 9.06 inches (29 x 23 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure avec mouchoir I
Date: 22-June/1937
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 21.65 x 18.23 inches (55 x 46,3 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure
Date: 22-June/1937
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 21.85 x 17.91 inches (55,5 x 45,5 cm)
Collection: Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure I
Date: 26-June/1937
Medium: Crayons & gouache on canvas
Dimension: 21.65 x 18.23 inches (55 x 46,3 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure au foulard
Date: 26-June/1937
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 21.65 x 18.11 inches (55 x 46 cm)
Collection: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure I (VI)
Date: 1-July/1937
Medium: Etching, aquatint, drypoint, scraper on copper on paper
Dimension: 27.24 x 19.49 inches (69,2 x 49,5 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
Tête de femme
Date: Fall/1937
Medium: Pencil on matchbox
Dimension: S/U
Collection: Private collection


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure avec mouchoir III
Date: 17-October/1937
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 36.22 x 28.74 inches (92 x 73 cm)
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid


Pablo Picasso
La femme qui pleure [Femme en pleurs]
Date: 26-October/1937
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 23.62 x 19.29 inches (60 x 49 cm)
Collection: The Tate Modern, London


All photographs Copyright © Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Online Picasso Project - 1937

Friday, August 20, 2010

Fragonard - The Stolen Kiss

Just another simple composition analysis. Horizontal and vertical divisions into thirds and quarters and the connecting diagonals, along with the Golden Section (technically 1/ϕ = 1/.618 = .618) from each corner.

Jean Honoré Fragonard
The Stolen Kiss (1780s)
Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg
Click to enlarge

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Mourners at the Met

The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy at the Metropolitan through May 23,2010.

An exhibition of the thirty nine carved alabaster mourners by the artists Jean de La Huerta and Antoine Le Moiturier, each approximately 17 inches high and dating from the mid 15th Century. This is the first time that "these figures will be seen together outside of France and provides an unprecedented opportunity to appreciate each sculpture as an individual work of art." [FRAME]

The installation is a procession of two rows down the middle of the Metropolitan Medieval Sculpture Hall. Removed from their original architectural niches and now illuminated from above, these modest alabaster figures glow solemnly. They are recontextualized into the present era, to be seen as two rows of objects distilling the metaphors of grief.

A composite of four images from the Met website which I color corrected a bit to more accurately reflect what I felt was the startling luminosity of the alabaster figures.
[PR] "The Mourners from the tombs of the Dukes of Burgundy are deeply affecting works of art. Beyond their evident visual and narrative qualities, we cannot help but be struck by the emotion they convey as they follow the funeral procession, weeping, praying, singing, lost in thought, giving vent to their grief, or consoling their neighbor. Mourning, they remind us, is a collective experience, common to all people and all moments in history."
[ Sophie Jugie, Director, Musée des Beaux-Arts. Dijon http://www.themourners.org/about.html ]

Links:
The Met About the Mourners page
The Met Index to the 39 Mourners page
The FRAME website: Additional information on the Mourners 3D Photography Project

Exhibition Schedule
The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy will be touring the United States as follows:

March 2, 2010 - May 23, 2010: Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC, NY)
June 20, 2010 - September 6, 2010: Saint Louis Art Museum (Saint Louis, MO)
October 3, 2010 - January 2, 2011: Dallas Art Museum (Dallas, TX)
January 23, 2011 - April 17, 2011: Minneapolis Institute of Art (Minneapolis, MN)
May 8, 2011 - July 31, 2011: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles, CA)
August 21, 2011 - January 1, 2012: Legion of Honor (San Francisco, CA)
January 20, 2012 - April 15, 2012: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond, VA)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tino Sehgal at the Guggenheim

At the Guggenheim Museum, 1071 5th Avenue (at 89th Street), Exhibition dates: January 29–March 10, 2010. I liked the Tino Sehgal pieces very much but I am not interested in writing a review. Instead I am writing my responses and reactions to the piece in the comments section.

London-born, Berlin-based artist Tino Sehgal constructs situations with people that defy the traditional contexts of museum and gallery environments, focusing on the fleeting gestures and social subtleties that define lived experience rather than the material aspects of conventional art making. His singular practice has been informed by his studies in dance and economics, yielding ephemeral works that consist only of the interactions among their participants and are not visually documented. Organized as part of the Guggenheim's 50th-anniversary celebrations, Sehgal's exhibition comprises a mise-en-scène that will occupy the entire Frank Lloyd Wright–designed rotunda. One facet of the artist’s practice, quasi-sculptural choreographed movement, will transform the ground floor of the rotunda into an arena for spectatorship. On the spiraling ramp, another aspect—direct verbal interaction between museum visitors and trained participants—will predominate. Sehgal's works expand the concept of what constitutes a contemporary art object, offering the viewer an immediate engagement with the realization of the work presented.[Guggenheim PR]


A little slight of hand blogging separates this post from where it started in the comment section of the previous one.