Art in NYC: Provocations by Anselm Kiefer at the Met Breuer

Art in NYC: Provocations by Anselm Kiefer at the Met Breuer

Kiefer’s works from the Met Museum collection on view until April 8, 2018

Met Breuer Museum NYC Provocations Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer, Bohemia Lies by the Sea, 1996 © Anselm Kiefer / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

The exhibition at the Met Breuer “Provocations: Anselm Kiefer” presents selected works from the Met collection covering artist’s 50-year career. Well known for pushing the boundaries of comfortable art and sleepy consciousness, Kiefer’s paintings, watercolors, and collages shake the norms by questioning the stale and tired concepts. The art lovers, sophisticated and novices, will appreciate the introspection and depth of thought that this expose projects. The exhibition is on view from December 13, 2017 until April 8, 2018.

Met Breuer Museum NYC Provocations Anselm KieferBorn in Donaueschingen, Germany in 1945 two months before the end of World War II, Anselm Kiefer through his art confronts Germany’s dark past and the horrors of Holocaust. A distinguished element of his work is an intermix of various forms of artistic expression. He incorporates references to ancient folk epics such as Gilgamesh, European expressionistic and futuristic literature, German mythology and Cabalistic symbolism while experimenting with new materials, forms and dimensions.

Met Breuer Museum NYC Provocations Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer, Your Golden Hair, Margarete, 1980 © Anselm Kiefer / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

Starting his artistic career as a photographer in late 1960s, Kiefer staged the images by photographing himself wearing old Nazi uniform. The resulting pictures provoke a re-evaluation and acknowledgment of the horrific and not that distant past. The scenes from that period were later depicted in his watercolors which are included in the Met expose such as a watercolor “Untitled (Heroic Symbols)” from 1969.

There are more examples of the reuse of the old images in this exhibition. They are in the form of gouache, acrylic and other media layered over the black and white photographs as in the “Big Iron Fist” from 1980-81. The stylistic recycling of the pictures relates to the theme of transformation, which is explored by Kiefer in this and other works influenced by the futuristic Russian poet Velimir Khlebnikov.

Met Breuer Museum NYC Provocations Anselm Kiefer
Anselm Kiefer, Winter Landscape, 1970 ©Anselm Kiefer / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

Poetry and literature are taking a prominent place in Kiefer’s works. His watercolor from 1980 “Your Golden Hair, Margarete” uses a reference to Romanian Jewish writer Paul Celan‘s poem “Todesfuge” (“Death Fugue”). The title for this work is a line from Celan’s verses. The burden of the past is a subject of another watercolor “Winter Landscape” from 1970. Its snow-covered earth spotted with the blood from the woman’s head hovering over the field makes an eery reference to the Nazi “Blood and Soil” slogan.

With Wagnerian references occupying a big space in Kiefer’s oeuvre, there are several watercolors under the same title “My Father Pledged Me a Sword” pointing to Die Walkure and other works incorporating the scene and subjects of cycle Der Ring des Nibelungen. Wagnerian theme and the topic of final destruction was extensively presented in the last year exhibition at the White Cube Bermondsey gallery in London titled Walhalla. Some pieces in that exhibition looked like “a set for Wagner’s Götterdämmerung” in the words of The Guardian review by Jonathan Jones.

Kabbalah and mythology are also giving Kiefer considerable inspiration. A collage on photograph “Azimuth” from 2004 is one of such. The artist’s interest in mystical scriptures and history of civilizations had been nurtured by the trip to Israel which the author took in 1984.

While the exhibition samples the major turning point in the artist’s oeuvre, his latest works using new material, a return to erotic watercolors and books are not presented at the Met Breuer. Gagosian Gallery in New York City held an exhibition of those works in the summer of 2017. The leitmotif there was an interplay of femininity and rebirth.

Kiefer is often likened to Rodin in his depiction of emotions which invokes historical dilemmas and human relationships. As the world celebrated a centennial of Rodin death 2017, Rodin Museum in Paris and Barnes Foundation have Kiefer Rodin exhibition ongoing. It was on view at Rodin Museum in Paris until October 22, 2017 , then moved to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA from November 17, 2017 – March 12, 2018.

Time: December 13, 2017 – April 8, 2018

Venue: The Met Breuer, 945 Madison Ave, NY

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Met Breuer Museum NYC Provocations Anselm KieferMet Breuer Museum NYC Provocations Anselm KieferMet Breuer Museum NYC Provocations Anselm Kiefer

Beyond NY: Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, PA

Beyond NY: Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, PA

Beyond NY: Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, PA
The Cathedral, Rodin Museum

As the world celebrates a centennial of Auguste Rodin death this year, its a good occasion for a visit to Rodin Museum in Philadelphia. The museum opened in 1929, has more than 140 pieces covering all stages of artist’s oeuvre.

Walking through the formal French garden where 8 sculptures are installed including The ThinkerThe Burghers of Calais  and The Gates of Hell, the visitors enter an elegant Beaux-Arts building. Inside the airy main hall and the more intimate side rooms, you will have a chance to see the famous sculptures up close and find insightful details about each piece of work with historical parallels and the stories that served as inspiration for the works.

If you are so moved by seeing the sculptures and want to sketch them for better understanding of artist’s vision, there are sketch albums and pencils on hand in every room. Follow your heart and draw what you see – after all the art is only alive when it moves us.  The museum also offers a very well designed family guide to sharpen young eyes and encourage them to see the artist’s shapes.

Read the notes, observe the sculptures, try to sketch and follow the lines to fully appreciate the artist’s ideas and the forms.

 

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Venue: Rodin Museum, Philadelphia, PA                                           See museum hours here.

Art in NYC: Modigliani Unmasked Exhibition at the Jewish Museum

Art in NYC: Modigliani Unmasked Exhibition at the Jewish Museum

Early works by Amedeo Modigliani on view from September 15, 2017 – February 4, 2018

Jewish Museum Modigliani nudes portraits sculptures
Jeanne Hébuterne with Yellow Sweater, 1918-19 / Image provided by Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation / Art Resource NY

The drawings, paintings, and sculptures by Amedeo Modigliani are easily recognized for their characteristic elongated features and warm color palette. The Jewish Museum presents the works from Dr. Paul Alexandre collection who was the artist’s close friend and first patron. The show covers Modigliani’s first years in Paris from 1906 when he arrived on the scene till primarily 1912. While many of the works look very familiar, others are exhibited in New York for the first time refreshing the visitors understanding of the artist oeuvre and getting deeper into the roots of his creative style.

Jewish Museum Modigliani nudes portraits sculptures
Kneeling Caryatid, 1911-12, Paul Alexandre Family, courtesy of Richard Nathanson, London / Image provided by Richard Nathanson, photo: Prudence Cuming Ass.

Amedeo Modigliani was born in a Sephardic Jewish family in Livorno, Italy in 1884. His father’s side came from Italian businessmen clan, while his mother’s side origins were from Marseille, France bringing a cultivated, intellectual ancestry which traced its lineage to Spinoza. The family’s fortunes collapsed at the time of Modigliani’s birth, but the family was able to maintain a flare of decent means because of his mother’s enthusiasm and resourcefulness. Modigliani had experienced multiple health crises in his childhood and youth leading eventually to tuberculosis that claimed his life at an early age of 35.

When Modigliani arrived in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century, it was an artistic hub and the center of creative expression counting in its ranks founders of every modernist artistic movement. The unprecedented vibrancy of creative scene was calling for finding new styles away from the classical determinism towards the freedom of abstract art. Modigliani, however, embraced figurative style likely because he had already experimented with Macchiaioli, en plain air painting technique which pre-dates impressionism, back in Florence, Italy when he was attending art school there. He didn’t fall in love with it and continued to work in his studio.

Jewish Museum Modigliani nudes portraits sculptures
Seated Female Nude, possibly Anna Akhmatova, 1911; Paul Alexandre Family, courtesy of Richard Nathanson, London / photo: Prudence Cuming Ass.

In Paris he was getting his inspiration from African, Egyptian and Southeast Asian art that he intensively studied at the museums rich in exotic artifacts. The current show traces the influence of these ancient cultures on Modigliani’s works and emphasizes the successful mix of forms and poses found in his portraits.

A fascination with the nonwestern representation of the faces and figures taken by the artist at the time when he met Russian poet Anna Akhmatova had resulted in numerous sketches of her as a goddess. The drawings on view have accentuated angular forms reminding of the paintings from the Ancient Egypt. Another gallery in the show is dedicated to the exploration of the caryatids and other devotional figures from the ancient world. Yet in another gallery, there is a collection of limestone sculpture heads reminiscent of the African masks. The build-up of influences and elements leads to the familiar oil paintings of nudes and portraits.

Modigliani’s short life was almost too full of all sorts of excesses. Too many lovers, too much alcohol and drugs, too many rushed ideas, too noisy parties. The latest biography by Meryle Secrest “Modigliani: A Life” tells a sympathetic story of this talented artist “putting his art at the center” in the words of the New Yorker review of the book.

One peculiar aspect of Modigliani’s oeuvre is that it attracts the imitators making Modigliani “the most faked artist in the world” according to Secrest. The seemingly easy to replicate compositions commanding sky-high prices combined with a poorly documented portfolio of works have led to the notorious number of forgeries. The fakes even found its way into acclaimed museum collections. An exhibition in Genoa, Italy in the summer of 2017 had to close early according to Artnet  because of the high number of fakes on view.

Modigliani Unmasked will surely get one think about many of the artist’s intentions and make his art even more enjoyable for the viewers!

 

Jewish Museum Modigliani nudes portraits sculptures
Amedeo Modigliani, Head of a Woman, 1910/1911, limestone, Chester Dale Collection

Dates: September 15, 2017 – February 4, 2018

Venue: Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Avenue, NY          

 

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Art at NYC: Edvard Munch at the Met Breuer

Art at NYC: Edvard Munch at the Met Breuer

Edvard Munch: “Between the Clock and the Bed” on November 15, 2017 – February 4, 2018

The Met Museum Edvard Munch Between the Clock and the Bed
Self-Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940–43 © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo © Munch Museum / Image courtesy of The Met Museum

The Met Breuer exhibition of works by Edvard Munch (1861-1944), a Norwegian Expressionist artist, gives the viewers a chance to see the paintings from the Munch Museum in Oslo and other European and private collections. Some of the paintings are shown in New York for the first time.

The exhibition makes a moody and sobering impression as one would expect at a mention of the artist’s name. Munch is known for powerfully presenting the emotional moments of life repeating the same situations in multiple versions. Opening up with the self-portrait which gives the title to the exhibition, the show explores the themes dear to the artist to which he kept returning to at different stages of his life. The exhibition will run through February 4, 2018.

The Met Museum Edvard Munch Between the Clock and the Bed
The Dance of Life, 1925, © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Photo © Munch Museum / Image courtesy of The Met Museum

Edvard Munch was born in 1861 to the family of a medical officer. His mother and then his beloved sister Sophie had died from tuberculosis when he was 14. These tragic events made a very strong impression on the future artist and were later depicted in many of his works. Munch himself had suffered from many of diseases in childhood. Later he was haunted by depression and alcohol dependency. His personal life was stressful and unhappy. So, naturally his works are full of high tensions and despair.

Starting drawing from a young age, Munch had enrolled into the Royal School of Art and Design of Kristiania, Norway where he experimented with various expressionist styles. He visited Paris and Berlin and sampled the artistic scenes there coming under the influences of major artists of the early 90s. In that productive period, he sketched or created the first versions of many of the themes to which he kept returning, again and again, later in life.

The Met Museum Edvard Munch Between the Clock and the Bed
Sick Mood at Sunset, Despair, 1892, Thielska Galleriet, Sweden © 2017 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo by Tord Lund © Thielska Galleriet, Sweden / Image courtesy of The Met Museum

While he came to fame rather early in his career in the late 1880s – early 1890s, Munch himself believed that he reached his breakthrough in art when he was fifty. By that time he already resettled back in Norway after a turbulent life on the move between France, Germany, and Denmark. In 1908-1909 he suffered a mental breakdown from which he recovered upon his return to his native Norway. The result of the emotional torments gave us his famously high-strung paintings.

This current exhibition at the Met Breuer presents about 50 of Munch’s works. Each gallery in the exhibition is dedicated to a theme: Self-Portraits, Nocturnes, Despair, Sickness and Death, Puberty and Passion, Attraction and Repulsion, and In the Studio. This thematic rather than a chronological arrangement allows the viewer to follow the artist’s maturity of style and the changes in technique. As Munch was coming back to the same subject repeatedly with years in between, the ascents of colors and the pace of strokes conveys his personal take on the same situation over time. The FT review points out that “these juxtapositions is at once stunning and depressing, a showcase of genius and delusion.” A group of works under the Despair theme includes a lithograph of “The Scream” from 1895.

Munch’s landscapes and life scenes en plain air are characteristically unsoothing and moody. The low skies, the broody sunsets and eery reflections of in the water are alarming. The tensions continue in the paintings of his studio. Even the tender embrace of “The Kiss” surrounded by the dark background while sensual and tender, doesn’t promise a happy ending. Munch’s great genius of catching the emotional dread and the pain of the soul is in full view here. “Who better to guide us through our own fatalistic age?” asks rhetorically the review of the exhibition in The New York Times.

Time: November 15, 2017 – February 4, 2018

Venue: The Met Breuer, 945 Madison Ave, NY

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While you are at the Met Breuer stop by another exhibition there Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason which will be closing on January 14, 2018.

Art in NYC: Delirious Art at the Met Breuer

Art in NYC: Delirious Art at the Met Breuer

Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950-1980 on view September 13, 2017 – January 14, 2018 

Metropolitan Museum exhibition Delirious Andy Warhol Yayoi Kusama
In-Out Anthropophagy by Anna Maria Maiolino, Super-8 film 1973 / Image Courtesy of the Met Museum

The expansive show of the post-WWII art at the Met Breuer under an ambitious title Delirious: Art at the Limit of Reason promises to spin your head. And it surely does! The exhibition includes the works of such luminaries of contemporary art as Andy Warhol, Yayoi Kusama, Eva Hesse, and Sol LeWitt among others. In all, about 100 pieces of art primarily from Europe, Latin America, and the US are organized under 4 loose categories: Vertigo, Excess, Nonsense, and Twisted. The visitors will encounter the generous labels about the subject and countersubject depicted in a particular work. This gentle guidance by the experts helps to appreciate fully the points made by the artists with all the twists and eccentricity entailed.

Metropolitan Museum exhibition Delirious Andy Warhol Yayoi Kusama
Electric Chair by Andy Warhol, Screenprint 1971 / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

The curatorial introduction to the show gives the meaning of the word delirious in its medical sense and points to the turbulence of the post-wartime as a leading factor that either caused or led to stimulating that state of mind. As science and technology were accelerating its hold on everyday life and encroaching on one’s perception of reality, they got their place in the contemporary art as seemingly endless repetitive sequences of shapes, colors, and sounds. In fact, in some sense, the most delirious effect of the exhibition is from its soundtrack.

A review by Roberta Smith in the New York Times notes that given the pressure of the Cold War and the uncertainties of the time the “artists answered life’s absurdities with more of the same”.

It is curious to note the fluidity between the rational use of certain technical and mathematical concepts and their irrational derivations cleverly observed by the artists. Some examples of those effects are topographical representations of Steiner Surfaces by Ruth Vollmer, Study of Distortion by Agnes Denes, or Color Motion 4-64 by Edna Andrade. In other cases seemingly simple everyday actions are transformed by endless repetition to stunning visual and sound effects in Cycles of 3s and 7s by Tony Conrad and several works by Sol LeWitt.

Metropolitan Museum exhibition Delirious Andy Warhol Yayoi Kusama
Snap Roll by Dean Fleming, Acrylic on canvas 1965 / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

Another interesting aspect of the show is its focus on the influence of the writings by Samuel Beckett on the artists. It’s not a coincidence as the show had preceded by 5 years of research into the perception of Beckett’s plays by the experimental artists. The exhibition also highlights a connection between the artistic expression and the social and political environment of the moment.

While it may feel by some that the exhibition skipped some of the work that could clearly belong there, it helps to keep in mind how productive the sphere of art was in the post-war time. This carefully selected sample of works is only scratching the surface of the oeuvre in the category feeding the appetite to see more.

Metropolitan Museum exhibition Delirious Andy Warhol Yayoi Kusama
Jazzmen by Jacques Mahé de la Villeglé,Torn posters mounted on canvas,1961 / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

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Venue: The Met Breuer, 945 Madison Avenue, NY

Dates: September 13, 2017 – January 14, 2018

 

Art in NYC: Leonardo to Matisse Drawings at the Met Museum

Art in NYC: Leonardo to Matisse Drawings at the Met Museum

Master Drawings from the Robert Lehman Collection

Leonardo to Matisse Met Museum master drawings Robert Lehman collection
Albrecht Dürer,
Self-portrait, Study of a Hand and a Pillow (recto),1493 / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

Intimate and insightful survey of European drawings from the Renaissance to Early Modernism is on view at the Met Museum on October 4, 2017 – January 7, 2018. The works are selected from the collection of Robert Lehman who spent six decades on building his fast art assemblage with 700 sheets of drawings complementing his father’s collection of paintings.  Leonardo to Matisse show comprises of 4 sections dedicated to Italian Renaissance, Dutch and German drawings from 15th to 17th centuries, the 18th and 19th century works from Italy and France, and ending with Impressionists and Early Modernists.

The exhibition is organized in the chronological progression mirroring the establishment of the medium as a fully developed form of creative expression. It begins with the pieces by Italian Renaissance masters covering the time when the medium of drawing was starting to claim its rights. From sketches and quick studies of compositions and gestures, it had progressed to the finished works prized by patrons and collectors. Giorgio Vasari, a painter, and art-historian who defined our appreciation of the drawing and its foundational place in art was among the first collectors. One of the pieces from his collection by Antonio Pollaiuolo is on view now at the Met. Vasari’s book “Live of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects” first time published in 1550 is still a great source for art-historians and history buffs. Vasari dedicated his book to Grand Duke Cosimo I De’Medici. Medici’s patronage of the arts helped to speed up the Renaissance.

Leonardo to Matisse Met Museum master drawings Robert Lehman collection
Rembrandt, The Last Supper, after Leonardo da Vinci, 1634–35 / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

An extremely detailed sketch of a bear by Leonardo is an example of the artist’s keen technique and close observation of the world around him. Leonardo kept copious notebooks full of sketches and momentous studies as well as in-depth engineering designs and scientific research. The New Yorker preview of the recently published biography “Leonardo Da Vinci” by W. Isaacson notes a point made by Isaacson about Leonardo’s tendency to rush and abandon his projects. The medium of drawing with its fast pace seems to be an ideal one for someone endlessly on the creative move.

The next section in the exhibition is dedicated to the Northern Europeans from 15th through 17th centuries. From delicate portraits to scenes from everyday life, the works on view are by Jan van Eyck and his circle, Rogier van der Weyden and his workshop with an allegorical scene used as a prep for sculptural work, and a fascinating study by Rembrandt of Leonardo’s Last Supper done in red chalk. German masters are represented by amazing pieces including a self-portrait and highly textured sketches of household items, in this case, pillows by Albrecht Durer.

Moving to 18th and 19th century Italian and French works, the show presents fine examples of new highs in using pen, ink, wash and other material to convey the story and emotions. Works by Tiepolo, Giambattista, Goya, Corot, Watteau and Fragonard introduce new techniques and highly refined skills.

Leonardo to Matisse Met Museum master drawings Robert Lehman collection
Antoine Watteau, Seated Woman, 1716–17 / Image courtesy of the Met Museum

The last section is dedicated to the Impressionists and Modernists ranging from Degas to Seurat to Matisse. The drawings on view give a window into artists’ minds letting us see how they developed the subjects of the future paintings. All alone the drawings are taking a deserved place as a form of art with all its power and thought-provoking allure.

The exhibition will delight every art lover!

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Venue: The Met Museum on Fifth Avenue       

Time: October 4, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Art in NYC: World War I and the Visual Arts at The Met

Art in NYC: World War I and the Visual Arts at The Met

The horrors of war in the eyes of the witnessing artists

The Parents by Kathe Kollwitz, 1922

This rather small exhibition at The Met, Fifth Avenue museum is guaranteed to leave a strong impression on the viewers. So powerful are the dark images that one hardly brings oneself to see the rest of art splendor at the museum. The sirens of bombardments, the smelly trenches, the victims in pain tell a sad story of war and devastation as it depicted by Kathe Kollwitz, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Gino Severini and many others.

Art in NYC: World War I and the Visual Arts The Met
Plague German by Otto Dix, 1919 / not in the exhibition

The exhibition starts with the patriotic posters issued by each and every country that had participated in the military actions at the time. The mood of the posters is about the same no matter which country they belong. In loud and demanding voices they all were asking their respective compatriots to bravely participate in collective sacrifice to support the honor of the king, or emperor, or kaiser, or sultan. That heroic and brave mood changes to the cries of the wounded and the tears for the dead as the exhibition continues.

The World War I, which started with the assassination of the archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in June of 1914, lasted till November, 1918 and had resulted in the death of one million combatants and seven million civilians making it one of the deadliest conflicts in history.

The exhibition opens with the cautious works from 1914-1915 such as lithographs by Natalia Goncharova, graphics by Christopher Nevinson and Gino Severini. While not exactly endorsing the war, in those initial years of the conflict many were looking at it as redemption. As more countries entered the war and more horrors started to fall on the civilians and the soldiers, the patriotic tunes turned to the screams for help.

Art in NYC: World War I and the Visual Arts The Met
Made in Germany by George Grosz – website of the MOMAPage: http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php / image courtesy of https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20544655

The last gallery in the exhibition delivers probably the most powerful message begging to remember where the war leads. In that gallery you will find The War (Der Krieg) cycle of 50 etchings by Otto Dix released in 1924 to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the war start. Dix had volunteered for the German Army in 1914, served for 4 year and was badly wounded. Being profoundly affected by the conflict, his feelings about it changed as the nightmares of destruction continued to hound him for some time.

The same gallery also presents the drawings and prints by George Grosz. A contemporary and friend of Dix, Grosz was also serving in German army at the time of WWI but not with such clear patriotic overtones. His works satirize the high ranks of the military and depict the sorry state of the soldiers.

One of the most potent entries in the show are the lithographs by Kathe Kollwitz. Having experienced firsthand the grieve and pain of the loss of her son in WWI, Kollwitz’s depiction of women in deep mourning are a mighty plea to stop any posturing towards the war. This year as the world celebrates her 150th anniversary, Kollwitz humanistic works condemning the war and oppression can be seen at various exhibitions in London, Berlin and Cologne. An expose on Artnet.com  points out that at each of these shows “there is good, hard art to be discovered”.

As for the show at The Met, its message is particularly relevant today amid the reckless threats and provocations.

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Venue: The Met Museum on Fifth Avenue   

 

Time: July 31, 2017 – January 7, 2018

 

 

Centennial Celebrations: Klimt and Rodin – An Artistic Encounter

Centennial Celebrations: Klimt and Rodin – An Artistic Encounter

A dialog between grand masters on grace, beauty and sensuality 

The year 2017 is rich with the anniversaries. Centennial of the Russian Revolutions (March – November 1917), 150 years of the Alaska Purchase (March, 1867), 500 years since a publication of 95 Theses by Martin Luther that started the Protestant Reformation are just a few to mention. The art world is commemorating centenaries of two great admirers of female beauty, Auguste Rodin who lived until November 17, 1917 and Gustav Klimt, who died shortly after in February, 1918.

Klimt and Rodin artistic encounter at Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
The Maiden, 1913 (oil on canvas) by Klimt, Gustav (1862-1918); 190×200 cm; Narodni Galerie, Prague, Czech Republic; Austrian, out of copyright / Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco is mounting an exhibition Klimt & Rodin: An Artistic Encounter which will be  on view in October 14, 2017 – January 28, 2018  to celebrate the centenaries of the grand masters. The show which will be held at the Legion of Honor is marking the first time the works of Klimt will be shown on the West Coast. The Legion of Honor had celebrated Rodin centenary with an installation which had officially ended in April of this year but the works had remained in place and will be jointed by the works of Klimt for an artistic dialog between the masters on their beloved and deeply explored topic of love, beauty and eroticism.

Centennial Celebrations: Klimt and Rodin - An Artistic Encounter
Gustav Klimt, “The Black Feathered Hat (Der Schwarze Federhut,” 1910. Oil on canvas, 79 x 63 cm. Private collection, courtesy of the Neue Galerie, New York / Image Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Klimt and Rodin artistic encounter at Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco
A. Rodin, The Kiss; shot in situ / Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Auguste Rodin had only one in person meeting with Gustav Klimt when he traveled to Prague via Vienna in 1902. Rodin had accepted an invitation to visit an exhibition of Vienna Secession movement Beethoven Frieze by Klimt. The story of the encounter, as described by The Telegraph art critic, has a confession by Rodin that he had “never before experienced such an atmosphere – your tragic and magnificent Beethoven fresco, your unforgettable, temple-like exhibition, and now this garden, these women, this music.” In the words of art historian Berta Zuckerkandl, Klimt suggested that the reason for all of that is in one word: Austria. That insight had clearly worked for the Modernists and their circle in Vienna. The interplay between art, music and the beauties will be the main object of the exhibition in San Francisco.

If you are not planning to travel to San Francisco, you can still see all major works by Rodin at Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, PA . As for Klimt, Neue Galerie would be your fist stop to see modernists’ masterworks including Klimt’s. The Met has 2 paintings at Gallery 829 and several drawings which are not currently on view. There are also 2 paintings and several drawings at MoMA available to view online.

 

Venue: Legion of Honors, San Francisco, CA                             Time: October 14, 2017 – January 28, 2018

Beyond NY: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescoes Up Close at Westfield Topanga, CA

Beyond NY: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Frescoes Up Close at Westfield Topanga, CA

View the pictures of Sistine Chapel frescoes at the ground level at the Westfield Topanga & The Village in Southern California which follow the shows at Oculus of NYC World Trade Center and Paramus, NJ

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes Vatican City Westfield
Sistine Chapel, Vatican / photo by Patrick Landy (FSU Guy)

Michelangelo’s frescoes on the ceiling of Sistine Chapel in Vatican City are conveniently brought down to earth by the very modern means of digital photography. The show is going on display at the Westfield Topanga & The Village in Southern California after an exhibition at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ in September-October, 2017 and at the Oculus of NYC World Trade Center Transportation Hub in July 2017. The visitors have the ease of enlarged images to see all the details of historical paintings to follow the Creation story from the Book of Genesis at the spacious and well-lit hall housing the freestanding plinths with good labels. No hurrying up by the guards and neck craning necessary.

Sistine Chapel in the Vatican was built in 1477-1480 by Pope Sixtus IV for whom the chapel is named. The Chapel is used for special ceremonies of the close circle of the Pope. It is also a place were the Papal Conclave of Cardinals meets to elect a new Pope. Interestingly the dimensions of the Chapel are the same as those of the Temple of Solomon as described in the Old Testament, the Book of Ezekiel, the first temple built by the Hebrews in 832 BCE under King Solomon, and destructed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of Jerusalem of 587 BCE.

Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Chapel from 1508 to 1512 on a commission by Pope Julius II. Because at the time Michelangelo was preoccupied with sculptures and was reluctant to commit to such an enormous undertaking, Pope Julius granted him full freedom in selecting the scenes and figures to paint thus convincing him to take on the project. The resulting frescoes are considered to be the triumph of the artistic expression in Western civilization.  The ceiling is populated with more than 300 figures starting from the Christ ancestors including Adam and Eve, the scenes from the Garden of Eden and the Great Flood all the way to Christ followers, prophets and sibyls. It’s a rich story with the myriad of secrets as explained in a well-written book by B. Blech and R. Doliner The Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican.
Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes Vatican City Westfield

Michelangelo’s mastery brings us the “faces of our time: anxiety masked by domesticity, women at work at household duties, men staring out blankly at an opaque fate” in the words of A.Gopnik in The New Yorker review of the exhibition.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Frescoes Vatican City WestfieldNow that the viewers can comfortably see those faces and their expressions, the connection to the history and its meaning can be better understood and appreciated. One can easily take it one step further with an assistance of the virtual reality like Oculus Rift and other VR gadgets.

After staying in CA until December 31, 2017, the exhibition will travel to other locations in the US. Check all the locations and dates here.

 

 

 

Dates: November 3 – December 31, 2017

Venue: 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park, CA  

Art in NYC: Robert Motherwell Exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Art in NYC: Robert Motherwell Exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery

Early Paintings

Chelsea Art Gallery NYC exhibition Robert Motherwell paintings
Robert Motherwell, La Belle Mexicaine, 1941;
©Dedalus Foundation, Inc./ Licensed by VAGA / Image courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery

This well-researched exhibition at Paul Kasmin gallery in Chelsea presents the early works by an American abstract expressionist artist Robert Motherwell . The show includes 18 works from 1941 to 1951 when the artist was actively searching for his style and its meaning. In 1941 he started studying studio art at Columbia University after pursuing a PhD degree in philosophy at Harvard. Building up on his interest in modernist writings and poetry, he turned to the visual arts while traveling to Europe in the late 1930s. His other influences were from the exiled surrealists leaving in New York City at that time such as Max Ernst, Duchamp, Masson. In particular, an idea of letting out the unconscious through the process of “automatic” drawing made a considerable effect on Motherwell and was further developed in his later works alternating between figurative and abstract images.

Chelsea Art Gallery NYC exhibition Robert Motherwell paintings
Robert Motherwell, The Figures, 1941, ©Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA / Image courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery

His travels to Mexico City in 1941 brought him in contact with a Chilean painter Roberto Matta, another promoter of abstract expressionism. The works made at the time of that trip, La Belle Mexicane (Maria) and Three Figures are included in the exhibition and are on public view for the first time.

Another strong influence apparent in the selection of works on view is by Piet Mondrian, the founder of De Stijl movement who had his first exhibition in New York in 1942. The minimalism of De Stijl style adapted to convey the sorrows from the Spanish Civil War can be seen in The Sentinel (1942), Recuerdo de Coyoacán (1942) and The Spanish Prison (Window) (1943-1944). It is well documented that the Spanish Civil War made a huge impact on Motherwell. His cycle of paintings Elegy to the Spanish Republic is now at the Guggenheim museum. Robert Motherwell’s book with the same title gives more ground to the subject of the cycle.

Chelsea Art Gallery NYC exhibition Robert Motherwell paintings
Robert Motherwell, The Sentinel, ©Dedalus Foundation, Inc./ Licensed by VAGA / Image courtesy of Paul Kasmin Gallery

The works from the later years in the current show are turning more to abstract with an idea of automatic painting getting into action. At that time the artist also started experimenting with collages on paper and became known for his innovative style in the medium. An expose Robert Motherwell: Early Collages covers 60 works from that period.

The gallery is open Tue – Sat, 10am – 6pm

Venue: 293 Tenth Avenue, NY                    Dates: September 07 – October 28, 2017