Art in NYC: Delirious Art at the Met Breuer

Art in NYC: Delirious Art at the Met Breuer

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

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

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

With the NewYorkPass your can enjoy a free visit to the Met Breuer!

 

Venue: The Met Breuer, 945 Madison Avenue, NY

Dates: September 13, 2017 – January 14, 2018

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.

 

With your PhiladelphiaPass you can visit the museum for free!

 

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

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