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

With the New York Pass your can enjoy a free visit to the Met Breuer!Planning a trip to NYC?

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.

Nightlife in NYC: Ken Ard with Mark Berman at Pangea Club

Nightlife in NYC: Ken Ard with Mark Berman at Pangea Club

That Thing Called Love cabaret night with Ken Ard (vocal) and Mark Berman (piano) on February 10, 2018 at Pangea Club 

jazz club NYC thing called love ken mark bermanThis unforgettable music night brings together an accomplished cabaret singer and actor Ken Ard accompanied on piano by a masterful musician and composer Mark Berman. The show on Saturday, February 10 starts at 7 pm.

Ken Ard is an American singer, dancer, choreographer and actor. Born in Oakland, California in 1960, he grew up in a home visited by a large number of jazz greats such as Joe Williams, Paul Chambers, and Carmen McRae. Music and dance had permeated his early years. At age 17 Ard started performing with Oakland and San Francisco Ballet. He later moved to NYC and took principal roles on Broadway in Cats, Starlight Express, Song and Dance, Jelly’s Last Jam and Smokey Joe’s Cafe.
Ard is also known for his work in film. His next career chapter had brought him to Europe touring and performing with various jazz musicians. 2009 marked the release of his debut jazz CD “Ballads, Blues & Cocktails”.  Read More

Beyond NY: Brodsky/Baryshnikov Play at Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston, MA

Beyond NY: Brodsky/Baryshnikov Play at Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston, MA

Cherry Orchard festival presents Brodsky/Baryshnikov at Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston on January 17-21, 2018 

Brodsky/Baryshnikov Cutler Majestic Theater Boston MA Cherry Orchard Festival
M. Baryshnikov, photo credit Pavel Antonov / Image courtesy of Baryshnikov Productions

90 min one-man show Brodsky/Baryshnikov, directed by Alvis Hermanis, is a delicate theatrical staging of complex poetry by Josef Brodsky  performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, a celebrated dancer and actor, and a close friend of J. Brodsky. The show is presented by the Cherry Orchard Festival with the performances at Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston, MA on January 17-21, 2018 and in Chicago, IL on February 2-4, 2018.

Josef Brodsky, 1987 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, was a Russian and American poet and essayist. Born in 1940 in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) Russia, he started writing poetry early in his teens. His writings were gaining popularity in literary circles and caught the attention and support from a Grand Dame of the Silver Age of Poetry, Anna Akhmatova. However, Brodsky’s poetry and life style were denounced by the authorities as anti-Soviet , and in 1963 he was sent to a hard labor camp in the Far North. He was eventually expelled from Russia in 1972 and settled in the USA.

While Brodsky was forcefully thrown out of Russia for becoming a cause célèbre in demonstrating a demonic nature of the soviet regime, Baryshnikov had defected to the West when he was on tour in Canada with Mariinsky ballet in 1974. They met in New York City at a party organized by Mstislav Rostropovich, an acclaimed Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor who also left Russia in the early seventies.

Brodsky/Baryshnikov Cutler Majestic Theater Boston MA Cherry Orchard Festival
M.Baryshniov, photo credit Janis Deinats / Image courtesy of Cherry Orchard Festival

 

The Paris Review notes Baryshnikov’s description of his first meeting with Brodsky pointing to a minute details like it was just yesterday. In Baryshnikov words “He gave me a cigarette, my hands were trembling … For me, he was a legend.” Their friendship lasted for more than two decades until Brodsky’s death in 1996.

Brodsky was more than just a friend, but a teacher and a mentor for Baryshnikov. In the FT  “Poetry and Motion” article Baryshnikov refers to Brodsky as “his university”.

The first performance of Brodsky/Baryshnikov play took place in 2015 in Riga, Latvia, a birth city for both Baryshnikov and Hermanis. It was then taken on an international tour to Tel-Aviv, New York, London, reviewed here in the spring of 2017, and in 2018 to Boston and Chicago.

Brodsky/Baryshnikov Cutler Majestic Theater Boston MA Cherry Orchard Festival
M. Baryshnikov and A. Hermanis, photo credit Janis Deinats / Image courtesy of Baryshnikov Productions

Although it is a one-man show, the audience gets to hear both voices. The Times of London says that there is “an eerie sense of an artistic collaboration that transcends mortality”. The depth of the verses, the grace of movements, the spare stage set bring back a sense of the passing time. And even when Hermanis describes the show as an anti-ballet, one still sees elegant moves in Baryshnikov’s ways of reading Brodsky’s verses and acting them on stage. The reading is done is Russian, so non-Russian speakers have to rely on a translation which surely misses the elegance and the poetic rhythm. Never the less its a theater to it’s highest degree that will surely be enjoyed by the theater lovers.

Boston, MA Show Dates and Tickets a discount code TICKETS3

Wednesday, January 17, 2018 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Friday, January 19, 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sunday, January 21, 201

 

 


Venue:
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre, 219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 

 

Beyond NY: Brodsky/Baryshnikov Play at Winter Garden Theater in Toronto, ON

Beyond NY: Brodsky/Baryshnikov Play at Winter Garden Theater  in Toronto, ON

Show One Productions presents Brodsky/Baryshnikov at Winter Garden Theater in Toronto on January 24 – 27, 2018 

Brodsky/Baryshnikov
M.Baryshniov, photo credit Janis Deinats / Image courtesy of Cherry Orchard Festival

90 min one-man show Brodsky/Baryshnikov, directed by Alvis Hermanis, is a delicate theatrical staging of complex poetry by Josef Brodsky  performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, a celebrated dancer and actor, and a close friend of J. Brodsky. The show is presented by the Show One Productions with the performances at the Winter Garden Theater in Toronto, ON on January 24-27, 2018. This engagement will follow the performances in Boston, MA.

Josef Brodsky, 1987 Nobel Prize winner in Literature, was a Russian and American poet and essayist. Born in 1940 in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) Russia, he started writing poetry early in his teens. His writings were gaining popularity in literary circles and caught the attention and support from a Grand Dame of the Silver Age of Poetry, Anna Akhmatova. However, Brodsky’s poetry and life style were denounced by the authorities as anti-Soviet , and in 1963 he was sent to a hard labor camp in the Far North. He was eventually expelled from Russia in 1972 and settled in the USA.

Brodsky/Baryshnikov
M. Baryshnikov, photo credit: Janis Deinats / Image courtesy of Baryshnikov Productions

The Paris Review notes Baryshnikov’s description of his first meeting with Brodsky pointing to a minute details like it was just yesterday. In Baryshnikov words “He gave me a cigarette, my hands were trembling … For me, he was a legend.” Their friendship lasted for more than two decades until Brodsky’s death in 1996.

Brodsky was more than just a friend, but a teacher and a mentor for Baryshnikov. In the FT  “Poetry and Motion” article Baryshnikov refers to Brodsky as “his university”.

The first performance of Brodsky/Baryshnikov play took place in 2015 in Riga, Latvia, a birth city for both Baryshnikov and Hermanis. It was then taken on an international tour to Tel-Aviv, New York, London, reviewed here in the spring of 2017, and in 2018 to Boston, Toronto and Chicago.

While Brodsky was forcefully thrown out of Russia for becoming a cause célèbre in demonstrating a demonic nature of the soviet regime, Baryshnikov had defected to the West when he was on tour in Canada with Mariinsky ballet in 1974. They met in New York City at a party organized by Mstislav Rostropovich, an acclaimed Soviet and Russian cellist and conductor who also left Russia in the early seventies.

Brodsky/Baryshnikov
M. Baryshnikov and A. Hermanis, photo credit Janis Deinats / Image courtesy of Baryshnikov Productions

Although it is a one-man show, the audience gets to hear both voices. The Times of London says that there is “an eerie sense of an artistic collaboration that transcends mortality”. The depth of the verses, the grace of movements, the spare stage set bring back a sense of the passing time. And even when Hermanis describes the show as an anti-ballet, one still sees elegant moves in Baryshnikov’s ways of reading Brodsky’s verses and acting them on stage. The reading is done is Russian, so non-Russian speakers have to rely on a translation which surely misses the elegance and the poetic rhythm. Never the less its a theater to it’s highest degree that will surely be enjoyed by the theater lovers.

Toronto,ON Show Dates and Discounted Tickets with the code TICKETS3

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Friday, January 26, 2018

Saturday, January 27, 2018

 

Venue: Winter Garden Theater, 189 Yonge St, Toronto, ON 

 


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

With the New York Pass your can enjoy a free visit to the Met Breuer!

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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