Thursday, October 22, 2009
My boyfriend, Mike, and I have been traveling recently. We went to DC about three weeks ago, and we went to New York City last weekend. We were originally going to look at grad schools, but they don't give tours on the weekends and I only have the weekends off. So we went to a lot of galleries.
We went to The Corcoran in DC to see the John Singer Sargent exhibition that focuses on his early work in the south of France. It had his paintings and sketches and studies, it was so great. It amazes me that, even early on, his craft with paint was amazing. Whenever I think of Sargent, I think of rich Victorian ladies and their kids, portraiture is what paid his bills. It was nice to see what he really liked to do, at least early on, which was ship masts and regular people working on the beach. Very different and more intimate.
Also at The Corcoran, we happened to stumble upon Edward Burtynsky, a very prominent photographer. We saw his series entitled 'Oil'. I have never been so amazed by photography, and I happen to be very hard to please when it comes to photography. He documents the industrial world and looks for the massive. He photographs a sign of the times that everyday people will never see. It's so interesting. He reminds me a lot of Rackstraw Downes. The museum was closing, so I only got maybe seven minutes to see his exhibit. I'm making a second trip up soon to appreciate and consider his work more.
We went to The Whitney, the MOMA, and The Guggenheim. My main reason for traveling up to NYC was to see the work of one of my earliest idols, Georgia O'Keeffe. I love O'Keeffe, there is nothing that can change how much I love her work. I did make some observations though. I couldn't tell if her canvases were made awkwardly or that they were made by art restorers to be the way that they were. You could tell when the wood planks would pop out and make a crease on the canvas. Did she not make her canvases well? I can't think of that to be intentional. Make they were made well at one point, but over time the wood warped or needed extra support. Was was really cool was that I saw a lot of things that I've never seen before, which is odd to me because I've own maybe 5 large books of her work. It was a joint show, it had some of her husband's, Alfred Stieglitz, photography of her. I never thought armpit hair could be made to look beautiful and sultry, but Stieglitz, with a liberated woman as O'Keeffe, made it so.
The MOMA wasn't exciting. The same old pop art stuff. Enough said.
This was my first time in the Guggenheim, and I was blown away. When I walked in, I couldn't help but think of the "The Cremaster Cycle" by Matthew Barney (which I need to watch again, it's amazing). Also it was my first time being inside anything made my Frank Lloyd Wright, also a major plus. We didn't know, however, that there was a Kandinsky exhibition there. It was also amazing and well put together with everyone having headphones and listening to many curators giving their opinions (for free). All of the paintings were exactly what I expected them to be (amazing) except they were a lot larger than I thought they would be. We saw more than his paintings, however, the museum also exhibited works on paper that he did when he taught at The Bauhaus. I had never seen these before and they completely blew my mind. His oil paintings had a lot of loud color, but with his paper work, it seemed much more focused (because it was more on the line of cubism than his abstractions in oil). His colors were muted and complementary and his compositions were very simple and elegant. Absolutely awesome.
Okay, I think that's enough for one post.