In 2014, I got the opportunity to see the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Let me take you back to the wonderful things I saw there.
One of my favorite artists — Jean Michel Basquiat. He is in my top ten list of artists I love. Got an opportunity in April of this year to see a retrospective of his journals, paintings and drawings from the Cleveland Museum of Art. I adore his mix of a graffiti- primitive-childlike style. It’s beautiful.
This piece in on loan from the Pizzuti Collection. It is one of my favorites in the Contemporary Art wing at the Columbus Museum of Art.
I did a docent research paper on this piece. You can read the abridged version below —
Artist – Antony Gormley (British, 1950)
Title of Work – Freefall II (2007)
Stainless steel bars
On loan from the Pizzuti Collection
Description – fractal-like geometric steel pieces, part of the Drift series (2007-2012). According to the artist:
The bodies are free, lost in space, weightless, and with no internal determination—they are not ‘acting.’ They appear as emergent zones: you cannot be sure whether the bubble matrix is produced by the body zone or the zone by the matrix. (Gormley’s website)
Style – Contemporary sculpture. Gormley is characteristically known for his work with life-sized human forms that have ambiguous features and are made of metal visibly soldered together in static poses.
They are casts of the artist’s own body. He is wrapped in cling film, then cloth, then coated with wet plaster, which dries. He is then cut out of the resulting mold, which is reassembled and lead or other metal is pressed into void, or beaten to take his form, and the pieces are welded together (Cumming, p.103)
Gormley was born in 1950, the youngest of seven children to a wealthy family. His father was an avid art lover and would regularly take his children to art museums. Gormley studied anthropology, archeology and art history at Cambridge (1968-71). It was during a trip to India where he decided to become an artist. Afterwards, he pursued his artistic endeavors at Central, Goldsmiths and Slade Schools of Art, London, 1974- 77.
Significance – Artist deals with the relationship between humans and their environment. Received the Turner Prize in 1994 for his Fields projects. Most known work is the Angel of the North (1998) in Gateshead, England.
Gormley’s oeuvre is steeped in social theory, anthropology and philosophy. He is always conscious of space, environment and human form and more importantly, their relationship together. He deliberately exposing the “process by which the work itself was made and the relating it very closely to his own body and existence” (The Guardian, p. 8).
In an article written by Gormley, he discussed the idea of the dualistic nature of sculpture. It is considered a “thing,” it occupies space, and it also can provoke feelings and experiences from the viewer. He continued to explain this idea,” sculpture itself is an act of liberation…the shape of the thing…are combined with…our experiences of abstract space into something concrete” (Gormley, p.1513)
According to Gormley, sculpture deals with mass and space on a large scale. He invites the beholder to feel their own scale and movement as compared to the sculpture, from this dynamic, emotions arise (Interview Magazine, p.3).
Boström, A. (2004). The encyclopedia of sculpture. Fitzroy Dearborn.
Brookner, J. (1992). The Heart of Matter. Art Journal, 51(2), 8-11.
Cumming, R. (2001). Art: A Field Guide. Alfred A. Knopf.
Kuiper, K. (2014). Antony Gormley – British Sculptor and Draftsman, Encyclopedia Brittannica. Retrieved January 11, 2017 from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Antony-Gormley
Gormley, A. (2007). Feeling into form. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences, 362(1484), 1513-1518.
Wilson, R. (2016). The Body of Antony Gormley. Interview Magazine. Retrieved January 11, 2017 from http://www.interviewmagazine.com/art/antony-gormley-constructs#
Wroe, N. (2005). Leader of the Pack. The Guardian. Retreived January 11, 2017 from https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2005/jun/25/art
Students from local schools like this piece too.
Above is the presentation my fellow docents and I put together in our study group for the upcoming exhibit —
Paris, Fin de Siecle: Signac, Redon, Toulouse-Lautrec and Their Contemporaries
ODILON REDON – PARIS , FIN de SIECLE Exhibition – By Sandy Dueker
Smiling, ballerina like w/delicate arms and legs, winking at us – almost, drawing us in, including us in its forbidden underworld
This spider is enormous compared to most house spiders – w/ its upturned eyeballs, flared nostril, and toothy smile. And in the middle, a flurry round body. Real spiders don’t grin – they have fangs and no teeth. Why would Redon give this spider 10 legs when spiders have 8? We know he studied @ the natural history museums. The reason was b/c he was happiest when he was creating improbable beings with careful observation and some sense creepiness
What do these creatures mean? Redon created his monsters based on science, observing / researching @natural history museum, attending lecture in anatomy & physiology @ school of medicine. He had a way of marrying the real with the fantastic. There is debate as to the origins and meaning of these creatures. They’re not quite subject or object b/c of their mixed nature. It’s unsettling to our identity, our sense of self. Redon embraced the unclassifiable wh/ went against the new science taking hold at the time, called teratology the science of classifying abnormalities (like monsters).
It brings up such questions – What does it mean to be human? What is it not? What is attractive? What is repellent? We now have a new way of seeing things. Redon’s works represent the extreme of breaking codes/laws and the very limits in the order of things (i.e. Frankenstein – gentle/hideous, etc.) Some things can’t be interpreted or explained – blowing our paradigms, types.
Style – Shows fantastic mixed in with the real; nebulous and mysterious atmospheres to describe a gamete of other worldly creatures; transformations and metamorphosis; representations of dreams; mysterious powers in the tension between the real and fantastic
The Art of Redon – Fantastic art’s role – Debate between fantasy and reality/imagination and mimesis
How does or should one make art? Through imitation? Invention? What is the role of observation? The place of fantasy? At the time, fantasy art was considered a lesser art form b/c it was considered comical or b/c it was associated w/decoration. It undermines the seriousness of work and deviates from the faithful reproduction of nature.
In August, I visited the Dayton Art Institute for the very first time. There was a general admission fee to the museum as well as a fee for the current exhibit – The Antartic Sublime & Elements of Nature: Water.
Unfortunately, I have sad news. The Antartic Sublime exhibit was disorganized and underwhelming. My reasons for these criticisms are: first, there weren’t many pieces to the exhibit as compared to other exhibits I’ve seen recently (such as 30 Americans in Cincinnati or The Great War Experimentation and Change in Columbus); and second, there was a physical sense of disjointedness to the exhibit. Unlike normal exhibition spaces -where the rooms sort of flow together cohesively in a loose maze as you walk through them- the Antartic Sublime was shown in three separate rooms on two different floors of the museum. The combination of these factors created a negative experience for me with this exhibit.
Even though their Antartic exhibit was disappointing, the permanent collection at the Dayton Art Institute and the museum itself was quite impressive. It’s a beautiful old building with an extensive Asian Art and Oceanic collection, decorative arts collection and numerous other ambitious pieces. Shown below are some of the main features from the museum.
Alison Saar’s Lost and Found (2003) [Painting on wall, behind Saar’s work, is by artist Janet Fish]
Pat Steir’s Border Lord (1972)
Dwindell Grant’s Red Circle (1938)
Bodhisattva Guanyin – Chinese, 11th century
Amida Buddha – Japanese, 13th Century
Elephant Mask Costume – Bamileke people, 20th century
Late last month I went to the Cincinnati Art Museum for the first time. While I was there I saw an exhibit called 30 Americans. The collection was composed of African-American artists from the past thirty years. Read more about the show here.
Below are some of the high points from the show. (And, may I say, there were A LOT.)
Untitled (1985-1999) by Purvis Young
Bird On Money (1981) by Jean-Michel Basquiat
Non je ne regrette rien (2007) by Wangechi Mutu
The Seven Prisoners of the Abyss (2008) by Noah Davis
Soundsuit (2009, 2008) by Nick Cave
Whore in the Church House (2006) by Mark Bradford [Top – Two close-up photos of the work. Bottom – The entire piece.]
While attending the Picasso The Great War Experimentation and Change exhibit early this past June at the Columbus Museum of Art, I had the opportunity to see the new Contemporary wing of the museum. The wing’s grand opening was in the fall of 2015.
The new wing adds over 50,000 square feet to the museum using 1,500 copper panels on the exterior of the addition. In my humble opinion, here are some of the gems from the contemporary collection.
Nocturne Navigator by Alison Saar
Paranirvana (Self Portrait) by Lewis deSoto
Side note — The Picasso exhibit, by the way, goes from 6/10/2016 to 9/11/2016.
Google came up with a great idea on how you can truly appreciate art in close detail. A new technology called Art Camera, a robotic camera, can take high resolution images of objects. The results are amazing finely detailed close-ups of artwork.
(Above Image – Port of Rotterdam by Paul Signac)
Read more about Google’s Art Camera here.