Mandala 6

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Here’s a mandala drawn by Nina Cobri that I colored in 2013.

I also want to say that I’ll be going to London for 10 days tomorrow, so the blog won’t be updated during this time. However, you can follow me on Instagram @museumandmusings and on Snapchat @lamia.sassine for live updates. Stay on the lookout for new posts, reviews and exhibitions coming soon and thank you for reading/following.

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Blue Green Yellow Orange Red

Image courtesy of the Guggenheim

This painting by Ellsworth Kelly from 1966 consists of 4 panels of oil on canvas, and belongs to the collection of the Guggenheim museum (review coming soon), although I don’t think it’s currently on display because I don’t remember seeing it when I was there.

Note that Kelly had a reasoning behind his painting of solid colors, which is a composition he started experimenting with in the 1950s. For him, they represent the extracted essence of the objects he was painting. Instead of making a figurative representation, he broke things down to the most basic shapes and colors. These paintings also have a sculptural dimension to them because they have no figurative elements and therefore the focus is on their relationship to each other and to the space they are in.

The MFA has a similar composition (pictured below) from 1968 which actually inspired me to post about this one. In fact, you can see that the sculptural dimension is much more obvious in the second painting because the colors are not only arranged by their order in the spectrum but also by panel size.

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Walking Across the D.C Monuments

I picked a really bad time for my monuments walk across D.C. It was late afternoon in June but it was still unbearably hot and my phone was running out of battery (which explains the lack of original pictures in this post). I was on the verge of giving up and go home but it was my last day there so I sucked it up and did it anyway. Here’s a link to a good map so you can follow the itinerary as you read.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia

I started at the Jefferson Memorial, which is this nice neat classical building you see pictured above. There’s a statue of Thomas Jefferson and some engraving of his quotes inside.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

I then walked to the Franklin Roosevelt Memorial (aka FDR Memorial). This one was probably on of my favorites. It is set on a horizontal stripe of land and mainly consists of fountains, as you can see on the above picture. It also has a statue of Roosevelt (and his dog), and some quotes engraved. I learned when I was there that the fountains are not an architectural coincidence as water was an important element for Roosevelt himself.

Image courtesy of Atlanta Black Star

My next stop was the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial (pictured above). As you probably have guessed already, it’s a giant stone statue of him with some quotes. Eh. Aesthetically, I didn’t find it that pleasing.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

Then, I walked through the Korean war veterans memorial, which is a field of statues of soldiers, to get to the Lincoln Memorial (pictured above). Again, it’s a classical looking building with a huge statue of Lincoln and quotes on the inside. The most enjoyable part of this monument though is the view you get from it. There is a large reflecting pool leading to the Washington monument right in front of it. I paused there for a while before finishing my walk.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

At the opposite end of the reflecting pool (and after passing through the Vietnam war memorial, another field of soldiers), is the World War II Memorial, a large oval fountain with names of all the states. I also appreciated this monument a lot.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

And last but not least is the Washington Monument, a tall white obelisk that you can see from pretty much anywhere in the National Mall. The whole walk took about 2 hours, with breaks at some of the monuments. I skipped the Capitol because it’s a bit off path and I got a closer look at it another day, and the White House because you can’t really get close anyway. In the end, I didn’t regret doing the walk. It’s quite a touristy thing to do but it’s a unique experience and all the monuments are quite impressive. It would have been a shame to miss it. I recommend doing it under temperate weather conditions though because it is a lot of walking outdoors. You can also visit the monuments at night when they are lit up.

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This wood and paint structure by Sol LeWitt from 1985 is currently on view at the Hirshhorn in Washington, DC. This artwork is a typical example of LeWitt’s use of simple basic units that can be associated in multiple ways. Here, he stacked up empty white cubes symmetrically to create a sort of truncated pyramid. What I find aesthetically pleasing in this piece is how multidimensional and complex it is although it is based on something really quite straightforward.

Papare Series

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All images courtesy of Gonzalo Fuenmayor

All images courtesy of Gonzalo Fuenmayor

This photo set by Gonzalo Fuenmayor was realized in 2014. Chandeliers were hung to banana plantations, lit, and photographed at night. The concept behind these piece of art follows from earlier works by the artist, examining ideas of identities and colonial history. Here, these ideas are taken even further as Fuenmayor combines the banana plantations, which are associated to a violent history; and the chandeliers as a symbol of luxury and opulence to study how decoration can mask ugly circumstances.

Again, these photographs are a social and historical study of colonial Latin America. They are based on the idea of contrast and harmony, and how opposing concepts can interact and complete each other. You can look at the rest of the set over here or see Fuenmayor’s exhibition at the MFA.

Icarus Complex

Image courtesy of Gonzalo Fuenmayor

Image courtesy of Gonzalo Fuenmayor

This charcoal on paper drawing by Gonzalo Fuenmayor was realized in 2011, as part of a project entitled “Tropicalia” which explores mixed identities in colonial Latin America. He uses strong symbolic imagery to represent clichés of exoticism with the banana plants and Victorian luxury and opulence with the chandelier for example. The point is to find equilibrium and harmony within this contrast of cultures.

This art actually sets the stage for a photography project which I will post about tomorrow done in 2014, where Fuenmayor takes these concepts even further, so make sure you come back to check out the Papare project. In the meantime, you can look at more of his works on his website or head to the MFA to see his first solo exhibition which is on until September 13.

Chanel Spring 2009 Couture

Image courtesy of style.com

A lot of the pieces in this entirely black and white collection look extremely pure and simple. Most of the shapes are very linear and basic, but the devil is in the details. Mirroring the intricate laser-cut headgear the models were wearing; the outfits all have intricately woven details and textures that are anything but bland.

This collection is a take on the intricate tangles between simplicity and complexity, and I think this is what makes it successful and interesting. It shows that it’s not all about color and shape and everything the eye catches at first glance but also about texture. Actually, this particular outfit reminds me of White on White by Malevich (which I should make a post about, it fits this exhibition pretty well).

Image courtesy of style.com

Thistle Window

DSC_1212This stained glass window comes from the James A. Patten house in Evanston, Illinois; which was designed in 1901 by architect George Maher. It was originally in the Great Room, next to the fireplace, and it forms part of a group of three identical windows. The one pictured is exhibited at the MFA Boston and the other two are in the Met Museum and the Huntington Library.

This example is the only one I have seen in real life and I really appreciated to see it exhibited on a real window. Way too often, stained glass in museums is exhibited on an opaque wall which really doesn’t render the effects of light on the colors properly. That’s also why I chose to use my own picture here rather than the one on any of the websites that have one of the windows; but if you want to see it more in details you can just look up “Thistle Window” on the MFA’s website.

PS: I know this isn’t conventionally an archaeological object but I’m posting it in the archaeology gallery by elimination. And also because I don’t want to open an architecture gallery because it’s not really my thing and it wouldn’t be very rich.