Two Crabs

Image courtesy of the National Gallery

So today I’m sharing my favorite Van Gogh painting. Two crabs, 1889. It’s displayed in the National Gallery in London right next to the super famous Sunflowers, which I think is a shame because it gets overlooked a lot. There’s usually a huddle of tourists trying to look at the Sunflowers hiding it. So if you do happen to visit the National gallery don’t miss out on it.

And now a bit of the history behind this painting. It is believed that Van Gogh was inspired by a woodcut by Hokusai  that he saw in a book his brother sent him the same year this painting was made. This isn’t the only crab painting by Van Gogh, there is another one in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam but I didn’t get a chance to see that one in real life yet.

The Turban Field

Image courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.

This ink and gouache on prepared paper by Shahzia Sikander from 2005 is probably one of my favorite paintings ever. When I saw it at the MoMA, it stood out among all the super famous masterpieces. Sikander is an internationally established Pakistani artist, and you can check out more of her art on her website.

Untitled-Tara Donovan

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This monumental sculpture by Tara Donovan is composed of hundreds of Styrofoam cups glued on an aluminium structure. It is attached to the ceiling in one of the galleries of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. This sculpture is interactive as it can be perceived differently according to the space it is in and the changing light. It is very reminiscent of natural processes, as the artist says that her art “tries to mimic the ways of nature”; but at the same time it is made of a non natural material, which provokes an interesting dialogue.

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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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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.

Gratitude

Image courtesy of Artsy

This painting by Agnes Martin from 2001 belongs to a private collector, but until October 11 you can see it at the Tate Modern gallery in London. I personally can’t wait until I go see it for myself so I can tell you more about this incredible artist and hopefully share some more discoveries with you.

Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Review

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Useful Info:

  • Collections: Modern and contemporary art, plus changing exhibitions
  • City: New York, USA.
  • Opening hours: Saturday-Thursday 10:30am-5:30pm, Friday 10:30am-8pm (also Thursday 10:30am-8pm in July and August). Members can come from 9:30 every day.
  • Price: $25 regular, $18 seniors, $14 students, free for children under 16 and member. Members can bring up to five guests for $5.
  • Website

I’m not going to spend a long time introducing the MoMA, it is one of the most famous museums on this planet and I’m sure a lot of sites can do that better than me. I just want to share my experience of it, so here it is.

I went to the MoMA on a Sunday, which was the last day of the Björk exhibition, but it wasn’t too crowded. I really appreciated that and I wanted to focus on it because I think it really changes the visitor’s experience.

DSC_1329So the MoMa has 6 floors with things on display (or 5 for non Americans but I’m going to follow their system here). The first floor has no galleries, but this is where the sculpture garden is located. We started there and worked our way upwards.

I don’t remember exactly what was located in which gallery (next time I promise I’ll take notes), and the plan of the museum is not very explicit about it. According to it, the second floor houses prints and illustrated books, media, and contemporary galleries. I do remember the contemporary galleries having a lot of Andy Warhol artwork in them. It was one of the first things I saw inside the MoMA and I was very impressed. You can check out the Campbell soup room in the picture above.

The third floor has architecture and design, drawing, and photography. If my memories are correct it also had this huge corridor with video game projections on both walls that you could control (pictured below). The MoMA actually has a good number of interactive things on display like retro games and they are pretty successful.

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Moving on, the 4th and 5th floor have painting and sculpture, but not just any. I knew the MoMA was a big deal but I never expected to see so many major pieces from the 20th century on display in the same building. They have Dali, Ernst, Picasso, Matisse, Miro, Monet, Kahlo, Rothko, Van Gogh and so many other spread over those two floors. I was seriously mind blown. I posted the picture below to my Snapchat story so you can have an idea of my reaction.

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The 6th floor has a shop and temporary exhibition galleries. When I went there it was an exhibition about Yoko Ono, which is still running until September 7 2015. I can’t tell you what I thought of it because by then it was almost closing time and I really wanted to see the Björk exhibition.

I know the exhibition is over now but I’d still like to share my thoughts about it with you. I missed some parts of it, because it was almost closing and also because the MoMA has temporary display galleries spread out on different floors, so t can get confusing especially when they are used for the same exhibition. They don’t connect so you’d have to go in then out then switch floors and back in.

But anyway I saw bits of the movie that they were projecting and the core part of the exhibition, which was more like an experience than a traditional exhibition. They gave us mandatory audioguides in which Björk herself narrates a story, hers. The audioguide follows the exhibition, which is divided into several rooms which make up the different phases of her career and growth as an artist. Each room has a corresponding track on the audioguide and objects on display, from costumes to notebooks to personal objects. The sound is very Björk-like and dreamy, and I enjoyed listening to all of it. The material displayed was also stunning (check out this amazing costume below). But there was one major flaw with the exhibition; and that was that the tracks of the audioguide were too long compared to what there was to see in each room. Overall though I was really glad I got to see this exhibit.

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Wrapping up, I think that if you’re in New York you should absolutely not miss the MoMA. My visit took about 3 hours but it felt like way less. There is so much to see at this museum, the collections are incredibly rich and interesting. It is relatively easy to navigate and not huge, which is always something I appreciate in a museum. Make sure you also check out the design store. It’s overpriced but they have so many pretty things. The MoMA is definitely my favorite museum in New York and my second favorite in the US so far (yup the MFA still has number one).

Rating

  • Accessibility (location, price, disabled access, transport links and parking): 8.5/10
  • Architecture: 8.5/10
  • Collections: 9.5/10
  • Display: 9/10
  • Resources (explanation panels, guides, plans): 7.5/10
  • Extras (shop, events, exhibitions): 9/10
  • Overall: 8.5/10

Brushstroke | Back to Basics Exhibition

IMG-20150613-WA0026This sculpture by Lichtenstein is going to be the title artwork for the Back to Basics exhibition. The older exhibitions (Metal Colors and Perceptions of Nature) will still be running; but this one is more about simple lines and shapes, monochromes, and primary colors. Back to Basics will be an exhibition with no complications.

So a little more about Brushstroke now. This one is exhibited at the Hirshhorn since 2003, was created in 1966 and is made of aluminium. You can tell it’s pretty monumental by comparing it to me on the above picture. Initially, the Brushstrokes were a series of paintings that Lichtenstein started in the 1960s. This sculpture is part of a series derived from the paintings. There are several Brushstrokes sculptures spread out around the world, from America to Spain to Japan.

Image courtesy of the Lichtenstein Foundation.