Art Stroll

Art Stroll: Random Galleries at Met Museum, NYC

Last month we went to see the Alice Neel exhibition at the Met and were incredibly lucky to be in an almost empty museum – so I thought I would share some more random gallery pictures with you.

To be honest the Modern Art gallery is never super crowded at the Met but never this empty and nonetheless it was a treat to be for several minutes absolutely alone with the artwork. My heart was so full after not being in any museum for over a year.

Rothko was singing…

Pollock was moving…

Nevelson was inviting us to Mrs. N’s Palace …

but then still decided to socially distance from the viewer.

Edna Andrade invited us for a “Summer Game” – which made me very happy

Sam Gilliam made me think rebellious thoughts on how to use canvas cloth …

And boy, Pollock was just super demanding… such an ego …but …

Can you blame him???

There I stood and just thought “wow …what a wonderful day this is”

Klimt’s Mäda Primavesi looked rather inquisitive as if to say “where have you been, it was really boring here!”

it was tempting to dance through the empty hall, and I think…

Serena knew that too – she gave me a little smile but asked to contain myself

And so I moved on …

And said hello to this magnificent statue

and details in stone…

And then it was time to leave …as there is only so much you can take in and Alice Neel’s exhibition was also already behind us. What a wonderful day this was. Weeks later I remain on a high, how much I missed this. I hope you enjoyed the Artstroll – cannot wait for the next one. 

Comments (2)

  • Andrea R Huelsenbeck

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    It’s been so long since I’ve been to the Met. Thank you for sharing your photos. I hope I can visit–maybe next year.

    Reply

  • Vee

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    Your STROLLS are so FULL!! Your experience ‘feeds’ me in so many ways.
    You make me chuckle with your choice of words, you make me think abut the way you looked
    at something, you made me feel (dance) (boring), and you always inspire me.
    I ALWAYS want your strolls to go on! MORE, More, more
    THANKS

    Reply

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Art Stroll: Alice Neel at Met Museum, NYC

Last weekend we were able to visit a museum in the first time in over a year. The exhibition “People Come First – Alice Neel” was calling us and after the first hesitation of the thought to be in a closed area with other people I bought some timed tickets for 10am on a Sunday morning. Boy was that the best decision ever. Besides the fantastic exhibition, this was a once in a life time experience at the Met …we entered almost every gallery alone …it was amazing and after such a long time of no artstrolls, seeing art in person was exhilarating. But let’s check out the fantastic Alice Neel exhibition.

“Fish Market”, 1947

Alice Neel was born in 1920 and died in 1984. The earliest of hier paintings in the exhibition was from 1920 and the oldest one from 1984. Alice Neel saw herself as a collector of souls – painting pictures of people not portraits. She was a political painter in the choice of who she painted, what she painted and the way how she painted.

“Mercedes Arroyo”, 1952

Mercedes Arroyo was a social activist in East Harlem. Neel declared in 1950 – echoing Arroyo’s principles “East Harlem is like a battlefield of humanism, and I am on the side of the people here”

“Futility of Effort”, 1930

This abstract painting is one of two experiences: of the loss of Neel’s daughter to diphtheria and a newspaper article Neel wrote about a mother who lost her child when sie was ironing in the kitchen next door, when her child choked on the bars of her crib. Motherhood and the struggles tied to it is a reoccurring subject of Neels paintings.

“Rita and Hubert”, 1954. Hubert Satterfield, a writer and his girlfriend Rita (we do not know what she did).

“Peggy”, 1949

Peggy was a victim of domestic abuse and Neel chose to represent her with the bruises and abrasions left by her boyfriend’s recent assault.

“Dominican Boys on 108th Street”, 1955

While we know those are boys I find them so adult-ish in their gaze and demeanor.

“The Black Boys”, 1967

Neel made this painting of the two young boys Toby and Jeff Neal and I love how you can see the boredom but also discipline to sit this through in those boys. I loved reading an article on how one of the brothers has just seen the painting of him in the very first time after it was finished at the Met and the background story.

“Richard Gibbs” 1968

So vibrant – what is he thinking?

“David Bourdon and Gregory Battcock”, 1970

Bourdon was an editor at Life Magazine, Battcock was an art critic. What a weird juxtaposition of someone in a suit comfortably sitting in an armchair and the other person in his underwear, on an ottoman.

“Jackie Curtis as a Boy” 1972.

Jackie Curtis was a prominent figure in Manhattan’s Lower East side and became very well known when entering the orbit of Andy Warhol. This painting was painted two years later than the one below. This painting reveals the other side of Curtis and play with gender.

“Jackie Curtis and Ritta Redd”, 1970

I love the torn panty hose showing the big toe!

Here you get an idea how empty the galleries were. It was amazing.

“Andy Warhol”, 1970

Andy Warhol was shot in June 1968 and he had many operations to save his life. He is exposing himself to the viewer – his scars, his corset, his eyes are closed, the man who always looked. A very vulnerable painting of Warhol.

“Nancy and Olivia”, 1967 – drawing from art history the subject of mother and child.

“Madame Roulin and Her Baby”, 1888

“Thanksgiving” , 1965

A funny painting and one that Americans well know! Neel was very well versed in art history – the reference below shows the same kind of loose brushwork and food painted into abstraction

“Still Life with Rayfish” ca. 1924 by Chaim Soutine

I did not only love how Neel captured her subjects but also how much humor there was in her paintings.

“Self-Portrait”, 1980

One of her only true self portraits where she is a main subject. Provocative to paint herself nude as an older woman. Neel emphasizes her professional identity by showing the tools of her trade in this painting as well.

“Black Draftee (James Hunter)”, completed 1965

Neel met Hunter on the streets of NY – he came for two sittings. The story goes that he was never able to return as he was called to the Vietnam War. Neel decided the painting is finished. This painting was so touching – for me today it told a different story as well .. the many unfinished lifes of Black Men in America!

“Nazis Murder Jews”, 1936

“107th and Broadway”, 1976

This a view of Neel’s final apartment on the the Upper West Side.I love this – the light, the shadow of the other building, the hint of the bodega on the corner. After looking at all the gazes of people Alice Neel painted, this gave me a little breathing time …maybe she used this view to rest a bit too from all the soul collecting she did, it must have been at times really exhausting.

A great exhibition – and if you are in the area, I recommend coming right at opening time of the museum with an already purchased timed ticket (New Yorkers of course for free). It was a wonderful experience and I felt safe the entire time.

Comments (3)

  • Jean Goza

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    Oh Nat. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful experience. I did not know much about Alice Neel. Her painting style and how she captures so much expression and emotion is just incredible. I loved the article about Jeff Neal and how he finally got to see his portrait hanging in the museum. One of the other paintings that really stuck with me was “Black Draftee” (James Hunter). It does seem appropriate that Alice Neel considered it finished in this state. Your comment about the unfinished lives of black men in America is so spot on.
    Thanks again for sharing. I always learn so much on your art strolls.
    Good health to you…

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    What an amazing collection. Every person’s face tells a story ( most serious at that). I love the Black Boys…yes, the boredom and discipline you noted Nat.

    Reply

  • Rebecca Buchanan

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    I cannot thank you enough for sharing so many images along with your thoughts from this amazing exhibition. I had read about it somewhere else and do not think I would be able to come to see it in person. Thank you again!

    Reply

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Art Stroll: Distort – “Reaching for the Steal”

Last weekend we went to a really amazing art show by Distort – a mural artist I really admire at the Deep Space Gallery.

Upon entering the showroom you see one of a many absolutely awesome wall installations in brick and plaster also done by Distort.

Most of this work was on engraved metal plates and oil paints. Photos can not really show you the depth and dimension Distort creates in his work and boy – It is awesome!

Above Against the Current, 2020

Style Warriors, 2020

Watching Machines, 2020

This wall installation was sooo dope- when you look inside you see a train track vanishing into the plane – Amazing.

Distort had a zine at the exhibition that would show the collage work he did as prep work before painting the work. It was amazing to see the magazine clippings and imagery and then see the actual work resulting from the “draft”

Mountain Dew, 2020

such an awesome reference to his graffiti and mural background

Reaching for the Steal, 2020
The Pentagon, 2020
Supreme Court, 2020

Supreme Court hit me …it was my favorite piece of the show!

Must Come Down, 2020
Venison, 2020

Love Story, 2020

I love how abandoned buildings, the theme of nature taking back areas of architecture and human artifacts are woven over and over into his work.

Father and Son, 2020

Another favorite of mine – this one was actually created on a mirror! Distort is mirrored talking to someone else in the background …I did not talk to him …I am always very shy when I am a groupie hahahaha.

It was such a cool exhibition! If you are in Jersey City or close to it – make an appointment this month with Deep Space Gallery and see it. I love the work that Deep Space Gallery shows but this exhibition was my favorite so far. And really …nothing beats seeing art than seeing art in person!

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    TFS Nat, Supreme Court called out to me (as well)!
    Not to copy you. LOL

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Art Stroll: MoMA Collection Galleries

In December on a snowy afternoon my husband and I went to a member evening with Jazz and open galleries and I guess because it was snowing the museum was almost empty. It was a total treat to walk almost alone through the galleries. 

Funky!

Seeing this in an empty room …RARE

Swoon – This piece by Giuseppe Lignano, – Foladable 1 – 2016 – Laser Cut Cardboard with Inkjet print and Enamel Paint inspired me to those pieces.

Laura Owens, Untitled, 2013 – I love this so much -the stenciled newspaper – the thick impasto flowers .

More empty gallery bliss.

Gorgeous wood cut prints by Edvard Munch!

Picasso’s Ladies on their own

Egon Schiele, Nude with Violet Stockings and Black Hair (Akt mit violetten Strümpfen und schwarzem Haar)

Egon Schiele, Portrait of Gerti Schiele, 1909 – I love this and I love how you can see how influenced Schiele was in in his style by Gustav Klimt.

Vanessa Bell, Composition – 1914 Gouache, watercolor, and colored paper on cut-and-pasted paper

YESS – I really love that MoMA finally makes an effort to show more female artists

Sonia Delaunay-Terk, La Prose du Transsibérien et de la Petite Jehanne de France (Prose of the Trans-Siberian and of Little Joan of France) 1913

Delaunay-Terk and Cendrars transformed the traditional book format from a handheld volume that is read sequentially from page to page into an object that unfolds accordion-style—a dazzlingly colorful, nearly seven-foot-long sheet on which text and illustration can be apprehended all at once. While Cendrars’s poem appears on the right, in various typefaces and colors, Delaunay-Terk’s geometries cascade down the left, and the blank spaces around the text have been stenciled with color as well.

Sonia Delaunay-Terk , 1923 Tristan Tzara with Monocle

Florine Stettheimer, Euridice and the Snake – 1912 – Costume design – Oil, beads, and metal lace on canvas

Florine Stettheimer, Gorgette, 1912 – Costume design

Stettheimer wrote the libretto and designed the costumes for this unrealized ballet.

Florine Stettheimer, Family Portrait II, 1933

An artist, playwright, set designer, and poet, Stettheimer led a Manhattan salon where she entertained, exhibited her work, and shared her poems with her favored circle of artists. In Family Portrait, II, she combines images of herself, her sisters (who ran the salon with her), and her mother with symbolic elements wittily representing their individual personality traits. Among those she chose for herself are the RCA building (30 Rockefeller Center, known today as the GE Building) and Radio City Music Hall, each identifiable by the text the artist has inscribed on it. In focusing on her family, the painting typifies Stettheimer’s concern with the personal, which seems to have endlessly inspired her. Her attention to detail extended to choosing the frames that would best set off her vibrant paintings—in this case an unusual construction of white wicker.

Francis Stark, Chorus Line 2008 – Cut-and-pasted printed and colored papers on paper.

Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven – 1923-1926 Dada Portrait of Bernice Abbott, Gouache, metallic paint, and tinted lacquer with varnish, metal foil, celluloid, fiberglass, glass beads, metal objects, cut-and-pasted painted paper, gesso and cloth on paperboard.

Fernand Legér, 1922 – costume desing for the ballet Skating Rink

People??? just kidding ;)

Joseph Cornell, Untitled (Bébé Marie) 1940s, Papered and painted wood box with painted corrugated cardboard bottom, containing doll in cloth dress and straw hat with cloth flowers, dried flowers and twigs, flecked with paint.

Rufino Tamayo, Animals 1941

Graham Sutherland, Thorn Head 1945 – Gouache, chalk and ink on paper on board

Janet Sobel, Milky Way 1945 – Enamel on Canvas

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Art Stroll: MoMA Betye Saar

During the holiday season my husband and I want to a MoMA evening with Jazz for members. There is nothing better than the word Jazz to get the man out – LOL- just kidding ;) I think because of some snow right before we went the museum was empty- it was awesome. We finally also saw the Betye Saar exhibition. Betye Saar is known for her assemblage and collage work. Saar explores both the realities of African-American oppression and the mysticism of symbols through the combination of everyday objects. “I’m the kind of person who recycles materials but I also recycle emotions and feelings,” the artist has explained. “And I had a great deal of anger about the segregation and the racism in this country.”

The Wounded Wilderness, 1962 – Etching with relief printing.

She became interested in printmaking when she was studying design. It became her segue from design to fine art.

In the Dell, 1960 – Etching.

Her pieces were fascinating!

The Quick & the Dead, 1964 – Etching and collagraph with hand addtions and embossing with stamped ink

Mystic Window for Leo, Assemblage, etching

Saar found this window and used images of the leo and sky charts as this is an important symbol for her. I loved this so much!

Black Girl’s Window, 1969, wooden window fram with paint, cut-and-pasted printed and painted papers, daguerreotype, lenticular print and plastic figurine.

A silhouette of her head with floating moons and stars; an etching (her own) of a lion, her birth sign; a tintype of a woman who could be her Irish grandmother; and, at the center, a novelty shop Halloween skeleton alluding to her father’s death when she was a child, a loss she says she still lives with.

“Even at the time, I knew it was autobiographical”, Saar said of her now -iconic assemblage Black Girl’s Window. “It is like a diary of my life”

Saars printing materials – it was so interesting to see those and then try to find them again in her various prints.

Phrenology Man Digs Sol y Luna1966, Etching with relief-printed found objects

“Phrenology, a pseudoscience that has been definitively debunked, links portions of the human brain to different character traits and capacities. It gained popularity in the nineteenth century and was cited by proponents of slavery and segregation as proof of the inferiority of African Americans. That a black woman adopted this motif in her work may seem subversive, but according to Saar, she was attracted to phrenology as a map of the unknown, in keeping with her interest in astrology and palmistry. Her own Phrenology Man, who appears in this print and several others, has the words “SEX” and “HATE” tumbling through his mind, together with animals, flowers, and astrological signs.”

The Phrenologer’s Window II, 1966 – Wooden Window frame with cut-and-pasted printed paper, acrylic paint, and found objects on board

“You can make art out of anything.” Betye Saar

The Palmist Window, 1967 wooden window frame with cut-and-pasted printed paper and fabric with charcoal and acrylic paint

Comments (1)

  • chrissie

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    loved this

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Art Stroll: Storm King

For my Birthday in July my husband surprised me with a trip to the Storm King Art Center in the Hudson Valley in New York State. It had been on my bucket list for a long time and gosh it was soooo cool!

There is something so beautiful to walk around in Nature and look at gigantic art which appears different from all kinds of angles and in different lights and seasons.

Storm King was founded and opened in the 60s and it is pretty massive.

“Storm King Art Center’s dramatic landscape includes farmed fields, natural woodlands, lawns, native grasses, wetlands, and water.”

Don’t be fooled by the cloudy and cool looking pictures – it was an extremely hot and humid day .

But it didn’t deter us from hiking around and enjoying everything.

Where every you turn around there is something to see- sometimes very colorful and prominent

Menashe Kadishman’s Suspended was one of my favorites – all you wonder is “how is this even balancing and holding up” . It was fun to see people interacting with the sculpture and walk underneath.

“Tomio Miki, who exhibited among a group of avant-garde, politically active artists in Tokyo in the late 1950s and early 1960s, settled in 1963 on the human ear as his primary sculptural subject for the next several years. He often depicted them individually, on a giant scale, as represented in the work at Storm King. Sometimes he combined ears with other elements, such as spoons or colored lights, or made series of them set in rows or in boxes. Miki spoke quixotically about his choice of the ear, saying that it originated in an “experience in a train, when, for no reason, I suddenly felt myself surrounded by hundreds of ears trying to assault me. This personal episode, however, wouldn’t be any precise answer to why I make ears. I can hardly say I chose the ear. More precisely, isn’t it that the ear chose me?”

Ursula von Rydingsvard’s For Paul—made of cedar wood

Alexander Calder , Black Flag, 1974

The museum hosted an exhibition of Mark Dion – Follies.

“The job of the artist,” he says, “is to go against the grain of dominant culture, to challenge perception and convention.”

Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between “objective” (“rational”) scientific methods and “subjective” (“irrational”) influences.

One of my favorites- the next 3 works below by Louise Bourgeois – it is always such a treat to see her work in person.

“While typically black, Nevelson’s sculptures are occasionally white or gold; their monochromatic surfaces lend a sense of order and unity to the varied parts. Among Nevelson’s first gold-painted sculptures, Royal Tide I was included in the historic Art of Assemblage exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1961. Nevelson cited a religious resonance in the color gold, as well as a natural and spiritual connection to the sun. She was also interested in its timeless quality: “Gold has been the staple of the world for ages; it is universal.”

Sky Chapel No. 1, 1958-59

“Number Seventy-Two (The No March) is one of Louise Bourgeois’s most complex and politically charged works. This intricate sculpture—a floor work made from 1,200 individual cylindrical pieces of marble and travertine—was created in homage to a non-violent protest against the Vietnam War. Bourgeois also imbued the work with a more universal meaning, noting: “The No March also means accepting you’re almost nobody. You have to merge with thousands like you.”

Five Units Equal, 1956

Gorgeous fountain by Lynda Bengalis which resembles ocean waves lapping at the shore, slow-moving lava, or prehistoric creatures.

You can rent bikes and go out in the fields- which we should have done but we realized too late and walking in heat of 100F/38 C and in that sauna air wasn’t really our thing that day.

We made a promise to come back at one of the other , cooler seasons.

Alexander Liberman – Iliad and Adam

nearly seventy feet, Endless Column by Tal Streeter

A different view of Alexander Liberman’s Adonai -it is also in the very first picture. This sculpture was and is made out of gas storage tanks and the original sculpture deteriorated and was refabricated in 2000 after the artist had already died. I find it interesting – is it still his artwork? He knew it would deteriorate – should it been left as is?

It was such a cool way to celebrate my birthday- it is beautiful up there in NY – State anyway – so if you have never been and have a chance- go for it :)

Hope you enjoyed this outdoorsy – ArtStroll – until next time!

Comments (1)

  • Sue Clarke

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    I find The No March very moving. What a great birthday present. I tend to forget that New York is much more than just a big city.

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Art Stroll: New York Botanical Garden

A couple weeks ago Kim and I decided to take a little trip to the Botanical Garden in New York City to see the Roberto Burle Marx Exhibition. It was such a treat – even though going that far uptown is quite a hike.

One thing that the visit reminded me instantly of is what an amazing artist nature is and how inspirational it is to go to a Botanical Garden.

From Flowers that look like something from a fairy tale

To plants with leaves that look as if they were painted on.

We loved the Garden part of the Roberto Burle Marx exhibition a lot – gorgeous pattern on the pavement- beautiful plants with tons of patterns, texture and lines. As he said: “A garden is a complex of aesthetic and plastic intentions; and the plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant – rare, unusual, ordinary or doomed to disappearance – but it is also a color, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself”

Made me appreciate plants that I usually do not really think of wanting to have

Another amazing plant with awesome leaves! “One might think of a plant as a brush stroke, as a single stitch of embroidery; but one must never forget that it is a living thing. ” Roberto Burle Marx in a 1962 lecture.

Looking into the water in front of the fountain.

We also happened to come a day too early to see the “Corpse Plant” open.It rareley blooms and only for about 1-2 days. It was a coincidence that we went right when it was going to bloom as we had planned the trip for quite some while but it was cool to see this amazing plant right before it opened. We were spared of the insane smell it releases when it opens (hence the name) but fear not …the ride home at 94 F on the NYC subway probably was worse when the Corpse Flower smell hahahah ;)

This is some kind of ginger – isn’t this insanly cool? I love ginger and this makes me love it even more .

Let me sneak in another awesome plant …and nope we did not go into the Botanical Garden with a white paint brush LOL –

Water plants- where is the frog. I am always fascinated by water plants must be all the stories and fairy tales too.

Look at the color !!!

And these cacti – it is so funny to me that these delicate flowers are blooming out of this really prickly sturdy thing.

Palm tree pattern and texture

And a giant allium – I need one of those for our garden .

Inside the Library we found this beautiful glass on the floor

And then enjoyed some gorgeous paintings – the one above on fabric by Roberto Burle Marx.

I found it fascinating to look at his paintings after walking through the garden and seeing pictures of his gardens.

“If I do gardens, I don’t want to paint; if I do paintings I don’t want to do woodcuts; if I do prints from woodcuts, I don’t want to do lithography. Each specialty calls for its own technique and medium of expression…I will not do a painting that is a garden. Without a doubt painting and and all sorts of artistic issues have influenced my whole concept of art. I have always sought to avoid being restricted by formulas…” Roberto Burle Marx 1973

I love the shapes and colors and some of them look like gardens or landscape to me

Here is a tapestry by him – also pretty amazing.

Another favorite part of the exhibition was the interactive tile making – based on Marx’ tiles some tile post-its were provided along with different blue colored pencils.

After painting the visitors were encouraged to place them on the wall – it was so beautiful – and fun to see this post-it tile wall.

A wonderful exhibition with an awesome mixture of nature and art. If you have a chance to go – it was so worth the trip!

Comments (2)

  • Sue Clarke

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    Nat, I totally enjoyed this post this morning! Thanks.

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  • Jeanine Robb

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    These are gorgeous photos…beautiful exhibition! Thanks you.

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Art Stroll: Joan Miró at MoMA, NYC

A couple weeks Kim and I went to the city to see the Joan Miró exhibition at MoMA.

It was a real treat – and left me in a very good mood. It started out with these interesting still lifes from 1922-23

The one above is a still life with lamp, sliced tomato and an iron stand. I just love the way he painted the tomato – yes I am a weirdo LOL.

One of the striking things in the early work for me was seeing the colors but also the similarities to some work that I recently saw at the af Klint exhibition. Amazing!

The Hunter (Catalan Landscape) 1923

I always loved Miró’s quirky little shapes and pictographs – do you see the fish sticking it’s tongue to catch the mosquito?

This painting called Dutch Interior I from 1928 is based on this 17th century painting depicting a lute player in a domestic interior.

Miró had bought this postcard reproduction of the work by Hendrick Martensz Sorgh at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and then mapped out his version below.

It makes me itch doing something fun like this as well :)

In a way some of his paintings are like painted collages.

“Birth of the World” 1925

Joan Miró said that The Birth of the World depicts “a sort of genesis”—the amorphous beginnings of life. To make this work, Miró poured, brushed, and flung paint on an unevenly primed canvas so that the paint soaked in some areas and rested on top in others. Atop this relatively uncontrolled application of paint, he added lines and shapes he had previously planned in studies. The bird or kite, shooting star, balloon, and figure with white head may all seem somehow familiar, yet their association is illogical.

Describing his method, Miró said, “Rather than setting out to paint something I began painting and as I paint the picture begins to assert itself, or suggest itself under my brush.… The first stage is free, unconscious. But, he continued, “The second stage is carefully calculated.”  The Birth of the World reflects this blend of spontaneity and deliberation.

This painting was way ahead of it’s time and received more love in the 50s when artists like Pollock and Frankenthaler would fling paint and wash raw canvases.

Relief Construction – 1930. Oil on wood, nails, staples, and metal on wood panel. In the summer of 1930 Miró moved away from painting to explore the possibilities of relief sculpture. Made from pieces of wood and metal that could easily have been found at a carpentry shop Relief Construction combines organic shapes. Miró identified the vertical metal spike as the neck and the head of the curved white toros like form. The red disk covered with sharp nails, he said was the sun.

how fun are those? I loved especially Miró’s book illustrations

Woman – Opera Singer- 1934 – Pastel and Pencil on flocked paper

“Painting” 1933 – do you see the cat?

Eyes – looking at you out of his paintings ….

and this and the next and actually EYES everywhere!

I love this one so much!!!

So striking with the red and black !

Interesting assemblage using rope.

Still life with a shoe – 1937 was kind of a shocker- I mean doesn’t that looks like something ultra modern and not from that time with the colors used?


And this sculpture- I mean seriously LOVE

It fascinated me how he very lightly used color – like a wash on the background and then painted so bold and with black and bold colors on the top.

Mirò said once in an interview: “I always have my feet on the ground and my eyes on the stars”

Another gorgeous sculpture.

Portrait of a Man in a Late Nineteenth-Century – Frame – 1950 – Oil on canvas – is one of my favorite paintings in MoMA’s permanent collection. According to Miró his childhood friend Joan Prats came upon an ostentatiously framed, pompous portrait by an unknown painter and sent it to him as a joke. The sitter’s pose and costume, his upturned gaze of inspiration, the devotional medal and ribbon on his table, and the rose garden outside his window typify the bourgeois taste and assuredness of the late 19th century. Within this orderly, rational and humorless world, Miró mischievously inserted his own creatures and signs. As if tot suggest the man’s puzzlement at this unexpected interruption , he punctuated his forehead with a small swirling form.

Hope you enjoyed this little Art Stroll. Kim and I did for sure and I cannot wait to head out to a museum soon again :)

Comments (2)

  • Joan

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    Thank you for sharing, awesome work. I like the Hunter and the one that has what i think looks like a tiger face.

    Reply

  • Pam Hansen

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    Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed this.

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Art Stroll: Hilma af Klint at Guggenheim, NYC

Last week Kim and I went to the Guggenheim to see the Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) “Paintings for the Future” exhibition. I had been excited to see the exhibition for a couple months now and I wasn’t disappointed.

Klint radically started creating abstract paintings years before Kandinsky, Mondrian or other that are called the pioneers of abstraction would change their own artwork from representational content to abstract paintings.

The size and colors of her early paintings are just mesmerizing and such a happy delight to see – instant feel good right in front of those.

It also struck me how immensely feminine those paintings are.

The color schemes are still muted colors but light and the forms are round and free.

These ten earliest huge paintings of Klint go through the lifespan of humans from birth to old age.

Interestingly enough Klint kept most of her groundbreaking paintings private, because she was convinced that the world was not ready yet to understand her work. In her will she stipulated that a lot of her work was not be shown for twenty years following her death. Ultimately her abstract paintings remained all but unseen until 1986 – 80 years after she painted some of her most prolific abstract paintings in 1906.

The painting above is a sample of what would be seen mostly of her work. It is just so mind blowing. Given that abstract male painters several years later caused insane outrage about their work, she was probably right that as a female artist on top, people would have not understand her art at all.

It makes you rethink art history though – it messes with our perception of the timeline of abstract art and of the mainly male key figures of this movement as well.

In 1896 Klint held regular séances with four other women. She had begun attending séances as a teenager, using them as a way to contact her younger sister, who had died young. Spiritualism was a big thing back then and the group wanted to obtain a direct access to a higher order of knowledge.

Klint worked earlier as a biological illustrator and her scientifically styled diagrams and her esoteric experiences mixed in her paintings.

The swan represents the ethereal in many mythologies and religions and stands for completion in the alchemical tradition.

Klint often incorporated insights gleaned from color theory in her paintings. For Klint certain colors represented certain significances. Blue for example represents the female, yellow stands for male, green for the unity of the two.

In 1906 an otherworldly spiritual guide commissioned Klint to prepare a message to human kind and so she painted about 193 paintings containing the spirit of the world. Those paintings are known as the “Paintings for the Temple”

Not all of Klints work were kept secret by her. The Blue Books were a tool that Klint created to show trusted viewers her paintings. They contain black and white photos and next to them carefully rendered watercolor reproductions.

At the time she made those works, the art world was generally dismissive of work made by women and on top many critics did not take abstraction seriously.

“…in 1920, she made a series of small works that begins with a single circle, half black and half white, called “Starting Picture”—the world as a balanced duality, physical and material, dark and light.

Subsequent entries in the series offer similar circles, differently divided up between black and white: one divided into four alternating slices; one with black crescents framing a white center; etc. The titles suggest they are supposed to represent different graphs of the great spiritual traditions: “The Current Standpoint of the Mahatmas,” “The Jewish Standpoint at the Birth of Jesus,” “Buddha’s Standpoint in Worldly Life,” and so on.”

Klint made sketches for a spiraled building that would show her work ascending the spiral case to the heaven ….! “In many ways, the Guggenheim retrospective fulfills the artist’s long-buried dream.”

This was an uplifiting and thought provoking exhibition. Did I decipher her work? Nope …but …I was content and happy just looking at it and make me feel good. Nothing wrong with that …and hey …maybe that was the message all along ;)

Comments (4)

  • Sue Clarke

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    It is amazing to me how intense her colors are and yet they are light pastels in many paintings.
    I totally felt the different ages of the first grouping (even before you pointed it out).
    I want to look for a book about her life. Kline sounds like quite the woman and painter!
    Thanks Nat.

    Reply

    • Nathalie Kalbach

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      Thanks Sue for joining! Yeah I am also very intrigued about her life!

      Reply

  • ARHuelsenbeck

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    Nathalie, thank you for this fabulous article. You’ve educated me about an artist I didn’t know.

    Reply

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