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.
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 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.
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.
DISCLAIMER: This Blog Post contains images that will show you that I am a supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Some might think of it as totally inappropriate to post, hate me for it, think this has no place on an art related blog or social media. If you have a problem with this, you might be better off looking at something else . Don’t email me to complain, don’t visit my blog or facebook anymore because I might post things like this again and that might get you in a grumpy mood..
Strolls through my hood get me out of my studio, they help me get unstuck and often I get inspired by what I see and get new ideas to create something. It is part of my philosophy about Artful Adventures in Mixed Media – which is the subject of my book. Here are some photos that I gathered in the last couple weeks – as New Jersey and New York are slowly going to Phase one and now to Phase 2 after the lockdown.
The first time I walked from uptown to downtown again after months of lockdown was weird and felt as if I would see things anew. I noticed all those “Give Up” graffitis and love how different versions of “never” appeared on top of them.
This spoke “untold story” to me.
I love all those little messages on the stoops – I wish we had a stoop – our house apparently used to have one as we could see from old tax pictures but in the 40s it was taken down from most of the houses in our streets.
On our bike rides during the lockdown my friends Cindy, Paula and I had discussed how going back to using the Path and Subway to go to NYC for work and other things made us quite nervous and so we decided to actually do it while things were still very quiet to ease ourselves back into it. It was good to figure out how much you actually touch etc. before everything is cramped again. It took about half an hour before I could find my subway card as I had totally forgotten which bag I had carried 3 months ago when I last rode the subway.
This is the WTC station – which is usually packed on a Monday at 10 am …pretty eerie. Now I am sure it is way fuller again as Phase 2 is of the reopening in NYC started and a lot of people from Jersey City as well are going back to work. I am not using the Path or subway unless I absolutely have to …like for a doctor’s appointment but at least I have thought about how to tackle this.
Just a couple days after the horrible the murder of George Floyd by Policemen this mural popped up in my neighborhood. It is really powerful.
I have thought long about breaking with the lockdown to go to the protests here in Jersey City, but I have made up my mind that and decided I would make sure to stay on the edges, distanced, with a mask and go if it would get too crowded.
After the protests I made sure to get tested each time and stay home until I received the test results.
The protests in Jersey City and all over New Jersey were peaceful and businesses would hand out masks, hand sanitizer and water. One of the protests to which 4000 people came, was organized by a local High School. It was amazing to hear the young organizers speak for hours about the issues. It made me hopeful for our future.
And they have a lot of humor too ;)
One of our little cafes , Crema, in the neighborhood created this clever booth in front of their window. It makes it easy to order and receive pastries, ice cream and coffee contactless . So clever. We are hoping that most of the small businesses here will make it …what a tough time this was and still is.
New Kicks – I thought I would have some custom made with my painting for my Stroll through the Hoods :)
Mingus has a new hangout spot …lol- he cracks us up.
Loved this message and the font on the plywood of a construction side.
Two beautiful houses – the one on the left beautifully restored, the one on the right falling apart and abandoned.
I love this building – it is also empty.
This is the original wallpaper in a dessert place that just opened up , all these storefronts that haven*t been used for ages, have amazing hidden treasures. I am so happy that the new place kept this.
Detail of a beautiful Art Deco Entrance – love the weathered colors that are still visible and isn’t it just amazing?
Little bike ride along this mural.
I hope you are all well – sending you Love!!! Until next month with hopefully more strolls through the hood.
A new finished painting which I call Swapped. I was intrigued by the story of the Morton F. Plant House, located on the prestigious Fifth Avenue in NYC.
Apparently Cartier wanted the building, and Plant exchanged it in 1917 for 100 Dollars and a double stranded pearl necklace worth about 1,000,000 Dollars at the time. Then the necklace “only” made 151,000 USD in 1957 at an auction, so I guess that swap didn’t really work out. And so there is a jeweler and watch store up to this day in the building. There are quite some weird real estate exchange stories in NYC …this is certainly one of them. I imagined the building being just an “ordinary” apartment building -it is still so beautiful and one could only guess at how many necklaces would be needed for such a swap today! These are the things that went through my head when I painted Swapped.
The painting is 24″x18″ in size, acrylic paint, spray paint and marker on canvas.
It is available in the store here and meanwhile waits for a new home on my living room wall.
Loved strolling a bit around to see some of the Modern Art displayed at the Met a couple weeks ago while I was there. I just recently saw a documentary about one of my favorite illustrators Christoph Niemann – follow his instagram feed, it is brilliant and makes me laugh! – and he said that “experiencing art is the gateway drug”. I agree – and here is some of fine substance ;)
Henri Matisse, Seated Odalisque, 1926
I have said so much about my love for Matisse’s pattern play …there …once again …swoon
Rufino Tamayo, Children’s Games, 1959
Love looking at this and discovering the shapes and scene.
Kouros, Isamu Noguchi, 1945 – Marble
Marc Rothko, No 16, 1960
Color inspiration anyone? Love it!
Willem de Kooning, Easter Monday, 1955-56
Texture Galore and collage elements – swoon
Joan Mitchell, Sunflower, 1969
I love the texture rich and voluminous flower painting – so gorgeous!
Alma Thomas, Red Roses Sonata, 1972 – Acrylic on canvas
This was so intriguing ! Speaking of making colors sing!
“Creative art is for all time and is therefore independent of time. It is of all ages, of every land, and if by this we mean the creative spirit in man which produces a picture or a statue is common to the whole civilized world, independent of age, race and nationality; the statement may stand unchallenged.”
-Alma Thomas, 1970
Spectrum V, Ellsworth Kelly, 1969
Claes Oldenburg, Soft Calendar for the Month of August, 1962
Canvas filled with shredded foam rubber, painted with Liquitex and enamel – I thought that was interesting – painted with “Liquitex” . But then I remembered that Liquitex was the first water-based acrylic paint created in 1955 – the name deriving from liquid texture hence the name of the company later. I have never seen a painting stating the material instead of acrylic paint with Liquitex – I guess having worked with them made me stumble upon this.
Jim Dine, Two Palettes, 1963
Oil, acrylic, enamel and charcoal on primed canvas
Pablo Picasso, Guitar and Clarinet on a Mantelpiece, 1915
I love the Met but it is just such a hike to get there and it is always so crowded. Strolling through the Modern Art Galleries at the end fo the visit was a wonderful way to catch some breath after an insanely crowded stroll through the Hockney and Cornell exhibition. The next art stroll will probably come from a Museum in Japan …we will see ;) I hope you will join me!
A couple weeks ago I went to the Met and one of the exhibitions I enjoyed in this art mecca was a small exhibition “Birds of Feather” Joseph Cornell’s Homage to Juan Gris. I loved this exhibition because it is about an Art Stroll – which was inspirational and turned into some beautiful art!
In 1953 Joseph Cornell saw Juan Gris’s painting below at an exhibition
“The Man at the Cafe” , 1914 by Juan Gris – oil on canvas with newspaper collage.
This painting captured Cornell’s imagination and he created 18 glass fronted boxes, two collages and one sand tray over the following thirteen years in homage to Gris. Here are just a few of the boxes:
“Josette; Juan Gris #5” ca. 1959-60
This ox is named for Josette Herpin, Gris’s companion. In 1959 Cornell dreamed of a blue cockatoo and explained in his diary that “Josette came to life” . Cornell knew of her two portraits by Gris, where she sits in a black armchair the contour of which mimic the projected shadows of Cornell’s first cockatoos. He was likely inspired by the blue hues of her bust-length portrait. for the colored silhouette in this box.
Untitled (Juan Gris Series, Black Cockatoo Silhuette) ca. 1959-60
Cornell’s interest in cut-and-pasted paper was a direct response to Gris’s collages.
The artist lined his cockatoo boxes with pages from 19th century French texts, which he found in Manhattan book stalls. The photo below is actually the back of one of the boxes -I love this!
Other elements that characterize the Gris boxes are fragments of floral wallpaper, marbleized paper, and commercial labels.
I love Cornell’s boxes- makes me really want to do more assemblage again. I also loved seeing the original inspiration and then so many different versions on how he spun the inspiration. The first box shown here still has some traces of the inspiration – but only if you know about the piece by Gris – but you would not know with the other ones without knowing about the story. Fascinating, don’t you think?
Hope you enjoyed this art stroll- see you soon for another one :)
While at the Met Breuer I also strolled through the small Anselm Kiefer exhibition because as some of you might know I admire his work so much, the themes, the materials …. Some of the pieces I had just recently seen on an Art Stroll at the Gagosian Gallery , so I am not posting those again, but there were many other pieces that I loved to study.
Broken Flowers and Grass, 1980 – Gouache, acrylic, watercolor and shellac on photograph.
During the 80s Kiefer began reusing earlier self-portraits to create new works. Dressed in a crocheted gown, the artist presented himself as if asleep , but the broken flowers and grass cover his body as if he were dead and buried, the ultimate state of transformation.
The mixture of the photo and the crude painting on top fascinates me.
Aziluth, 2004 – painted photograph and collage on paper
Stunning- and guess how much I wanted to touch this piece. I just love the interplay of photo, collage and painting!
No touching of the one below:
Heavy Cloud, 1985 – Lead and shellac on photograph, mounted on cardboard
Kiefer has often used lead to represent something usually thought to be weightless. Here the title is a pun on “heavy Water” a synonym for radiation in nuclear reactors. Kiefer has pointed out that even though lead is used to “seal radiation” his Heavy Clout has “a radiation leak” symbolized by the yellow shellac streaks seeping form the bottom of the cloud in the direction of the bleak landscape.
Brünnhilde/Grane 1982/93 – Woodcut and acrylic on cut and pasted papers, mounted on canvas
Woodcut is a traditional medium in German art. Kiefer began to experiment with woodblock printing in the early 1970s and returned to it in the late 70s focusing on subjects related to German history and myth. Fo all theGermanic tradition evoked in his turn to the woodcut, his practice was nontraditional in his choice of a larger format and a visibly seamed composition. One of the artist favorite themes at this time was Grane, the sacred steed ridden by Brünnhilde, when she sacrificed herself on Siegfried’s funeral pyre at the close of Wagner’s opera Götterdämmerung.
The texture, the details, and then the size- just amazing!
His gigantic paintings are just breath taking- the texture – omg – I could sit in front of this forever. Unfortunately the hallway as the entrance to the exhibition where this was hung was so narrow that it was hard to take the painting in in total. Plus the museum was super crowded …even if not as crowded as in other galleries of the Met Breuer.
It was a very inspiring Art Stroll that let me think about more and different ways to integrate photos, collage and painting …printing …texture …all of it in my work. Hope you enjoyed the stroll as well :)
A couple weeks ago Natalya Aikens and I visited Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction is the title of a MoMA Exhibition open until August 2017. It features the work of female artists from 1945 to 1968 and shows artwork from MoMA’s collection from over 50 artists. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, prints, textiles and ceramics.
To create this sculpture, Nevelson stacked boxes against a wall and filled each compartment with found wooden scraps. She then covered the entire assemblage with black paint.
Bela Kolarova “Five by Four” (1967) Wood, paint, and metal paper fasteners
I loved this piece!
Left- Elaine de Kooning “Bullfight” (1960) Acrylic on Paper
Yayoi Kusama “No F” (1959)
Look at the detail of the piece – makes you want to touch it.
Anni Albers “Tapestry” (1948) Handwoven linen and cotton
Sarah Grilo “Add” (1965) Oil on Canvas
First time on view at MoMA. It was one of my favorite pieces and it made me sad to think that this would vanish again after the show in a storage space.
Lee Bonticou “Untitled” (1961)
Lee Bonticou lived in NY above a laundry and found the conveyer belt there. I love the organic yet mechanical piece and you cannot help yourself but look into the dark void.
Carol Rama “Spurting Out ” (1967) – Ink, Gouache, shellac and plastic doll eyes on paper
This was interesting …and eerie at the same time.
Several thoughts :
It was so prominent that a lot of the female artists were spouses of “famous” and permanently displayed male artists – in a way it must have been an exciting time to be a female artist- but also so hard to break through and be heard.
Who inspired whom btw?
Mostly only one piece of artwork was displayed by the artists making it seem as that is all the space there is for their amazing work to be displayed
MoMA, why not making real space for those artists instead of just a temporary exhibition space. Just display more of this artwork in your permanent collection galleries.
More Female Solo Exhibitions would be great – a lot of those artists have quite some scope of work – “Where Are All the Women” by Jerry Saltz is still good and valid read.
I will definitely go back and see it more in depth but I had a great time with Natalya and enjoyed looking at some of the artwork with different eyes, given the different medium she works with .
Meet me at The Ink Pad in NYC for a book signing with my new book Artful Adventures in Mixed Media! Pick up a personalized copy of the book and go on an Artful Adventure with me :) To add to the fun, there will be some special prizes for the first 5 in-store preorders and first 5 in-store purchases of the book. Drop by, say Hello, and pick up your copy!