Showing posts with label metropolitan museum of art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label metropolitan museum of art. Show all posts

7.2.13

Aesthetic Thursday: Bradley Rubenstein

Bradley Rubenstein, Unititled (Girl with Puppy Dog Eyes), 1996
What Is The Gotcha! in This Photograph?
At first I see this image as a brash conceit. All art is a conceit - right? - but this image forces me to see the conceit, to see that it's a mash-up. Maybe I am troubled because I have this ontological conviction that a photograph tells me something about reality. Maybe so. But maybe the reality that I am seeing is not so conceitful as I first think. What is going on here? Through the use of digital manipulation puppy dog eyes are inserted into a girl's eyes.

I Like Images That Make Me Re-Think What I am Seeing
I like images that ask me to question the image, to make me consider its mode of production. How did the artist do this? What was his method? I suppose this is Rubenstein's point. By making me aware of how this particular image was produced I am struck by another possibility - the genetic manipulation that would be required to produce a real girl born with puppy dog eyes. Rubenstein is playing with conceit to alert us to the biogenetic possibility that what we see as conceit could become a reality. What if someone decided that little girls and little puppies are a desirable combination? Is what we see in the art an image of a possible future? 

Two Paragons of Cuteness: Kids and Puppies
On the placard, a museum curator has written this, "Merging two paragons of cuteness—kids and puppies—into unsettling hybrids, the artist offers an eerie forewarning of the transgressive potential of genetic manipulation." Where is the transgression? In imagining such mutations? Is the point that the degrees that separate the photoshop touch-up from the biogenetic not that far apart? Perhaps. Maybe the most unsettling aspect of Rubenstein's photographs is that he is telling us we have already arrived at this stage - we are just waiting for the biotechnology to catch up. I think I need to go watch Bladerunner and re-read Kazuo Ishiguro's When We Were Orphans.

31.1.13

Aesthetic Thursday: Matthew Jensen's "49 States"

Matthew Jensen, The 49 States, 2008-9
Google Streetview in Art
I am addicted to Google Street View. I am going to Philadelphia this weekend and I have already seen on Street View what the hotel will look like, what the front of a restaurant I want to have lunch at looks like  all as if I will have already "done" the trip before I even go. Someone else has already been there. Someone has already snapped a photograph. There is nothing new under the sun. But I like what Matthew Jensen has done in the Metropolitan Museum of Art display of his work  he has taken a collage of images from Google Street View and organized them alphabetically according to State (e.g., the fifty states of the United States).

Jensen's Work at the Met Reminds Me of the Iconic American Road Trip
Seeing Jensen's work at the Met, as part of an exhibit on contemporary photography, I think of travel, the association Americans have with the road trip and snapping pictures. What is a road trip without a camera? Now that we have Google to take our snapshots for us maybe the camera is dead on the road. *sad face*. The images Jensen has collected are absent individuals but it seems easy enough to insert a human being into each State's slot. Look, there is me in New York. There is me in Connecticut. I look at my home state of Louisiana and compare it to Wisconsin. They both seem the same  and taken as a whole the image captures a unity of sorts, the kind of unity I get when traveling on the interstate where every exit is the same as the ones that came before it and all the ones ahead will look the same and so on. Is this a new American flag? Maybe so.

Stray Observations:

  • Why are there only forty-nine states in Jensen's collage? I did not have time to figure out what state is missing.
  • Did Google allow Jensen to use their images?
  • I feel like Jensen's work would be better if every picture in the series included a person whose face is blurred out.
  • I want this piece to hang in a doctor's office.

29.7.11

Aesthetic Thursday: Max Beckmann, Beginning

"Beginning" Max Beckmann, 1949, oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Triptychs
The piece "Beginning" is a triptych which means it is a single work composed of three panels. Triptychs were originally intended for religious art. Since the work is composed of three separate panels, once installed in a church or home, the priest could open or close the panel depending on the day of observance. Beckmann chooses the traditional triptych style, not for religious purposes but to depict pivotal events in a boy's adolescent development.

The Central Panel
The central panel depicts a boy on a white horse, a woman wearing blue stockings lying on a divan (smoking a hookah?), a cat hangs on the ceiling (reminds me of Puss in Boots).

Left Panel
An organ grinder, an angel, a boy with a crown.

Right Panel
Boys with laconic gazes, a teacher disciplines a pupil, a boy displays his pornographic magazine to other students.

23.7.11

Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Another quiet place to read and study in Manhattan
Interior, The Watson Library, image: the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Probably not as obvious an option for quiet study space as the Rose Main Reading room at the New York Public Library, but the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts the Watson Library, a quiet space hidden amidst the buzzing interior of the Met on fifth avenue adjacent to Central Park. Access to this space is available to anyone with a research interest in Art History. (Hint: just say you are interested in researching art history and you're in. They won't grill you for proof of serious research intent).

While the mission of the library privileges use by museum researchers, the library is not foreclosed to seekers of quiet reading and study space in New York City. To obtain access to the library one has to state an area of research interest and present a photo ID, and fill out a registration form. Once supplied with a proper library card, one does not need to pay admission to the museum to use the library. Simply present yourself at the information desk to gain access. All bags must be checked-in prior to entrance. 

The library is a closed stacks library so if a book is needed from the library’s collection, the call number must be recorded and a patron can page the book at the circulation desk. For simple quiet space, a place to read or to study, the Watson library is superb. The setting is heavily academic and very quiet, so do not expect comfy overstuffed chairs or vibrant colors. This is a no-frills place to read and to catch up on one’s knowledge of Mondrian or Picasso.
Further Information:
Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10028, First Floor
Public Hours: Weekdays: Monday–Friday 10 am–5:15 pm; book retrieval until 3:30 pm. 
Directions: Subway: 4,5,6 to 86th St.; A,B,C to 86th street (and walk across the park)
Contact: Watson Library Contact Form  
Telephone: 212-650-2312

23.6.11

Aesthetic Thursday: Alexander McQueen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

In this blog post, I write about the newest fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art - Alexander McQueen - Savage Beauty. 


The Dialectic of Beauty, Alexander McQueen Struggles with Deconstructive Aesthetics
    If you are in New York City between now and August 7, 2011, check out the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty Exhibit."
    The exhibit boasts an ample retrospective on the deceased fashion designer's life works, dating back from his seminal graduate student collection inspired by Jack the Ripper to his most recent posthumous collection.
    Jellyfish designs, a macabre mixture of duck feathers and leather masks, spray-on dresses, and kinky "bumster" design pants, the McQueen exhibit is a touching tribute to a man who certainly obsessed over dichotomies, divergences, and the question of the beautiful.

24.2.11

Aesthetic Thursdays: Perseus with the Head of Medusa

Perseus with the head of the Medusa by Canova
Perseus with the Head of the Medusa, Antonio Canova, The Metropolitan Museum of Art 


Detail of Perseus
The Face of Perseus
Detail - The Head of Medusa, Metropolitan Museum
For several Fridays in a row, I've been dedicating at least an hour to the Metropolitan Museum of Art galleries. Proffering my student ID I pay as little as ten dollars to view a vast collection of priceless art. One more reason why I love New York City. I do not stay longer than an hour and I stick to one section, sometimes only one room. For my visit today I scurried over to the European Sculpture Court and sat with the sculptures. The Perseus statue with the head of the Medusa struck me because of the narrative embedded in the presentation. Perseus is stylistically graceful in this replica of Canova's Perseus which is now in the Vatican museums. The Met's profile on the piece mentions that Perseus's stance is modeled off the Apollo Belvedere. This seems right to me. It is as if Canova imagined what Apollo would have been holding if he were Perseus! The result is a stunning sculpture that projects grace in victory rather than priapic destruction. The medusa head in the Canova is hardly horrifying. The nest of vipers seems stilled and her face is cast in a dull mourning. Contrasted with Carravagio's Medusa's Head, which I mentioned on these pages, Canova has placed only a slight reference to snakes: two opposite facing serpents adorn the brow of the Medusa. Where Caravaggio favors priapism and glorious horror, Canova goes for subtle beauty and quiescent victory.

6.1.11

Aesthetic Thursdays: Oedipus and the Sphinx

In this blog post, I compare Gustav Moreau and Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres's two very different paintings of Oedipus solving the riddle of the Sphinx.
"Oedipus and the Sphinx" - Gustave Moreau. 1864. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.
Notice the bottom of the painting. The gray corpse and fallen crown foreshadow Oedipus's tragic fate. The painting depicts young Oedipus as powerful, able to thwart the Sphinx's cunning by answering her riddle. But, the viewer can't help but notice death hiding just beneath.
Oedipus and the Sphinx, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. 1827. The Louvre, Paris.
Notice in Ingre's version, we see depicted in the left foreground the foot of a fallen corpse (who guessed incorrectly) as well as in the right foreground a foreshadowing of Oedipus's own demise. Since Oedipus solved the Sphinx's riddle and saved Thebes from a plague, he was given the Queen Jocasta as his wife who later is found to be his mother. Jocasta hangs herself and Oedipus blinds himself with her brooch.