Showing posts with label thursday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thursday. Show all posts


Aesthetic Thursday: Surrealist Drawing

Toyen, Tir VI / The Shooting Gallery, 1939-1940

Toyen (née Marie Cerminova) is the name of a Czech artist. This drawing is on exhibit at the Morgan Library in New York City as part of a series of surrealist drawings.

This particular piece is notable for its juxtaposition of childlike imagery against a stark pointillist dessert.

The exhibit is open from January 25 through April 21, 2013.


Aesthetic Thursday: Edvard Munch's "The Scream"

Edvard Munch "The Scream". Pastel on board, 1895.

Moma will display one of four versions of Edvard Munch's expressionist painting "The Scream". The heavily reproduced and often parodied image will be on view at the museum on October 24 - April 29. The version Moma will display is pastel on board and has been lent to the museum by a private collector. The other three versions are in museums in Norway.


Aesthetic Thursday: Two Handsome Models Read Books Together

Two models seated side by side read books in silence. Ain't that amazing?!
Charlie France, Models Reading
The model on the left is reading a Terry Pratchett novel Pyramids but I cannot make out the title of the book the model on the right is reading, but I am positive this photograph is not intended for a public library's reading advocacy program. It's pretty boys reading. And I am totally fine with that arrangement.


Aesthetic Thursday: Giant Head in Madison Square Park

The sculpture of a head sits in plain view in Madison Square Park in Manhattan.
Jaume Plensa, Echo, Madison Square Park

image source: Benjamin Sutton
It's an apparition out of a dream. I am walking in Madison Square Park. And I see a head. Jutting out of the ground. The head of a woman. Her eyes are closed. And she does not awake. But it is not a dream. It is real. A public art installation this Summer. And I thought I was dreaming!


Aesthetic Thursday: Max Beckmann, Beginning

"Beginning" Max Beckmann, 1949, oil on canvas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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.


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.


Aesthetic Thursday: Donatello's Bronze David

Donatello's Bronze David is on display in Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence.
Donatello, "Bronze David," circa 1440  
Florence's Two Davids
Florence claims two famous David's: the one above is Donatello's bronze rendition, while Michelangelo's David is carved from marble. This "David" is remarkably younger in appearance and less muscular than Michelangelo; he displays an insouciance characteristic of a boy who has just brazenly done a misdeed and is gloating. He leans forward on his sword, pleased with knocking down the Philistine Goliath with a mere stone, then lopping off his head. I am sure the adrenaline seething through his body after such an act was powerful indeed.
Donatello's David is Presented "After the Act"
It is interesting that Donatello has chosen to depict his David post coitus. His stance is certainly not the preliminary "taking stock" embodied in Michelangelo's David nor is it the intense focus of a David in action with the slingshot; it seems obvious his victory is more akin to losing one's virginity or the discovery of masturbation. Donatello's David is a piece that glorifies the esteem begotten in accomplishing a deed rather than the energy and labor that go into completing one.
Pure Youth Energy
Not just any deed. But a deed done quickly and with fierce attention, and brazen courage, against all odds. Who would guess that a boy could topple a giant? Who would guess that after having made love for the first time that it would be so good? The trope evident here is of the victorious boy. He is a boy fully clad in the remnant clothing of a warrior, the helmet and the battle sandals. The rest is pure youth.

photo credit: timelines


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 of Medusa's head from Antonio Canova's statue 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.


Aesthetic Thursdays: Dionysos Holds a Theater Mask

Terra-Cotta Mixing Bowl, Dionysos and Young Pan, 410-390 B.C., Metropolitan Museum of Art
The mixing bowl depicted above was probably made in Greek occupied southern Italy in the 5th century B.C. The bowl was used to mix wine for the celebration of the feast of Dionysos, the god of the theater. Dionysos stands opposite a young Pan who pours water into a mixing bowl. 

Dionysos holds a mask. Masks were used by actors on stage to personate the roles they played. In this piece, Dionysos appears to hold a mask of himself. The mask he holds is identical to the artistic representation of his face. Dionysos wears the person of the character he personates. His mask is his person. To personate means to wear the person of someone. Person derives from the Greek word for "mask." To personate is to wear a mask. Personation is the act of personating. In an obsolete usage, a personation is also the mask itself. So we could say that Dionysos holds his own personation.


Aesthetic Thursdays: Tony Feher

Art is fixated on its medium. Tony Feher has draped the walls and floor of the Pace Gallery in Chelsea with vinyl tubes filled with food coloring. Typical of contemporary art, Feher eschews traditional media and instead uses cheaply bought vinyl tubing and dye. Is it art? Well, if art is what is deemed sacred: no one stepped on the tubes during my recent visit. The Next On Line Exhibit runs till February 12th.


Aesthetic Thursdays: Paul Chan at the Whitney Museum

1st Light
Paul Chan, 1st Light, 2005. Digital video projection. 14 minutes, edition of 5. Courtesy Greene Naftali Gallery, New York. Photo: Jean
At the Whitney Museum in New York City, there is currently, as of this post, a video installation made in 2005 by the American artist, Paul Chan.

Upon walking into an open room in the museum's "Singular Visions" collection on the fifth floor, devoted to single pieces of individual artist's art, there on the floor, like a cut into another reality, emanates Chan's video imagery.


Aesthetic Thursdays: Keith Haring

Keith Haring, "Wedding Invitation"


Aesthetic Thursdays: In the Studio

In the Studio, Alfred Stevens. 1888. Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
 "In the Studio," is a nice example of art playing on art and reality. Notice the model sits on a couch entertaining visitors to the artist's studio. The unfinished painting of Salomé is perched on the easel to the right. The piece plays on the viewers perception of reality. Is the model posing for the work or is the representation of the unfinished work the work? Where does art end and reality begin? Works of art adorn the wall, as well. Notice the mirror. Another nod by Stevens of the mimetic nature of art. Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? The piece becomes more than a mise-en-scène of the artist's studio, but is a representation of the mimesis itself, the artist's craft, and the effect art has on the viewer viewing an artist's work, as if Stevens is inviting us to view both the process of art and the art itself as art. Brilliant.


Aesthetic Thursdays: Two Versions of Judith Slaying Holofernes

Judith Slaying Holofernes
Judith is a hero of late Jewish antiquity who slew the Assyrian dictator Holofernes, by first seducing him, then decapitating him while he slept. Check out these two very different artistic representations. What do you notice?

⬆️ Artemisia's version in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy

⬆️ Caravaggio's version in the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, Rome


Aesthetic Thursdays: Caravaggio

Caravaggio's "Sacrifice of Isaac" is remarkable because it uncharacteristically depicts Isaac not as subordinate to Abraham's desire, nor blithely unaware of his fate, but rather as horrifically terrified by God's injunction to have him killed by his own father.
Caravaggio, Sacrifice of Isaac, 1603
Caravaggio, Sacrifice of Isaac (Detail) 1603


Aesthetic Thursdays: Death of Marat

Jacques-Louis David's painting "Death of Marat," tells a real story. One of political intrigue and murder.
Death of Marat by Jacques-Louis David 
(held by the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium)
David's Painting Is a Record of a Real Assassination 
I don't have to create a story about the above painting. History already has one. During the French Revolution, Jean-Paul Marat was a journalist. Marat was killed in his bathtub. Apparently, he loved taking long, luxurious baths. He had a skin problem (so he needed to take soothing baths). On July 13, 1793, He was assassinated by Charlotte Corday because she thought Marat was a cause of the violence and bloodshed (The French Revolution is famous for how many heads rolled.) in France. 

A Painting That Captures The Scene of a Crime
Marat was a radical Jacobin (which meant he was full-on anti-monarchy and full-on revolution). The jury is out on Corday's allegiances — some say she was in favor of the Monarchy while others said he was a supporter of the Girondins, a political faction who originally supported abolishing the monarchy, but later, became less radical in their politics. She was caught by the authorities and sentenced to capital punishment by the guillotine.

The Portrait of Marat Is Painstakingly Detailed and a Tribute to a Revolutionary
Looking closely at the painting, several features of the work are noticeable. The body of Marat is an idealized portrait of a corpse — similar to the paintings one sees of Jesus's body laid to rest. Marat's arm lays languidly on the side of the bathtub and he holds the tools of his trade — a quill and a parchment with a petition that had been given to him by Corday to sign. The knife that was used to kill him lies on the floor. David's careful arrangement of the scene makes Marat out to be the person he purported to be — a writer, and a revolutionary.