I see art things: an exhibition recap

hello, hello! I have returned from a little hiatus, well in fact a trip to Massachusetts with my school’s painting department to visit a number of fabulous museums. Having finally recovered from an art-coma and letting my mind absorb everything I saw, I’ve compiled a little list of some of the best things I saw this weekend. Enjoy!

ICA Boston

Mickalene Thomas: These paintings by Mickalene Thomas were one of my favorite things to see this weekend. They are everything you would want in a painting, large in scale, with dazzling color, pattern, and texture; and on top of all that they exude a certain pizzaz and unexpected glamour due to Swarovski rhinestones encrusting the surfaces. These paintings are nothing short of magnificent and pack the conceptual punch as well as align themselves in the art historical lineage of painting; the flat pattern and figure reminiscent of Matisse and Manet. The photos don’t due them justice I urge you, no beg you, to see them in person!

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Baby I Am Ready Now, Rhinestone, acrylic, and enamel on wood panel, 72 x 132 inches, 2007

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Interior: Zebra Funky with Two Chairs and Funky Fur, Rhinestone, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel, 96 x 132 inches, 2012

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Interior: Bedroom with Flowers, Rhinestone, acrylic, oil, and enamel on wood panel, 108 x 84 x 2 inches, 2012

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Sandra: She’s a Beauty,  Rhinestone, acrylic, and enamel on wood panel, 72 x 72 inches, 2009

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I’ll Still Be True, Rhinestone, acrylic, and enamel on wood panel, 72 x 72 inches, 201

This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s: This exhibition also on view at the ICA is worth investigating. Focusing on a trivial point in history, the artworks exhibited bring to light the issues of race, sexual orientation, the aids/HIV crisis, and social political tensions associated with the fall of the Berlin wall. This exhibition holds a very diverse number of artworks, all which address these serious topics in multitudes of ways. Serving as a time capsule in a way, we as viewers are able to either revisit or see for the first time the tensions that existed during this time period through the art that remains.

 

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David Hammons, How Ya Like Me Now?, 1988. Tin, plywood, sledgehammers, Lucky Strike cigarette wrapper and American Flag. Glenstone

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General Idea, AIDS Wallpaper, 1989. Screen print on wallpaper

deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park

Paint Things: Beyond the Stretcher: The very first stop on my trip was at the deCordova, where I was pleasantly greeted by this compelling exhibit which explored contemporary painting practice. The artists exhibited were those who defied traditional painting; by going beyond the stretcher bars and utilizing three dimensional space. I found this exhibition to be very apt for today, because I have noticed within the studios of my painting department as well as in the broader art world painting no longer exists on a two dimensional plane…basically anything goes.

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Katie Bell, The Remnants, 2011, wood, acrylic, carpet, foam, plastic, plaster, and window blinds on wall, 7 x 11 feet

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Claire Ashley, DOUBLE DISCO, 2012, rehearsal still, Defibrillator Performance Space Chicago, IL, two performers, spray paint on PVC coated canvas tarpaulin, blower fans, and backpacks

Here are some photos I snapped while wandering throughout the grounds at deCordova.

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DeWitt Godfrey, Lincoln, cor-ten steel and bolts15′ x 150′ x 10′, 2012

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close up, Steven Seigel, Big, with Rift, paper and flora, 6’11” x 31′ 9″ x 10′ 5″, 2009

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Rona Pondick, Otter, stainless steel, 2002

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Jaume Plensa, Humming, marble and lead, 2011

MFA Boston

Daniel Rich: Platforms of Power: I literally had to bend down and pull my jaw off the floor after seeing Daniel Rich’s paintings at the MFA. These paintings, though of rather mundane subjects (representing power), are painted in the most unbelievable way. Through the use of stencils and squeegees Rich creates an unbelievably smooth surface that reveals no traces of human touch. I find this labor intensive process extremely compelling and the surface created is nothing like I’ve ever seen, be sure to check it out.

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Ryugyong Hotel, Pyongyang, Acrylic on Dibond, 79.5 x 57 inches, 2012Image

City Hall, Boston, Acrylic on Dibond, 2012

Mario Testino: In Your Face: POW, WOW, BLAM…these are the first words that come to mind after seeing Mario Testino’s exhibition at the MFA. This larger-than-life exhibition exuded glamour, excess, media fixation, and celebrity worship at a grandiose scale. Though this may be the point, I feel that this is a love or hate kinda show; you can either appreciate Testino’s photographs for their artistic merit as works of art, or see them as advertisements blown up to a ridiculous scale. Either way the show is huge in all aspects and with enormous glowing photographs arranged against dark green walls it is impossible to look past the iconic faces of celebrities such as Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, and Gisele who emanate sex appeal, to truly appreciate the full artistry of the photographs.

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Josh Hartnett, New York, Digitally produced Chromogenic C Type print, 2005Image

Kate Moss, London, Digitally produced Chromogenic C Type print, 2006

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Installation view of exhibition

The Postcard Age: selections from the Leonard A. Lauder Collection: Before email and instagram there were postcards. This exhibition at the MFA displaying about 400 postcards represents the postcard craze the swept throughout Europe and America during the early to mid 1900’s. This light hearted exhibition was truly a joy to look at and triggered a sense of nostalgia for the simpler times of yesteryear. 

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Blanche-noir (White-black), 1920s. Lithographs (divided back)

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N. Longo, Taliedo. Grande giornata aviatoria, 8 luglio 1934, ore 16.30 (Taliedo. Great aviation day, 8 July 1934, 4:30 p.m.), 1934. Color lithograph (divided back)

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Las conservas Albo son las mejores (Albo preserves are the best), about 1930. Color lithograph (divided back)

Sackler Museum of Art at Harvard

From the uncanny sculptures of Robert Gober to Rosmarie Trockel’s ceramic wall piece of glistening blood red meat, the contemporary collection at the Sackler Museum was pretty impressive.

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Robert Gober, Untitled, 2009-2010, Plaster, beeswax, human hair, cotton, leather, aluminum pull tabs, enamel paint, 49 3/4 x 65 x 29 inches

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Rosemarie Trockel, Shutter, stoneware with red glaze, 2006

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Though a bit antiquated the Harvard Museum of Natural History has the feeling of a lost gem. It’s old cabinet of curiosities style display cases feel suited for this historic building and make each object feel strange and unusual. My two favorite rooms were by far the glass flowers and the rocks and minerals.

The glass flowers, simply magnificent specimens of craft and precision, were handmade by artisans Leopold Blaschka and son Rudolph between 1887 and 1936. Consisting of 4,000 models from 847 families of plants, each made entirely out of glass, this collections is unbelievable. If you find yourself in Cambridge I demand you see if for yourself; you won’t believe your eyes.

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Installation view

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Close up of the fascinating cashew plant…let me remind you all parts are made of glass!

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Inside the mineral room, one of my favorite parts of the museum, it makes me want to be a serious rock collector. The color and textures are absolutely astounding.

As you can see it was indeed a busy couple of days; and though my feet were tired by the end of the day it was a great trip, extremely inspiring and remarkably enlightening.

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