Thursday, February 4, 2010


Well we'd have MOMA Monday every week if poss, or MOMO for fun. On the way we saw lots of flags, a giant pencil drawing of Manhattan and Sarah felt she needed to empathise with The Statue of Liberty on a slightly smaller scale.

In addition to the permanent collection at the moment there's a Gabriel Orozco exhibition on the 6th floor (which we went to) and a Tim Burton exhibition (which we didn't yet) we also saw a piece of video/performance art by Joan Jonas who I'd not come across before.

I really like most of Orozco's work, especially the drawings and collages and experiments, I sometimes find it difficult to articulate what it is that I like about art that I like, I suppose that supports Oscar Wilde's opinion that 'There are two ways of disliking art. One is to dislike it. The other is to like it rationally'. Much of the pattern work in Orozco's work just seems to make sense to me visually and, I do like a good pattern, as Sarah commented about me the other day. I love the multiplicity of pattern, how you can take something quite mundane, like the numbers in a phonebook for example, as Orozco does, and paste them together in their thousands to make an exquisite scroll. I don't think that it's merely an apetite for decoration, I'm not particularly up on this stuff but it probably is related to ideas on the sublime and the mathematical sublime-

make way for some Wikipedia:- 'In the 'mathematically' sublime, an object strikes the mind in such a way that we find ourselves unable to take it in as a whole. More precisely, we experience a clash between our reason (which tells us that all objects are finite) and the imagination (the aspect of the mind that organises what we see, and which sees an object incalculably larger than ourselves, and feels infinite)'. Anyway most of it was great and beautiful, I don't care why really, maybe I should but meh...

I think Joan Jonas's work is intersting and...I think I could only like it rationally. I just don't really understand performance art, I don't have the mental utensils, it's like another language. I don't want to be horribly negative just because I don't get it, that's just ignorant, but I think that often performance appears so personal that there's no way in. It is rich fodder for theoretical shenanigans but I don't know how to be when I'm before it, experiencing it. Maybe it's because I know I can't buy a postcard of it in the giftshop, I can't physically consume anything about it. You can't possess performance art, it's immediate and/or time-based and so one has to orient oneself differently to understand it. It's all very well to know that, but I don't know how. It's not the same with all time-based art, I saw Bill Viola's solo show at The National Gallery in London about six years ago and it was breath taking, but perhaps I was abl to see these as moving paintings because of his use of art historical convention? Maybe I'll find out but I'd need some patience to sit through any more avant-garde performance work.

The permanent collection houses some real treats; Meret Oppenheim's 'Breakfast in Fur' is a favourite of mine, lots of her ideas are inventive and witty and the surreal concoctions she devised for jewellery look very contemporary. Was she ahead of her time or has she been hugely ripped-off so that it seems so?

Frida Kahlo's 'Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair' is tiny and wonderful, I'm curious as to what exactly people who say she couldn't paint were looking at.

Some more art nostalgia from Egon Schiele, I looked at his paintings so much as a teenager, around the same time I was copying Degas' dancers. There were two paintings I'n not seen even in reproduction before. I love his line-work and sparse use of colour, he says so much with so little.

One of my favourite things that was way bigger than I'd imagined (shows how much attention I pay to the notes on dimension in art books eh?) was James Rosenquist's
'Marilyn Monroe I'. It's surface is absolutely smooth and it's absolutely flawless, I found it quite mesmerising.

Also Max Ernst's 'The Blind Swimmer' is very striking and reminds me of some of Judy Chicago's abstract work.

One thing I was glad to see as I hate it, and I wanted to hate it in person was Willem de Kooning's 'Woman I', it's vile and aggressive and misogynistic. The text accompanying it says that its' about the conflict between fear and reverance for female's certainly fearsome but it's pretty short on reverance!

Also loved Giacomo Balla's movement paintings and in the same room was the Boccioni sculpture I mentioned in my last blog; the photo features a couple who were walking around at the same time as us. She was educating her date(?) very loudly about this sculpture in particular and everything else, after wittering on quite a bit she asked -the ether I think- whether it was Futurism or not, fairly crucial to any description of it really, but didn't want to intervene... Oh and got a lovely picture of a great Rodchenko mobile sculpture. I like it.

Also pictured above are works by:- Jenny Holzer, Robert Rauschenberg, Dan Flavin and Henri Matisse. Anyway I must stop blogging and do some stuff so that there's actually more to blog about, perhaps even my own work at some point!

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