MoMa: A Day with Twombly, Breuer, Warhol

2011/07/04 § 2 Comments

I LOVE museums.  

Except I usually have to be nudged, pushed and dragged to go to one.  

I have an ingrained resistance to museums.  I don’t like being cooped inside buildings for hours.  I do that for work.  But not for leisure.  Although, I don’t seem to have this problem when shopping.  And I always think museums are boring.  But they’re not!  I have (as an adult) never been bored inside one.  So I really don’t know why I think that. It must be the school trips we had when we were young.  Having to troop in line and forced to listen to a docent point out things I didn’t appreciate or understand and not being able to leave probably caused this.

Just recently, dear friends from Brussels were in town and we spent an afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art.  And had lots of fun.  I always have fun when I go to MoMa, actually.  We wandered through floors and halls of classic modern works and temporary exhibits, some of which were quite graphic, sometimes violent or sexual, and all thought-provoking.

I was fascinated by these newspaper front pages that had sections blocked in black and white and were suddenly transformed from newsprint to contemporary art.  Surely, I could have done these myself!  If I only thought of it, of course.

I could stay for hours in this room with walls covered in many different kinds of digital fonts.

Then we come to the Furniture room.

I now appreciate modern furniture.  Even plywood ones, which many years ago I couldn’t abide.

There is nothing I  like more than interior and furniture designs.  I grew up in a very modern ’50s glass house, which I didn’t like too much (and so even when I was very young, I was redesigning the house to my liking, in my mind).  I always thought it was cold and too open and our furniture were edgy and hard.  I think, as a child, I really wanted to live in a tiny rose-covered cottage with comfy tables and cushioned chairs.  What I liked best about our house was the big front area, which was a concrete lawn with a terraced garden.  But it would have been so much better had it been a grassy lawn instead.

I came to appreciate our house and the objects within, unfortunately, when it become derelict.  As I grew older, read and traveled more, I realized how very “modern” our house and furniture were and so many of our stuff are being copied or sought after and fetching absurd prices in the market.  Yet, we left them out in the sun and rain to crack, peel and turn ugly.

As I became interested in modern furniture, I travelled to Germany for a conference.  I didn’t know that included in the conference was a day tour of Weimar.  Imagine my delight when I saw the Bauhaus Museum.  While everyone was admiring the statue of Goethe and Schiller, I went inside the tiny museum and saw many original works from icons in the modern design field, in the birthplace of their movement.

From these inspirations, my ideal house has become more and more minimalist in structure.  A white box with white concrete floors.  There are certainly some modern furniture I long to have but I’m not a purist and  have always had eclectic taste.  For all that I want an uncluttered house, I also want romance so will most likely have a salon with an eight-feet tall baroque chandelier hanging from a twenty-foot high ceiling, filled with nothing but an antique chinese cabinet , a vintage french burlap covered sofa, an Yves Klein Table Rose, a pair of molded plywood Eames lounge chair or a pair of le Corbusier sling chairs or a pair of Breuer’s Wassily chairs ( I can never decide which pair I want more), one wall of books and art, lit by tens of candles at night and perfumed with vases of garden flowers.

Now back to reality and into the museum.  Jackson Pollock.  One: Number 31

I wish I was exposed to more and different kinds of art when I was younger instead of the mannered, realistic art that we were brought up to appreciate.  Maybe I would have realized that I could throw, splash and drip paint onto a canvass and find beauty and enlightenment there somehow.  I look at Pollock’s work and think – wow, I could have done that when I was 5.  But to innovate and work with new techniques at an older age obviously requires more talent and artistry than I could ever hope to have.

These large-sized photos by Boris Mikhailov set against the industrial city of Kharkov explores the circumstances of people left homeless by the collapse of the Soviet Union.  They document the “oppression, devastating poverty, and everyday reality of a disenfranchised community living on the margins of Russia’s new economic regime.”  Very moving.

The famous “Girl with Ball” by Roy Lichtenstein

And I really, really want this.  Not any of the Campbell Soup Cans.  Or the Marilyn Monroes.  Or his self-portraits.  I want this.  Rorschach.  Warhol.  What does it say of my state of mind?

And what does everyone think of this huge piece of concrete meat hanging from a hook?

A woman walking between Eva Hesse‘s Repetition Nineteen III, a collection of “anthropomorphic” empty containers and Lynda Benglis’ Modern Art Number 1 which I tell you is a pair of one bronze and one aluminum (shown on foreground) cast of a big turd.  It would be amusing to have one in the garden and have guests sit on the literal “slab of sh*t” while eating or drinking….

And here is a Cy Twombly sculpture, Untitled (Funerary Box for a Lime Green Python), which attracted me because of the use of palm-leafed fans that we frequently use in the Philippines.

Amongst artists of the same genre, I love Twombly the most.  While I find many of Pollock’s work too heavy and dreary, Twombly’s paintings are visually light and refreshing, despite some explosive themes.  Through all the scribbles and splashes and drips, there is beautiful, luminous pale or arresting colors.  And stories.  And humongous flowers.

I also like many of Willem de Kooning‘s work such as Untitled XIXA Tree in Naples and Pirate.

So much art to see, so little time…



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