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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Art on the Road

OK it wasn’t actually ON the road – it was in museums that we visited while motoring about yesterday.  

Helen and I started our Art Tour at The Clark. Holy fucking shit, I LOVE the architecture of this joint! It was designed by Tadao Ando Architects of Osaka, Japan. While the place was filled with a lot of fab work, the buildings, the campus itself were, full stop, worth the trip. Apparently there are splendid walking trails on the vast property too. I’ll def want to traverse one or three on a day which boasts actual degrees (preferably more than 12) and LESS wind.

There was a fab show of Japanese Woodblock prints. I got to see one of my favoritest by John Singer Sargent, Fumée d’Ambre Gris (Smoke of Ambergris) and they had a few fab Rodins.

My one kvetch about The Clark? I know this is probably just old heretical me BUT they’ve got a disproportionately large collection of Renoirs and I HATE Renoir. His subjects are all insufferably twee. The paintings radiate Middle Class Money and Comfort. The absolute apex of surgery overload was Tama, the Japanese Dog which hung adjacent to Mary Cassatt’s Offering the Panal to the Bullfighter. Renoir and Cassatt sharing a wall – perfect! Cassatt and her cozy women with kiddles is Renoir in a dress.Talented? YES and utterly boring unless, of course, you were the Richie Rich who hired either of them to enshrine your fam, friends and pets in paint.

Mind you, Cassatt’s bullfighter with fangirl piece is the absolute least sappily sentimental of all the work I’ve ever seen of hers. Brava. Next to Renoir’s puppy, she comes out as the serious artist. Having said that, when I first came across the piece I thought, Why’s that guy wearing a Mickey Mouse hat. Yeah, really I did. I woulda made a great art historian, don’cha think?

I did come across Renoir’s Still Life With Onions which I rather liked. Oh and they’ve got an Alma-Tadema.I know – it's odd. I can't abide Renoir but I love Alma-Tadema. Consistency and I aren't exactly on speaking terms.

From The Clark we putt-putted  over to North Adams and MASS MoCA. Now, generally speaking I’ve got very little patience for contemporary art museums and their vid rooms showing endless loops of being and nothingness or the installations which come off as less art and more manifestations of trippy DMT, Wild Turkey fueled convos with chums.

But that’s probably just grumpy old me.

My fave of the day was Rachel Sussman’s installation, (Selected) History of the Spacetime Continuum at MASS MoCA.
A handwritten timeline starting before the Big Bang and spanning 10 to 100 billion years into the future, this site specific installation at MASS MoCA, on view through April 2017. (source)
You can see the whole brill piece at the link. It’s funny, brain sparking and just stone cool.

Second most loved of the day was Nick Cave’s mondo, awesome installation Until.
A paradisiacal landscape where [black-faced lawn] jockeys appear — made from the crystals that would normally go into chandeliers, on a raised platform accessible via four ladders — is the heart of “Until.” “I had been thinking about gun violence and racism colliding,” Mr. Cave said. “And then I wondered: Is there racism in heaven? (source)
Just FYI, Nick Cave of Until and Soundsuit fame is NOT Nick Cave of Bad Seed fame. I wondered.

Towards the end of our wandering through this big, beautiful, ex-factory complex we found a room of Federico Uribe’s great sculptures. I’d seen a few but certainly not all of them while on a Boston gallery tour day. Once again, I was chilled, thrilled and smile-afied by his stuff.

We also came on a back, admin offices hallway whose walls were covered with Bill Plympton-esque drawing. His crazy, brill animation came to mind.

Things to inspire and set me all atingle and crap to piss me off – all in all a very good art day
That Alma-Tadema I mentioned
Federico Uribe
Bill Plympton-esque wall

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