Saturday, November 27, 2010

High Museum of Art in Atlanta: Two Exhibitions

Salvador Dalí. The Christ of St. John of the Cross. 1951. Oil on canvas. 205 x 116 cm.

Viewed two special exhibitions at the High Museum of Art yesterday.

The first exhibition viewed was Dali: The Late Work.

Meet the man whose art—and personality—were larger than life. Dalí: The Late Work brings together a stunning collection of more than 40 paintings, plus film, sculptures and photographs—many never before seen in public. The exhibition considers for the first time the diverse body of work that Dalí created in the last forty years of his career. Reinventing himself during the 1940s, Dalí used his art to visually explore science, psychology, and religion—as he often said, painting the subject matter of his time.

There were numerous paintings I enjoyed viewing. Of course, Persistence of Memory, but that is a painting I have seen many times at MOMA. I was pleased to see the High Museum of Art was able to borrow it for this exhibition. Many of the paintings were not viewed in a public exhibition since the 1950's. I particularly enjoyed viewing the painting, The Christ of St. John of the Cross. I never realized that Dali experienced a re-conversion and his explicit interest in Catholic mysticism which inspired many of his paintings during that period of his life. I liked seeing that he had an interest in portraiture and his respect and interest in reviving it as a subject within Modern Art.

I also did not realize his disdain for Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism and specifically his disdain for Piet Mondrian. There was a strange film viewed and his diatribe regarding this disdain referring to 'painting in cynicism', an an abstract painting for the Guggenheim. Not specifically referenced, but I felt he was making a pun in his video on John Cage.

It seemed though as he grew older, aged and time moved on, his disdain lessened through looking at some of his later works where he employed some collage and abstract composition in his work. These later explorations though I do not think characterize his work classically as his early masterpieces.

Titian and the the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: 25 Masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance

Beginning in October 2010, the High Museum of Art in collaboration with the National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) will present an exhibition of 25 masterpieces of the Venetian Renaissance, including two of the greatest paintings of the Italian Renaissance, Titian’s Diana and Actaeon (1556–1559) and Diana and Callisto (1556–1559). Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland will also include paintings and drawings by such Venetian masters as Tintoretto, Veronese and Lotto, on loan from the collection of the National Galleries.

The exhibition held a special opportunity for me to revisit Titian, and other Venetian artists, whom I had the experience of studying acutely when I studied abroad in Venezia the summer of 1989 through NYU. I especially love Tintoretto, one of Titian's students and his work has inspired my own works.

While though viewing the exhibition, I felt a change in how I perceived these paintings, or at least some of them, after contemplating reflections on Critical Theory I and the reading by Linda Nochlin, The Imaginary Orient. One painting in particularly struck me of the notion of 'woman as object' within painting as the subjective for generations. The painting I am specifically referencing is Diana and Actaeon, which made associations to paintings we discussed in Critical Theory I. You can view the painting at this link:,1,1,22,7,1

(Titian (Tiziano Vecellio, Italian, ca. 1485/90-1576), Diana and Actaeon, 1556–1559, oil on canvas.)

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