I recently had five days on a field trip I coordinated and led with other chaperones to Philadelphia, New York and Baltimore for my high school art students.
The first day was charter bus travel up to Philadelphia ending with a tour at the Magic Gardens on South Street. I visited there for the first time back in the summer and blogged about this more fully before. (See link: <http://plstudioart.blogspot.com/2010/07/magic-garden.html>.
This time though we had a full site tour which allowed us to see parts of this installation and the history of Isaiah Zagar, the artist’s work previously unknown.
Viewing the installation again brought back to mind the work of Julian Schnabel and his crockery paintings. I am interested in exploring some painting with photo- montage on glass that crosses aesthetically between Schnabel’s and Zagar’s work. Photos of our entire trip can be seen at: <https://picasaweb.google.com/113967877601706753492/NYCBlog#>;
That evening we ate dinner at Pietros Bistro and colleague Jeff Brown, his wife and an artist friend met us. It was good to socialize with them and discuss MFA AIB life, and our current work a little.
Marc Chagall is a huge reference for me, naturally for his work as a painter and with stained glass. I enjoyed the exhibit, but not as much as I expected to. Among all the exhibitions we saw as a group though, this was the most teachable moment for me with my students. The exhibition was in PMA’s Pearlman building and allowed us to move as a smaller group. I was able to talk to the students about some of the pieces. Especially the dry point prints on display, which we are exploring in my Art III/IV classes right now.
After an hour of exploration in the Pearlman building we made our way back to the Main building to view galleries of our choosing from their wonderful collection. Of course my daughter and I made our way to the Modern and Contemporary galleries, making our way through the Impressionists and Expressionists. I took a few moments with Marcel Duchamp and his Large Glass, which resides there reflecting on comments by Harvey Littleton and my 1981 interview with him, as an MA assignment, years ago. Littleton felt Duchamp did not know the technique and had a disdain for this piece. Littleton has been a mentor for me over the years, as both a glass artist and educator. His words to me in that interview were influential, and every time I see Duchamp’s Large Glass, it connotes my conversation with Littleton.
Of course I spent some time with the Abstract Expressionists including Mark Rothko and Lee Krasner. In their Contemporary gallery they had a show, I cannot find literature on entitled, Notation/ Everyday Disturbances, which would have been an excellent field trip for Critical Theory II, as its focus was the ‘archive’. There were some placards up, which referenced Gerhard Richter to the musical compositions of John Cage. I left feeling very motivated and with great desire to return to the studio and art-making. I purchased a book at the PMA gift shop, that was on my research list, but not available in the WFU library, entitled, Six Paintings by Gerhard Richter by Robert Storr.
Following our visit to PMA and a Philly cheesesteak for lunch, we made our way to NYC. Our first night we took in dinner, a Broadway show, and dessert afterwards.
In the morning we visited the Museum of Art and Design. There were several wonderful exhibitions circumventing African and African American art. I was elated to find though an exhibition there of Judy Chicago. One series viewed of pieces on her Creation theme and the other on the Holocaust. The tapestries woven by Audrey Cowan are quite beautiful.
I was excited to view firsthand a matriarch of the Feminist Art movement.
In some of the African American themed exhibits, I found two pieces that had reference for me: the work of Fred Wilson, whom was the focus of my Critical Theory II (in course) assignment, to reference an artist who works with ‘the archive’. You can see a reference to this previous assignment at: <http://plstudioart.blogspot.com/2011/01/fred-wilson-artist-and-archive.html>. I about jumped out of my skin to see Wilson’s work with Venetian glass. Of course he is not having to learn the technology, but is working with the Venetian glass artists to conceive and bring his ideas into fruition.
I love that he is using the color and material of black glass to convey the meaning of the word ‘black’ in history, culture, society and literature.
I feel I am trying to connote a similar concept through the flowers of the millefiori in making a feminist statement in my Vitreous Femmage pieces.
I also viewed there a piece by Willie Birch. Birch was an artist in residence here in Winston-Salem, as was Fred Wilson, some years back through SECCA, the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. The piece exhibited was a assemblage on a paper mache shirt with the application of objects and glass fragments. Birch is the kind of artist that flows between the contemporary and outsider art circuit, and from high art to low art. I often wonder about him as his studio was in New Orleans, and how the flood disaster affected him and his work.
Later that afternoon we visited MOMA, and I could have spent hours more there. This is one of the downsides of leading and visiting with a group, that needs to abide by the itinerary set.
My daughter and I visited the contemporary galleries downstairs before going up to see the special exhibitions of the German Expressionists and the Abstract Expressionists. I was pleased to see the prints of William Kentridge and then even more elated to see the collection of prints/ posters of the Guerilla Girls who I had recently included in my Uomini Famosi, and had blogged about.
I also enjoyed seeing for the first time a painting by Agnes Martin. Martin was brought to my attention in one of my critiques last residency in connection with my intuitive abstract paintings. I tried to take a photo, but the whiteness in her painting would not take photographically. I felt there was something very mystical about all that.
I was also able to view a couple of more pieces of Richard Pousette-Dart, one I documented, as it was more relational to my work than the other with more color and texture.
My favorite exhibit of all, I have a love/ hate relationship for, German Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse. I am absolutely in love with the German Expressionists, but felt a great disappointment to anger that Gabriele Munter was not included in the exhibit. Ach!!!! This is how I felt! :
I realize that the thesis of the show circumvented the graphic images found in prints and posters, but their were quite a few paintings included by Kandinsky, Jawlensky, Kirschner and others. I was greatly angered as I looked for her name and found a great disappointment in her exclusion, and only subdued when I found the works of Kathe Kollwitz. To actually see Kollwitz’ work was a momentous experience bringing mixed tears of joy and sorrow to my eyes and heart. I purchased the book on the exhibition.
Our time was running out to meet back with the group… we sped through the Abstract Expressionist show and the fiats of the permanent collection.
In the afternoon we had the opportunity to visit the Guggenheim. Their special exhibition was, The Great Upheaval: Modern Art through the Permanent Collection. See link: <http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/exhibitions/on-view/the-great-upheaval>. Again I was disappointed to see Gabriele Munter excluded, but included in the text of the exhibition, which was heavily laden with the works of Kandinsky and the German Expressionist movement of Der Blue Reiter. We had almost too much time at the Guggenheim for our group, but this allowed me some time to contemplate in their study/ research library. I spoke with the knowledgeable librarian on site there, and why perhaps Munter was not included. She encouraged me to contact the Development Office with my question. My statement here is equivalent to that of the Guerilla Girls, the story needs to be re-written to include the women that contributed. Two exhibitions at major museums excluded Munter in shows that should have celebrated her work and participation to her male counterparts. My disappointment though in not seeing Munter represented reinforces my concept for my homage(s) to her and the visual canon/ archive I am forming.
I most enjoyed the works of Piet Mondrian in the exhibition, and thought back to the November exhibition of Salvador Dali, at the High Museum of Art, and Dali’s great disdain for Mondrian. See blog link: <http://plstudioart.blogspot.com/2010/11/high-museum-of-art-in-atlanta-two.html>
We returned to NC, stopping in Baltimore for lunch. We did not have any time to visit the art museums on our return trip. The trip allowed me the time to read, browse and reflect on the wonderful opportunity to view outstanding works of art and gain more understanding.