The fondation Vuitton realizes an interesting exhibition around the Moma’s mythic artrworks.The Little Art Seeker saw it for you.The fondation presents 200 works ranging from the 20th to the 21 st century intimately linked to the famous museum.With it New York is in Paris and we really loved the idea of bringing an American museum into our French capital!
The Moma from the very outset, went beyond any strict definition of a modern Art museum dedicated to European painting and sculpture.The museum left also a great part to photography, architecture, cinema and photography .This approach was very innovative at the time.The first room of this huge exhibition is dedicated to the works produced between 1929 and 1939.
These strange machines were the stars of the MoMA’s 1934 exhibition titled Machine Art. At the time the director Alfred H.Barr ,Jr’s had the desire to expand the museum beyond the narrow limits of painting and sculpture.The message was clear ,these works had to be considered as important as art objects.This was the beginning of the MoMA’s design collection.
In the middle of the room, a beautiful sculpture from Constantin Brancusi illuminates the space.The work belongs to a series of bird sculptures that Brancusi realized over a period of at least 20 years.The bird is reduced to a movement in space without any of its physical attributes and tries to give us the impression of the »essence of flight ».
Alfred H,Barr ,Jr’s taste for modern painting appears in his taste for Paul Cézanne .His bather seems very far from the Academic standards of painting.His subject looks awkward and physically ungraceful and seems totally indifferent to the world that surrounds him.Cézanne who wanted to break the conventions of painting and was considered of the father of modern painting was one of the guest stars of a MoMA’s exhibition that took place in 1929 and titled »Cézanne,Gauguin,Seurat,Van Gogh ».
The bather was shown in 1939 with another masterpiece by Pablo Picasso « Boy leading a horse »in an exhibition « Art in our time »at the MoMA.The painting had been bought by the American, founder of CBS, Willima S.Paley in 1936,and the director of the museum Alfred H;Barr ,Jr had convinced him to exhibit it during 25 years before Pasley donated it generously to the museum in 1964.
Picasso was very much inspired by Cézanne’s works and his use of brown and grey in the figures and background pay tribute to Cézanne’s hues.
The Little Art Seeker made a selection for you of a series of paintings whose creators were considered as being innovative and breaking away from the conventions of their time.
We loved Frida Khalo’s self-Portrait with Cropped hair .This was the only portrait of the artist in which she has depicted herself short-haired and wearing men’s clothing. She painted it after her painful separation from the muralist Diego Rivera. At that time Khalo tried to assert herself as an independent artist,free from the shadow of her husband. In 1943,Barr, who found it necessary to add Khalo to the museum’s collection, asked Edgar Kaufmann Jr, an enthusaistic proponent of Mexican art, ,to provide MoMA with the funds to buy it.
We stopped in front of a triptych acquired by the MoMA in 1942 and realized by Max Beckmann. It was seen as one of the emblematic responses to Hitler’s Germany.
In this terrible triptych,the author gives us his vision of freedom.Called « Departure »,the three pannels try to show us the tragedy of war and the way to escape it with a new departure.
The two side pannels display a world of physical and psychological violence . In strong contrast, the central pannel offers us an escape with a new departure.In June 1942,MoMA mounted the exhibition Free German Art to highlight works that the Nazis had deemed « degenerate ».
The exhibition leaves an important part to photography and the Little Art Seeker loved the pictures from Lisette Model, a French photograph who immigriated to New York and drew the attention of Harper ‘s Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch.Her first exhibition in the United States was the inaugural exhibition of MoMA’s Department of Photgraphy in 1940,Sixty Photographs; A survey of Camera Esthetics.We love her portraits full of humanity of people on the margins of society on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the postwar International context of the cold war, MoMA,championed the Abstract Expressionist movement that was emerging in American art. The first painting by Jackson Pollock to enter a museum was The She-wolf which MoMA acquired in 1944,less than a year it was painted. Abstract Expressionism is inseparable from the notions of experimentation and subjectivity on the part of the artist.
MoMA acquired No.10 in 1952.The painting, the first by Rothko to enter the collection was so radical at the time that the founding Museum president A. Conger Goodyear resigned from the museum’s commitee in protest!!
« I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions -tragedy,ecstasy,doom said Rothko. »If you are moved only by color relationships , then you miss the point. »
The visual culture of 1960’s America is celebrated in the exhibition with Andy Warhol’s several works. They are based on repetition(Double Elvis and the famous Campbell’s soup cans) ,the room also shows the emergence of pop art .Map by Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein’s reprise of a comic book illustration transpose the imagery of popular culture into an immediately recognizable painting style.
The Little Art Seeker loved Bruce Nauman’s experimentations on Néon tubing that were part of his sculptures in 1965.Nauman was convinced of the hypnotic aura of neon advertisements .His neon signs began as words drawing with notes about how the words should be illuminated .Next to his neon sculptures the work by the Japanese artist Yakoi Kusama ,made of hundreds of sewns and stuffed phallic protrusions to a white painted armchair really puzzled us.
Kusama said that she began using phallic forms as a means to neutralize her fear of sex in a patriarchal society she had left behind in Japan and to denounce also the machismo that she then encountered in the New York art world.In these times where sexual harrasment makes the newspapers’s headlines , the work is interesting and really disturbing.
We discovered Cindy Sherman’s photographs.Sherman was associated with a group of American artists who came of age in the late 1970s and came to be known as the « Pictures generation ».In 1955 , MoMA, acquired the complete set of Stills by the artist.The series Stills is used to promote films .By photographing herself in such contexts, Sherman represents herself in a series of portrayals of women:the chic starlette, the librarian and the domestic housewife…Sherman speaking about her photographs said that « I didn’t want them to look like art. »
The exhibition leaves a part to today’s artists, very much concerned by the modern society .We finish our report with two artists that we loved for their originality and their creativity.
The first one is Mark Bradford and his huge canvas called »Let’s walk to the Middle of the Ocean,2015″.Bradford uses materials he finds in the streets around his studio in Los Angeles.He describes his work as « social abstraction ».His work alludes to the emergence of the Aids epidemics in the 1980’s which shaped his young adulthood as a gay man who was part of the nightclub community in Los Angeles. »I started looking at cells underneath a microscope ,sarcoma. »For him the Aids crisis was a point of departure for creation.On this huge painting, Bradford summons bodily associations such as veins, cells, molecules, clots and lesions.The final result is both beautiful and colorful.
For the innovative ways he has integrated the traditions of abstract painting with contemporary American sociopolitical issues, Bradford represented the United States in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017!
The last artist we wants to speak about is Kerry James Marshall.Since the 1980’s he has sought to introduce the black figure into the legacy of Western Art.In a sparsely inhabited nightclub he describes us a few figures whose dark black skin merges with the deeply toned background.Spotlights , illuminate a stage that has no musicians .Rather than a depiction of a blacksuperstar ,Marshall offers us the image of a pleasant moment .His philosophy being sum up to « Do the performing »;
So folks, if you visit our beautiful city for a couple of days go and see this very original exhibition in the Fondation Vuitton.The Little Art Seeker warmly recommends it!