I need to figure out a more street way to write culture. Maybe with a k?
Anyhow, this past weekend Jeremy and I decided to be tourists in London which meant, among other things, going to look at art. We saw the current exhibit at the Royal Academy and it was really good. I’ll be honest and tell you that I find Miro’s art to be boring and cold, but I tend to jump at the chance to see anything by Calder and Giacometti. I know, I know Calder’s work could probably be seen as cold too, but there is a playfulness to it that I feel Miro lacks, and not just because of the movement in his mobiles, there are the toys he created or the circus he made.
Also I have heard stories about his home and workshop from my old boss. whose father was close friends with Calder, and that adds to my affection for his work and my idea of him as a man. I guess he hand crafted everything in his workshop. According to my old boss, even the toilet paper holder was a handcrafted item. The exhibit also featured some of his 2D artwork and I really enjoyed those as well. they reminded me of Bauhaus art, but in a very loose way. That’s a poor description but it’s all I’ve got.
Giacometti has become, over the last 4-6 years one of my favorite artist. Jeremy has been a fan since he was a teenager and introduced me to his statues. We saw a really good display of them at the Louisiana Musuem of Modern Art just outside Copenhagen that totally won me over (because the success of an artist (posthumous or otherwise) totally depends on my approval. The ghost of Duchamps is totally annoyed with my distaste, let me tell you what). And I liked most of what was featured on Saturday although I did not care for his more recent smoother sculptures. I much prefer the tall thin sorrowful figures. One of my favorite things in the whole exhibit was a sketch he made for the sculpture pictured to the right, Fig 1. The sketch itself was very simple and sparse but still made me stop and stare. It was hard to look away from it. Whenever I can’t look away from a piece of art I know it’s really truly affected me and I am reminded why I like art. I like that elemental pull I feel from an object that evokes a strong reaction of sorrow, joy, confusion, laughter, fear, whatever.
The real surprise of the show for me were the paintings the featured by Braque. I’ve always been kind of meh about Braque but don’t think I’ve ever seen any of his paintings featuring birds, eg fig 2, and I really fell in love with them. There was one in particular that was painted on newspapers that really struck me. Sure they’re remniscent of Matisse, but there’s nothing long with Matisse so far as I’m concerned.