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modernism, spring2002
MoCA vist

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I always prefer galleries to museum, since sometimes museums have too much.  Instead of being inspired, I often leave museums fatigued because all the artworks give too much information and impression on me.  So I like MoCA a lot, since the museum is not too big, something between the two art institutions, yet still, it is more organized and exhibitions are well rounded.

 

I started out the visit by going through the drawings and paintings of de Kooning.  The exhibition covers his most successful years from late 40s to mid 50s.

 

In the early years, his drawings show influences from Cubism and European Surrealism, and he often depicted figures in twisted, fragmented torso and sharp line around face.  The Two Women on a Warf (1949) is a work with oil, enamel, and pencil on paper, and here de Kooning uses paper collages.  Collages emphasize the discontinuity in vision, and shapes and forms seem to protrude.  Vivid color use in this work is rather unique during this time, when he did a lot of figure drawings on paper using pencil and pastel.

 

In 1950, he did Woman (1950).  Still torso shows Cubist style, with shape eyes, what is very unique about this painting is that he put a photo image of a female mouth.  The mouth was cut out from the advertisement of Camel cigarette on the back cover of Time Magazine, and this one real thing is strangely beautiful.  It matches the sharp eyes, and the fact that the teeth are showing; this tiny photo collage makes very strong impression.

 

He went on drawing women obsessively, and in 1955, he drew Figure in Interior.  The female figure is only just a hint in this painting showing lines for breasts, and looks like it dissolves to the background.  There is this certain depth, yet all the objects are laid flat on the surface.  Shapes and forms do not exist anymore, and only the atmosphere or aura they carry are painted with the flows of colors and lines.

 

In his many drawings, the use of pastel colors resembles that of children, and suggests that those are realistic colors to de Kooning.  They have a strange rule of wholeness, and all the fragments work as a whole.  He shows the process of blurring boundaries between humans and surroundings, and all the colors, shapes, and lines start to speak for themselves the longer I stare.

 

In the permanent exhibition, one work by Pollock is hanged on the white wall of the museum almost always when I visit.  All the strings and drippings of the paint show traces of thought and emotions, entangled with each other.  I see the work as a documentary of an artists inner state, and now this abstract work starts to look very personal.  There is also some works by Rothko next door, and I paid attention to this one of which the colors are rather dark.  Brown and black squares are flattened on the dark purple background, and it project an aura so strong that I felt like I was going to get sucked in.  he says that he prefers the big paintings because they are more intimate.  At a first glance, it slapped me away and yet fixed me in front.  He may have tried to get rid of the obstacles lay between ideas, observers, and artists, but it seemed so far away from our everydayness.  As I started to get calm, however, it created a tiny fuzzy ball inside me, and I felt like I was trying to see me in the painting as well.

 

It was fascinating to see Rausenbergs work right after I saw these Abstract Expressionist work.   I forgot to write down the name of the project, but he constructed three-dimensional L-shape box using a birdcage and wood panels.  On the upper side, he placed a sneaker and dirty socks both painted in white.  Just below, there is a dead chicken (?) of marble colors, and a mirror is stuck on the next surface facing up.  Yes, it is all about experience, an unique encounter to this meta-everydayness of the work.  This time, the work seemed extremely sexual with collages of ballerinas lined up, soldiers, and a mother and a daughter.  I did not really get the homosexual meaning of goat, so maybe there is something attached to this chicken, which looks just appetizing rather than scary (and I dont eat chicken.)

 

It was a bit shame I dont think other locations were open that day, but I enjoyed the visit very much.  Before, museum-hunt was almost like a sacred event for me, and now I feel it is way closer to my life.  I guess I was a very passive viewer before even though I loved the experience so much, so in this term, knowing is a good thing.  I became an active participant to the art. 

 

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