Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Time For Art!

Since I always seem to skip a visit to a museum or gallery despite the sheer numbers of them in NYC, this time I prioritized a trip to the Guggenheim.

I was in luck- we were able to see a major exhibit on Spanish painting, just days before the close. (It closes today.)

The recognizable building is undergoing a significant restoration and is surrounded by scaffolding. This canvas ad was found below the scaffolds.

I’m always amazed at the sizable crowds. Whenever I visited the Cleveland Museum of Art, I found myself sometimes feeling alone with the art. Not here. It was very crowded. You had to stand in line to check your coat.

The display occupied the entire building. While there was a great deal of Picasso’s paintings, there was a fantastic range of artists and scope of time covered. I really enjoyed how the curators placed traditional realistic works alongside cubist or impressionist paintings covering the same subject, side-by-side. It helped me appreciate what the modern artists were doing. Of course, having Steve there to explain helped even more. He has a degree in art history.

He recognized how overwhelmed you can be in seeing so much. I was experiencing a major sensory overload just as he suggested that we should start moving through a little faster, stopping only for more amazing stuff. I was getting to where I was ready to simply leave. Glad he intervened.

People seemed most drawn to Picasso’s work. My favorite was Juan Gris. I found that I really enjoyed the sharpness of his cubist paintings. I was taken by the geometry of them, and especially enjoyed his collages incorporating newsprint.

Having recently read up on the Spanish Civil War and noting the time period in which so many Spanish modern artists were really producing, I couldn’t help but think about how Picasso, Gris, Dali, etc., would have been received by Franco and those forces fighting to restore their vision of Spanish tradition. I failed to observe any narratives on this subject.

The Guggenheim’s interior. You can take pictures of the architecture, thank goodness. Naturally and unfortunately, you cannot photograph the art.

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