Monday, September 1, 2008
I heart Brooklyn but sometimes the larger museums in town and oh Central Park offer quite the perfect Sunday. Yesterday, I went to the Whitney on the Upper East Side to catch a real platter of excellent work.
Above is Robert Mapplethorpe's Untitled (Patti Smith) circa 1973. Patti Smith is clearly quite famous for her music (Horses really is a fantastic record), poetry, and tryst in Mapplethorpe's history. He considered her quite the muse and considering how many shots of her were included in the Polaroids: Mapplethorpe show it really makes me wonder how many he garnered of the lass. She is no traditional beauty but somehow is incredibly stunning all the same. This one is a favorite of mine. Above that, you will find a self portrait I find quite beautiful.
My hands down favorite of the show, much to my surprise, was Paul McCarthy's installations. His video installations being my primary love. "Spinning Camera, Walking"(#2 from top) is the gem of the Whitney in my big ole brown eyes at present. McCarthy took Super 8 film and transferred it to 16mm exposing a voyeuristic expose' of the camera's relationship with space and the physical body. "Couple"(#1) is another film playing after that is quite nice. McCarthy is a man of neurosis and I always find it fitting he emerged in the 60's as a viable force when so many other artists (Larry Bell, James Turrell) were in a bit of a existential crisis thereby piercing their work with this internal anxiety that came natural to McCarthy. One of his pieces in the show the Bang Bang Room seems to be almost an evil test on the security staff at the Whitney. Here is this room with doors rigged to repeatedly bang and open and close and these guards must stand beside it all day. It is loud as hell and honestly irritating but so it goes so often with me and sculpture. Also at the Whitney, is Starting with the Universe an expansive show on R. Buckminster Fuller showcasing his famous geodesic domes, town models, architectural sketches, and assorted models. After the death of his daughter he considered suicide but instead decided to plunge his despair into research and methods to promoting survival on Earth. This show is ever fitting with the concerns of our time but what's interesting is that Fuller passed in 1983 so these ideas and concerns were being spoken to an audience who deemed them premature. His efforts are painstakingly crafted, however, my gut response to his homes is do we have to? I put my charity efforts into historic preservation and believe that effective housing doesn't always have to be a pod spaceship to be sound with the Earth.
I was pleased to find my personal favorite by Edward Hopper that I have seen titled as "Summer Interior" and "New York Interior"(#3) at two different shows so I'm not sure which is wholly accurate. At any rate, it is a simple but stunning painting of the back of a woman sewing. I love his choice in composition here, the clean part at her nape, and the delicate nature of her dress and skin against the muscle in her arm and the wood in the room. I overlooked Hopper for many years and was never very impressed until recently when I saw some more of his work in a collection and realized he has quite the eye for composition.
Yes, afterwards I walked the two blocks over from Madison Avenue to Central Park with my dear friends Jesse and Jason. They came in town from Philadelphia to have some adventures before Jess and I start school. It was a perfect Sunday in my books.