Saturday, July 16, 2011

Art In Chicago

A recent visit to Chicago confirmed something I have suspected for years; when it comes to the aesthetic enjoyment and the appreciation of viewing art, "context is everything". Well "duh" you might say, but many would argue that great works hold up regardless of placement. To make my point and to keep this post brief I have a few very bias opinions on what I observed at Chicago's Art Institute: Cubism, esp. paintings by Picasso and Braque (1910-15), couldn't look at them, they seemed to disappear from the walls (they look stunning at MOMA and in Paris), even Matisse caused a shrug (heresy!) accept his large "Bathers By The River". The Picasso that stopped me was his huge "Mother and Child", a neoclassical painting of heavy-set figures on the beach, amazing. Highly conceptual, contemporary art takes a hit in a museum such as the Institute (this work needs a whole separate building to do it justice). I tried reading the wall text that explained the photographs of curtains.. but there was a Poussin waiting in the next wing, sorry. What worked the best?, (besides the obvious, Seurat, Hopper,etc.)..late Philip Guston (above), almost a full room of them, not fussy or too cerebral, just raw paint, power and emotion, perfect for Chicago.

Top:Red Box, Philip Guston 68x96" 1977
Middle:Looking at Nighthawks

Below:An abstract painting of mine from 1985, relatives had it hanging in their house in Chicago, hard to believe I painted that, I must say, it looked pretty good there by the kitchen, nice to see it.