Friday, June 16, 2017

New Rodney Graham in NY

This spring John and I caught a great exhibition of Rodney Graham photographs at the 303 Gallery in Chelsea.
Do you know Graham's work? He creates large-scale, backlit, staged photographs -- think of the work of other West Coast Canadian artists Jeff Wall or Stan Douglas.
 Humour is a delightful element of his images and he often casts himself as the central figure. Coat Puller, 2017.
  One problem we had in recording the show was that the combination of natural and tungsten lighting in the gallery with the light from the backlit photographs caused colour balance chaos for our cameras.
Consider Antiquarian Sleeping in his Shop, 2017. 
 These details from Antiquarian are closer to the "actual" colour of the photograph.
 Media Studies '77, 2016
 Dinner Break (Salisbury Steak), 2017.
 True wit.
I loved this piece. Newspaper Man, 2017. 
Newspaper Man details
In the lobby of the gallery there were some published works from Rodney Graham's career.
John wants this this 10" vinyl disc -- Rodney Graham Getting it Together in the Country: Some Works with Sound Waves, Some Works with Light Waves and Some Other Experimental Works. He immediately looked it up on Discogs -- it's already prohibitively expensive. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A wander through the Met

Come wander through the Metropolitan Museum of Art with William Kimber and me.
Looking at art in this museum is one of our favourite things to do in New York.
Gustave Courbet's Ladies of the Village (1851-52)
The same visitors facing Rosa Bonheur's The Horse Fair (1852-55)
Paul Cezanne's Bathers (1874-75)
Andre Derain's portrait of  Lucien Gilbert, ca 1905.
Ferdinand Hodler's The  Dream of the Shepherd, 1896.
Our wanderings took us to European furnishings where we found this bedroom from the Palazzo Sagredo, Venice, ca 1718.
Andrea Della Robbia's glazed terracotta Saint Michael The Archangel, ca 1475.
A special exhibition, Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.–
A.D. 220) featured some exquisite tomb sculpture like this chariot
and a charioteer
a collection of ceramic figures 
and an elegant ceramic dancer.
The Burial Suit of Dou Wan was made of jade pieces attached with gold wire
Western Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 9)
Then we wandered toward the light of the open courtyard with it's classical sculpture
Greek, Hellenistic or Roman Imperial, ca. 1st century B.C. -- 1st century A.D.
Roman, 1st or 2nd Century
Western Sudan display case with artist
My vision of a perfect New York Sunday would involve hearing The Magnetic Fields in a matinee concert at the Temple of Dendur.
Be sure to have a look at the fragments mounted on the wall by the temple.
Some of them, like this one, are spectacular.
It is hard to visit the Met without a peak into the Egyptian rooms.
Loved this tiny head
and these three wooden figures from the tomb of Merti ca 2380 BC
Do you think these fab models from the tomb could actually float?
Then we wandered over to the Asian galleries where we found the Bodhisattva Maitreya, 11th century
and this bronze sculpture of Shiva, Uma and their son Skandia, early 11th century.
Japanese screen of a Portuguese ship.
We said a prayer for our fellow tourists
before escaping to Fifth Avenue
to catch a southbound bus to Union Square.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Seurat's Circus Sideshow at the Met

Last Spring, John and I enjoyed the Met's presentation of a group of Georges Seurat paintings and drawings centred around his painting of a Circus Sideshow (Parade de cirque), 1887-88.
The paintings depict performers the French called Saltimbanques who would give a free show outside carnival tents in order to tempt customers to pay to see a full show within.
We loved Trombonist, 1887-88, Seurat's Conté crayon study for the painting. The Conté crayon drawings perfectly suggest his painting style of pointillism or developing pictures through the use of multiple dots of paint. We might add that these drawings are simply ravishing. Here are three more.
Eden Concert, ca 1886-87
At the Concert Parisian, ca 1887-88
At the Divan Japonais, ca 1887-88
The exhibition also included Seurat's preparatory drawing, Study for "Models" 1886-87
and a small version of the resultant painting, Models, 1887-88. The larger version of the painting is in the Barnes Collection.
The curators included work by other artists and social commentators like Honoré Daumier and his wonderful illustration, The Sideshow (La Parad), ca 1865-66.
The lasting achievement of Seurat's post-Impressionist technique is made clear if we compare it to the large realistic painting of a sideshow performance by Fernand Pelez -- Grimaces and Misery - The Saltimbanques, 1888 which was painted the same year as Circus Sideshow and yet lacks the timeless quality of Seurat's pointillist approach to the subject.