Monday, June 26, 2017

Ydessa Hendeles at The Power Plant

In the final years of her Toronto foundation, Ydessa Hendeles began experimenting with a new form of art based on juxtaposing art and historical objects.
The Milliner's Daughter at the Power Plant in Toronto continues this work. It is her most ambitious, unified and successful project to date. 
The Milliner's Daughter is installed in seven rooms. From Her Wooden Sleep... (2013), is a room full of wooden artists' manikins. The manikins are presented in large groups
and more intimate, private groupings.
Bill particularly liked this life-sized articulated male figure
and I loved this narcissistic manikin enjoying its reflection.
In THE BIRD THAT MADE THE BREEZE TO BLOW (2006-2011) Hendeles juxtaposes a Deco-esque automaton car/airplane with framed reproductions of Gustave Doré's illustrations for Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Here is Doré's illustration of the Mariner with his burden, the dead Albatross, around his neck. 
An oversize key with a Jumbo the Elephant logo awaits the winding up of the automaton car. (More about "Jumbo" later.)
When the car converts into a plane its front grill becomes a propeller.
In Crypt (2016)
a life-sized Santo figure, 
a reclining manikin in a vitrine
and a sitting manikin share a eerily lit room.
The narrow Fleck Clerestory houses a new piece: Blue Beard, 2016
with its looming pair of male and female manikins in vitrines.
 Canadian Child (2009) consists of two elements -- a photo of Ydessa as a child on a bike with a Union Jack and an oversized bicycle bell.
The Blue Beard sculptures look good from the second floor gallery.
The next room presents The Dead Jumbo (2011), with a newspaper photo of Jumbo the Elephant's death in St Thomas, Ontario 
along with Jumbo's obituary and a little tin bulldog reading the obit.
Note the "Jumbo" wind-up key that we last saw in the BIRD THAT MADE room.
Finally we visited Marburg! The Early Bird! (2008-2016) -- a room with a vitrine with the impoverished fairytale hero and his inheritance, Puss in Boots.
The Puss in the vitrine is particularly creepy.
By the way, keep an eye on the shadows. The "staging" and lighting of the rooms is terrific.
On the floor at the entrance is a very enlarged version of Gustave Doré's illustrated Puss in Boots book with an oversized pair of spectacles. The book is as big as a child's bed.
We loved this original oil painting by Doré of the famous cat in fierce form (note the mouse-snack hanging from his belt!).
Hendeles was born in Marburg when her parents settled there after they left Auschwitz. It is one of the German towns now featured in the Brothers Grimm tourist trail. 
There are many tightly woven threads in this exhibition. We've already been back for a second look. On until September 4th.

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 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 the Met is one of our favourite things to do in New York.
Courbet's Ladies of the Village (1851-52) with visitors
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.