Friday, February 29, 2008

Freud's Etchings @ MOMA, Juan Usle @ Cheim & Read, and Missing Cai Guo-Qiang @ the Guggenheim

Lucian Freud, Ill in Paris, 1948
Lucian Freud, Girl with Leaves, 1948

Lucian Freud, Double Portrait, 1985-86
Juan Usle, Cada Vez Mas Cerca, 2006-07

Juan Usle, Sin Desenlace, 2007

Juan Usle, Books and Dreams, 2007

Yesterday Robin took the day off and we went into Manhattan to see some art.
First we took a long cab ride from Penn Station to the Guggenheim only to find out that it is closed on Thursdays! This was disappointing because I really wanted to see the Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe* exhibition. I'm going to have to go back this coming week while Robin is in Phoenix.

Next we shared a $10 sandwich at the Guggenheim cafe (which was open) before heading over to MOMA to see the Lucian Freud: The Painter's Etchings show.
This was an incredible show! I'm not sure that an image printed in a book has ever done the original work as much a disservice as is done to Freud's work.
The images were so subtle and strong that it's sometimes hard to believe they were done by human hand. There were a good number of paintings represented as well to illustrate the relationship between the two mediums. And a few of the actual plates were exhibited alongside the final prints. Some of the work that stood out to me were Ill in Paris, 1948 (I was also able to see this one at the I.M.M.A), Benefits Supervisor Resting, 1994, the triptych of etchings: Head, Torso, and Thighs, 2001, Pluto Aged Twelve, 2000, and Double Portrait, 1985-86.
Freud is a hard act to follow but I really wanted to see The Juan Usle show Brezales at Cheim and Read so we hopped in a cab and went to Chelsea.
Usle is a painter from Spain who has lived in New York since the late 1980's. He is often grouped with artists like Raoul de Keyser, Thomas Nozkowski, and Bill Jensen because of his refusal to settle into a confining style and because their is influenced by their life and surroundings as well as their openness to subjectivity.
Usle's show consisted of mostly small easel size paintings---beautifully layered and colorful patterns with small, deft and unexpected, intensely hued touches.
I've wanted to see some of his paintings in person since I missed a big show of large work at the I.M.M.A in Dublin by one day!
Standouts here were, Cada Vez Mas Cerca, 2006-07, Sin Desenlace, 2007, Rebanadas de Cielo, 2007, and La Camara Oculta, 2007.
After this all we could do was go to a diner and have some great rice pudding before heading back to a bar near Penn Station ---had a couple of beers-and Robin had her Jameson neat---and waited for rush hour to end before taking the train back home.

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