Friday, August 22, 2008

Day Before Yesterday in Ney York

On Wed. Robin took the day off and we went into NYC to see a couple of shows.
The main reason for the trip was the big Louise Bourgeois show at the Guggenheim.
The show pretty much spanned her career with an emphasis on her Personages, Cells, and works carved from marble as well as a healthy sampling of drawings and other works on paper.
Next we walked a couple of blocks up to the Jewish Museum to see the Action/Abstraction show.This show presented the theories of Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg and illustrated them with works by the artists they championed. Most of the work was by Pollock and de Kooning but also on display were a few marginalized (women and African American) artists that Greenberg and Rosenberg couldn't have cared less about.
Highlights of the show for me were de Kooning's Gotham News and Black Friday (one of his very strong black and white paintings from 1948).
I also liked two very large paintings by Grace Hartigan and a nice blue and black painting by Lee Krasner that bore a heavy Matisse influence.
Lowlights of the show were anything by Clyfford Still.
A lot of the critical dogma presented in the form of letters and filmed interviews with the critics was rote but it was interesting to see the original posters and catalogs for the early New York School exhibitions as well as the materials that showed how the Ab-Ex movement was presented by the traditional media of the time---hint: think, painting chimp on the Today Show!

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