No matter who you are, you are usually attracted to gold and Golden Kingdoms Luxury & Legacy In The Ancient Americas, running at the Metropolitan Museum until May 28, 2018, promises to have a of gold.
Golden Kingdoms consists of more than 300 objects assembled from more than 50 museums in 12 countries. It traces the evolution of goldworking and other luxury arts from Peru in the south to Mexico in the north starting in approximately 2000 B.C. to the European arrival in the 16th century.
This major exhibition features spectacular works from recent archeological excavations: crowns, pectorals, pendants, necklaces, ear and nose ornaments, rings labrets, masks, mantels, vases, stelas, bells, mirrors and more.
Exhibition highlights include the exquisite gold ornaments of the Lord of Sipán from the richest unlooted tomb in the Americas, the malachite funeral mask of a woman known as the Red Queen, newly discovered ritual offerings from the sacred precinct of the Aztec Empire and the “Fisherman’s Treasure,” a set of Mixtec gold ornaments plundered by the conquistadors and recovered from a shipwreck during the 1970s.
No matter who you are, you are usually attracted to gold and…
Something is stirring at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, just north of Toronto and it may be worth your time to go and see what is taking place. Last year Ian Dejardin, a Scot, was appointed as Executive Director of the McMichael. Dejardin was the man who as chief curator of the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London who put together the much lauded show, Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. It was the first time these seminal Canadian artists have appeared abroad in more than a hundred years.
Now, with The Art of Canada: Director’s Cut, which runs through November 18, 2018, Dejardin has produced his first exhibition at the McMichael. He is using the show to highlight the strength and depth of the museum’s core collection. Works on display will include Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Norval Morriseau, David Milne, Christiane Pflug, Alex Colville and others.
Something is stirring at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection…
If you want to see something that you have never before seen and would probably have great difficulty in imagining, you should do what you can to get tickets for Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, running through at the Art Gallery of Ontario until May 27, 2018.
Kusama is an extraordinary Japanese artist whose work must be seen to be appreciated. Describing it is difficult but here are some adjectives that apply to her work. Bright, colourful, startling and organic. Powerful and absorptive also hold sway. Her paintings are difficult to describe as are her installations, largely because you have never seen anything like them before. Mirror Room, All the Eternal Love I have for the Pumpkins, 2016, can be described as a field of yellow pumpkins with black dots spreading into infinity, but that hardly describes the painting or the effect it has. Her forms are stylized and simplified and her colours are bright and taken together there is an organic quality to them that seems to go on forever. This is a show from a major international artist who at the age of 88 is still industriously working away in her Tokyo studio. See it now and boast about seeing it in the future.
If you want to see something that you have never before seen…
While the National Gallery is always worth visiting, everyone should spend as much time as possible in the Canadian and Indigenous Gallery just for the sheer joy of it, the National Gallery also believes that small can be beautiful.
In this case the museum has secured a long term loan of two of Gustav Klimt’s paintings, Portrait of Elisabeth Lederer, 1914- 1916, and Forest Slope in Unterach on the Attersee, 1916, which they have hung with the one Klimt, Hope I, the museum owns.
The portrait of Elisabeth Lederer is a fine example of Klimt’s female portraiture and the luish landscape shows a seldom seen side of the artist. Klimt was the most important member of Art Nouveau’s Viennese school, the Vienna Secession and is acclaimed for his painterly expressiveness and devotion to colour and surface.
While the National Gallery is always worth visiting…
There is another blockbuster of sorts running at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art through to May 6, 2018, Napoleon – Art and Court Life in the Imperial Palace.
The exhibition contains more than 400 works of art and objects from Napoleon’s French palaces, the majority of which have never before been seen in North America. On exhibition are paintings, sculptures, furniture, silverware and porcelain, tapestries, silk hangings and the elaborate clothes worn at court.
The show is organized to reflect the six departments that made up the Imperial household and studies the way that Napoleon used the court as propaganda to cement his position as Emperor of France. The exhibition is designed to reveal how art can be used to serve power.
The exhibition includes a recreation of Napoleon’s throne room. Some of the highlights include the head boards for the Imperial bed, the Imperial throne from the palace of Monte Cavallo in Rome, the formal chairs, stools and tapestries from the throne rooms at the Tuileries and Saint Cloud as well as the monumental painting, The Dream of Ossian, commissioned in 1813 to serve as the bedroom ceiling in the Palace of Monte Cavallo by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres.
The exhibition also includes the magnificent altarpiece commissioned for the marriage of Napoleon and the Archduchess Marie-Louise by goldsmith Henri Auguste which is being seen for the first time outside of France. If you like the trappings of power, this is the show for you.
There is another blockbuster of sorts running at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art…
The Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec has something that everyone should try to see sooner or later and fortunately you can take your time in going to see it because the piece in question is on long term loan. I am referring to the David Altmejd’s work The Flux and the Puddle, now on majestic display in the Gerard-Morisset Pavilion.
The museum describes this piece as being by, “The most internationally renowned and sought after Montreal sculptor of his generation,” and they make a very good point.
Altmejd, who creates large scale plexiglass installations that contain a plethora of characters seen from a post modern lens describes the piece by saying that it was the second time that he wanted to revisit everything he has ever made as a sculptor. “I wanted to combine my early werewolves, some birdmen and some recent bodybuilders, for example and build a sort of operatic drama… As I worked on the sculpture, everything in it became more and more fragmented and abstract. What interested me at this point was movement and flux, hence the title, The Flux and the Puddle.”
If you get to the MNBQ before May 13, 2018, you can also take in the Alberto Giacometti show, made up of 110 sculptures, 50 paintings and 70 drawings as well as archival documents and showcases work from his beginnings in the 1920s through to the 1960s. Giacometti is of course the artist who produced all those achingly evocative elongated sculptures. Giacometti, who lived from 1901-1966 is one of the most easily recognized and foremost 20th century artists. A Swiss painter and sculptor, the artist lived in Paris. In 1962 Giacometti won the grand prize for sculpture at the Venice Biennale.
The Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec has something…
Alberto Giacometti will be running at the Musée Nationale des beaux-arts in Quebec City. The show is the first major Giacometti retrospective in 15 years and was first shown at the Tate Modern in London
where it received rave reviews. Giacometti’s father Giovani, was a well known post-impressionist painter. In 1922 Alberto moved to Paris to study sculpture with a disciple of Rodin. From February 6, 2016 to May 13, 2018.
In Paris Giacometti hobnobbed with Max Ernst, Miró and Picasso and became known as one of the leading cubist sculptors. Giacometti was either excommunicated or left the surrealist movement just before the Second World War. Giacometti became internationally famous in 1962 when he won the grand prix for sculpture at the Venice Biennale. While originally a fine representational artist Giacometti slowly developed the elongated and oversized work that he became famous for. This is thought to have been a quest for existential meaning.
Giacometti’s most common three themes were, man walking, nudes and busts. The exhibition contains some 150 works including paintings.
Alberto Giacometti will be running at the Musée Nationale des beaux-arts…
The Vancouver Art Gallery is running Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg, from February 3, 2018 to May 5, 2018. In North America, Murakimi may be better known as a Louis Vuitton collaborator, designing, rugs and the fabric for purses and luggage or for designing the album cover for Kanye West’s Graduation.
Sometimes known as the Japanese Andy Warhol, Murakami is better known in art circles for developing Superflat, a postmodern art movement he founded and which has had great influence over artists in Asia and around the world. Superflat draws on the hyper-sexualized tradition of Japanese anime or animated films, and manga, Japanese comics. It combines the flatness of Japanese commercial graphic design, manga and the aesthetic concerns of fine art.
Murakami’s work is inspired by folklore, art history and popular culture. It blends high and low art, eastern and western, ancient and modern. The show consists of over 50 works, some of which are monumental. The piece which gives the show its name, The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg is 114 feet in length, made up from 35 separate panels and tells the Japanese folk tale of the octopus that eats its own leg in order to escape being caught because it knows that it will grow back again.
In a way the theme represents Murakimi because the artist often revisits previous work to draw his next inspiration. The exhibition is the first Murakimi retrospective in some 16 years and contains work that has been done for the show as well as from earlier periods. Much of this exhibition has not been seen in North America before. If you like to dig deep into modern culture this is the show for you.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is running Takashi Murakami…
If for some reason you can’t see the Vancouver exhibition you can always slip down to Boston where the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is running Takashi Murakami: Lineage of Eccentrics, A Collaboration with Nobuo Tsuji and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston from October 2017 to April 1, 2018.
This exhibition is definitely a ground breaker because in it Murakimi has been challenged by his mentor, Japanese art historian Nobuo Tsuji to respond to historic Japanese art works in the museum’s collection. Just to give you a hint about the scope of this project, one of the pieces that Murakami responds to is Soga Shohaku’s 35 foot long Dragon and Clouds from 1763.
Murakami’s response was Dragon in Clouds—Red Mutation created in 2010 within a 24-hour period as a response to a challenge from Tsuji. The show consists of a dozen works created by Murakami and 30 chosen from the permanent collection. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has the most important collection of Japanese art outside of Japan.
If for some reason you can’t see the Vancouver exhibition…
If you like Leonard Cohen you may want to take in the exhibition dedicated to him at Montreal’s Musée d’art Contemporain. Leonard Cohen: A Crack in Everything runs from November 9, 2017 to April 9, 2018. All in all it’s a very interesting exhibition and may perhaps prove to be a template for future requiems. The MAC was in discussions with Cohen about mounting an exhibition before he died and obtained the rights to use whatever they chose from his artistic output.
In dealing with Cohen they started by saying that they weren’t interested in mounting what may be described as a normal exhibit containing objects that Cohen had used or worn. Instead MAC commissioned 40 forty artists from ten countries, musicians, filmmakers and performers to revisit Cohen’s work and reinterpret or respond to it. The result occupies six galleries at MAC.
Many of the exhibits are interactive. One features Cohen himself responding to questions in a variety of interviews. Another uses an organ where pressing a key triggers Cohen reading one of his poems. Another gallery is devoted to concert footage. There is, of course for the poet of sadness, a depression room. To top matters up for each month the show runs one of Cohen’s albums will be covered by musicians in a concert at the Salle Gesù.
If you like Leonard Cohen you may want to take in the exhibition…
Moving from what can only be described as the very modern to what may now be regarded as one of Canada’s foremost modernist painters the National Gallery is running James Wilson Morrice: The A.K. Pradash Collection in Trust to the Nation from October 13, 2017 to March 18, 2018. Morrice was once described as the best North American painter on the international stage since the death of Whistler.
In 1903 Morrice was the first Canadian artist to show at the Venice Biennale. Morrice lived from 1865 to 1924. In 1890 he moved to Paris to establish himself as a painter. From Paris he would travel through France and eventually go to Morocco and the Caribbean in between returning home to Canada to paint. His work often portrayed the theatricality of modern life and one of his strengths was capturing atmospheric ef fects. As a modernist Morrice compressed his subject matter as opposed to elaborating it but rather than adhere to any artistic dogma developed his own aesthetic.
The show will mark the first time that A.K. Pradash’s gift to the nation will be seen in its entirety and consists of 49 paintings and watercolours. Pradash was a long time contributor to Magazin’art.
Also running at the National is the 2017 Canadian Biennial from October 19, 2017 to March 18, 2017. This is the fourth Biennial that the National Gallery has mounted and usually they feature recent acquisitions that the museum has made. This iteration is slightly different and along with recent works by Canadian and Indigenous contemporary work features international art works as well. All in all over 50 artists and over 100 works of art are featured. The works in question run from painting, sculpture, photography and drawing to prints, video and large scale mixed media installations.
Moving from what can only be described as the very modern…
I may be going out on a limb if I describe the work of David Hockney as being some of the most beautiful work done in this postmodern world, but there it is. The Metropolitain Museum is running David Hockney from November 27, 2017 to February 25, 2018 at the Met Fifth Avenue.
The show includes work from every period of the artist’s life and includes painting, drawing, photography and video. Over almost six decades Hockney flirted with a number of different artistic schools including experiment s in modern abstraction, illusion, realism and his most recent bright palette work. Examples of these, including the swimming pool pictures are all represented. Along with his brilliant landscapes there is also a wide selection of his single and multiple figure portraits, as well as work done on an iPad.
I may be going out on a limb if I describe the work of David Hockney…