Saturday, October 18, 2014

Museum Wandering

Back from California, I spent the last few afternoons gallery wandering.  The newly re-hung Hirschorn permanent collection.  The National Gallery.  The Phillips.  Punctuated by bike rides and coffee shops and notebooks..  Not a bad way to spend a few days off in a contemplative way..

Random thoughts on what I saw:
  •  The Wyeth show at the National Gallery seemed quite popular.  And there was a moment in late high school when I was quite taken by his work.  Now it leaves me a bit cold (though I admire his sometimes jarring sense of composition and perspective and subtle use of color).  The biggest revelation was the inclusion of sketches and studies for some of the finished pieces (including the NGA's own Wind from the Sea).  And his watercolors.. 
  • I'm warming to the post-impressionism galleries at the NGA.   There's a set of Modigliani's that I just love..  and discovered some fun, small Klee's that I really liked.  And then, of course, there's Cezanne.  Trying, in my mind, to rescue the whole genre from college dorm rooms (like Marley and Hendrix) and hipster snobbery.
  • My favorite paintings in the entire NGA - the two Duccio's - are down due to a renovation project.  The Giotto is still in that room though..   And elsewhere, the Van Eyck Annunciation.  And..  
  • The re-hung Hirschorn is a lot of fun.  A lot of stuff I hadn't seen placed prominently.  A great Rauschenberg combine.  Some excellent attention to stuff like land art.  A lot of favorites missing (Ana Mendiata, Bacon's pope paintings, Morandi) - but it's well worth repeat visits.  And brilliantly organized non-chronologically. 
  • And oh, the Phillips.  So full of itself.  So full of good stuff.  A neo-impressionism show that gave me much more of the genre than I needed.  Some incredible photography.  And a lot of solid Arthur Dove and Marsden Hartley..
Now off to enjoy this gorgeous weather... 

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