Sunday, April 8, 2012

Miscellaneous Art Notes

By Charles Kessler

Rembrandt at Work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of the Artist, ca. 1663–65, oil on canvas, 45 x 37 inches (Kenwood House, London).
I returned to the Met after reading Roberta Smith’s masterful appreciation of the great Rembrandt self-portrait that the Met has on loan from Kenwood House, London (until May 20th). It is indeed a great painting, and I have nothing to add to her superb article other than to note that the perfect circles depicted on the wall behind Rembrandt that she writes about aren't circles but instead, because the wall goes back at an angle, they are ovals (circles in perspective) — an even more challenging thing to draw.

I think Rembrandt depicts himself with his right hand in his pocket —a wonderful nonchalant gesture especially in contrast to his careworn facial expression — but I can't be sure because the reflections on the glass make it almost impossible to see the lower part of the painting. This is just what I was discussing in the previous post. One would think that, for their signature painting, Kenwood House could spring for the few hundred pounds that "Museum Glass” would cost.
You can see the reflection of the guard in the glass as if it were a mirror.
Also, while at the Met, I went back to the Steins Collect exhibition and managed to sneak a better photo of the dog in Matisse’s Tea, 1919. I think it's more noticeable in this photo that the dog's right eye is brown, and the other eye is mostly black.
Henri Matisse, Tea, 1919 - Detail of the dog.
And finally, while I'm on the Steins Collect and color, I noticed I made a mistake saying Mme. Matisse's glove in the Woman with a Hat, 1905, was blue. It looks blue in the photo, but it's green. Just want to set the record straight.

This Side of Paradise at  the Andrew Freedman Home, the Bronx:
Opening of This Side of Paradise.
Last Wednesday was the packed opening of this enormous (32 artists) group exhibition on the Grand Concourse and 166th Street (until June 5th). It was made up of well-known artists (such as Mel Chin, Sylvia Plachy and John Ahearn) as well as unknown artists (at least to me). Most of the artists had their own rooms and made site-specific installations. It's an impressive exhibition, well worth the trip all the way uptown.
The Andrew Freeman Home, The Bronx
The Andrew Freedman Home is a fascinating place in itself. In 1924, multi-millionaire Andrew Freedman bequeathed the 100,00 square foot building and estate to be used as a retirement home for the rich elderly who had lost their fortunes. He left enough of an endowment so the home had all the luxuries: white glove dinner service, fine dining, a billiard room; as well as a grand ballroom and wood-paneled library — both of which have been restored. (Apparently Freedman felt sorrier for people that lost their money than for people who never had any.) By the mid-eighties the building fell into disrepair and it’s now mainly vacant; but they’re working on other uses — this art exhibition being one of them. (Someone — I can't remember who — told me that Peter Frank said, "This is the best crummy space since PS1." Good line.)

Norte Maar Benefit:
Last Monday evening, April 2nd, Norte Maar held a benefit in Chelsea at the Mitchell-Innes and  Nash
 gallery on West 26th Street
. It was not only to raise funds but also to honor Julie Martin of E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) They had tap dancing; a performance of David Tudor’s Rainforest I (1968) performed by Composers Inside Electronics (see photo below); and a preview of a terrific ballet, The Brodmann Areas, choreographed by Julia K. Gleich. You can see the full ballet April 12 - 15th at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn. Click here for more information.
Composers Inside Electronics channeling the electronic output of David Tudor’s Rainforest I through different objects rather than a  loudspeaker.

John Chamberlain - Choices at the Guggenheim:
John Chamberlain, Glossalia Adagio, 1984, painted and chromium-plated steel (Philadelphia Museum of Art).
I don't think Chamberlain came up with a viable way to use color in sculpture. His color still looks applied to the surface and arbitrary; and color still makes his sculptures seem weightless. I must admit, though, that Chamberlain showed more range and variety than I expected — but I expected very little.

What's with these crowds? Could Chamberlain be that popular? Amazing!
Line to get into the Guggenheim John Chamberlain exhibition.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why is it a given that the Rembrandt portrait is a mirror image?

Is it possible his intention was to paint whoever was viewing the work at the moment?