Wednesday, May 30, 2012

NYC - Days 1 & 2

Having a fine old time in NYC on my Art Immersion Getaway. Here are some photos that may find their way into some of my imagery, the first taken from a window at the National Academy Museum, where I saw a great exhibit titled "Women's Work" that included galleries on three floors devoted to works by women from the 19th to 21st centuries.

Mary Cassatt had a room full of drypoint prints, May Stevens and Colleen Browning each filled a gallery with their paintings, and another room showcased work by women sculptors. There was even a work in fibre. Polly Apfelbaum's piece, The Fandancer, 1995, consisted of long strips of dyed synthetic velvet, draped on a large metal hanger, displayed like something just back from the dry cleaner's. A great idea for presentation, I think.

Also on Day One I visited the Neue Gallery, celebrating the 150th birthday of Gustav Klimt. I saw another Klimt exhibit there a few years ago that was even more impressive. Perhaps there are other Klimt shows worldwide this year and for that reason there were fewer pieces available for this particular location. Here's a street scene from my walk back to the hotel, along Madison Avenue.

On Day Two I visited two wonderful shows at the Metropolitan Museum. "The Steins Collect" featured over 200 works collected by Gertrude Stein and her two brothers, Leo and Michael, mostly by Matisse and Picasso, during the early decades of the 20th century. Other paintings included those by Toulouse-Lautrec, Cezanne and Renoir. The role of the Steins' salon, held every Saturday evening in their Parisian apartment, was also highlighted, and it was noted how this promotion and cross-pollenation of artists and writers advanced the contemporary art scene.

I also enjoyed the show "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations". One of the themes of the show is how Schiaparelli drew attention to a woman's upper half with beautifully worked jackets, shoulder detail, and surrealist hats. She explained that in her time, a woman socialized mostly at the table, and it was important that she have a commanding presence even when seated. Prada designs for the lower half where, she says, "all the interesting things happen". She feels that the upper half is about decoration and "pleasing". It's "too easy"and anyways, "Who would want all that fussiness near one's face?" Many of her elaborately detailed skirts were on display. The show was organized around a film of an imaginary conversation between the two designers, with an actress standing in for Schiaparelli, as they discussed not only fashion but femininity, power, and the impact of their times on their work.

Wallis Simpson wears Schiaparelli, 1937

Prada, 2005

Later I visited the Cloisters, in Tryon Park, where the Met displays its medieval art collection, including an iconic unicorn tapestry.  Here are some architectural photos from that visit that may find their way into my work.


michele said...

Great exhibitions Heather. You have done so much already!

Dianne Robinson said...

That passageway in the Cloisters is just begging to be done! What a great start to your week.