Wednesday, February 3, 2021

A Close Read of a Cubist Masterpiece

The New York Times publishes an occasional series of "close reads" of iconic works of art. Most recently, "Still Life with Table", by Juan Gris, was chosen as a subject for exploration.

If asked to name the most revolutionary new artistic medium in 20th-century art, would you choose Cinema? Video? Installation? Writer Jason Farago suggests it might well be Collage. Readers learn about the impact of collage as a medium, and what the use of glued newspaper had to say about the explosive influence of journalism on French café society.

What is real and what is false? Wood-grained paper purports to represent a wooden surface. And the content of these same newspapers: true or false?

Farago refers us to the impact of African sculpture, with its shattering portrayal of three-dimensional space, so different from the classic perspective of European traditionalists. The painted landscapes of Cezanne are cited as an earlier challenge to the accepted view of reality.

The fascinating analysis, with its many supporting illustrations and close-up views, is well worth a look.



Linda Gardiner said...

This is great! I had never heard of the "close reads". Immediately looked at a few others. This on in particular sparks lots of collage/ collagraph ideas. As always thanks for sharing a great resource!

Heather Dubreuil said...

Thanks for the encouraging comment, Linda. I really appreciate the in-depth analysis of a single work, as found in this "Close Reads" series. Will be sure to post more as they are published.