Archive | January, 2008

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

Thomas Charles Farrer (British, 1839-1892) Mount Holyoke, oil on canvas, 1865. My youngest brother is now living in Holyoke Mass, about an hour and a half from my home in Hudson, so I am exploring the very fine small college museums there. That area, Northampton, Easthampton, Holyoke, Springfield, has a number of colleges and a few good small museums. I am looking forward to getting to know more about them and the area. I am starting with the Mt. Holyoke College Art Museum, which has a small but very satisfying collection. Above is a view of Mt. Holyoke painted by a British painter, and it captures the beauty of the landscape in that area. I happen to like this painting a lot, even though there are others of the same scene that are larger, as it reminds me of the luminist painters from the Hudson River School; it is remniscent of Kensett. And of course it is beautifully painted and polished in its execution.   Statuette of a Youth, Greek, early Classical, ca 470 B.C. […]

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Montreal MFA, and decorative arts

view of the decorative arts galleries at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts One thing I really enjoyed about the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, was its emphasise on objects, from ancient, to African to 20th Century design. While not a huge museum or collections, they really make an effort to be inclusive of all expressions of design and art. For anyone planning a trip to Montreal, the Museum of Fine Arts is a must see for lots of reasons, this being just another one. Here is another view of the decorative arts galleries. Another view of the galleries, showing my personal favorite, not necessarily the prettiest of the bunch, but close to my heart; the original Macintosh computer at the top, ca. 1984. Having become a Mac convert in the past four years now, I love my mac, and enjoyed seeing the original one. I remember them when they came out, computers in general were sort of exotic and Macintosh computers stood out for their simplicity of design and utility, and of course, the […]

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The Artemis again

After that spectacular sale at Sotheby’s this last summer, the bronze statue of Artemis de-accessioned by the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY, has reappeared; at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, on loan anonymously. I was quite happy to see her again, on my own home turf, rather than having to travel to see her. Still no real clue as to who bought her and now owns her, but at least she is available to the public. There is a difference seeing something at a museum rather than at an auction house; here she was in the company of many other great things, and still she stands out as something noteworthy and special. I look forward to getting to know her better by repeated viewings, which is how I see things best.

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Strangest thing I saw at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Old Enemy, New Victim, by Tony Matalli, 2006 Latex resin, hair. This has to be a mistake, I find it hard to believe that this museum feels the need, like so many today, to buy bad contemporary art. This sculpture is so weird, extremely well made, very naturalistic in a Madam Tussauds sort of way. I mean at least there is skill and craft involved, but to what end? What a stupid obvious allegory, the skinny chimp strangling the fat one; compelling visually, but just too trite. But perhaps my strong reaction is in part because this is exactly how I feel when going to Walmart; it is all I can do to keep myself from wringing the necks of the obese people there! (Just kidding, like I’m so skinny myself.) One good thing is the installation, rather than being safely quarantined with other terrible contemporary art, it is in a gallery full of beautiful paintings, and is a strange but very interesting, juxtaposition.

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African Art and the Cirque du Soleil

Ceremonial mask from the Lower Zaire Region in the Congo, Vili-Yombe tribe, 19th-20th Century. Wood, pigments and animal skin. Collection of Cirque du Soleil. Unexpectedly, on exploring the wonderful Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal, I came across a superb small exhibit of African art culled from the collection of the museum, with additions from other collections in Montreal, many of them from the Cirque de Soleil collection. While not an obvious connection, when you look at the sculptures, you can see how they had influenced the imagery that Cirque employs. I love the Cirque de Soleil, I first saw one of their shows in NYC, years ago, and have vivid memories of it, and made a point of going to Saltimbanco while I was in Montreal. It is wonderful entertainment, with music, movement, incredible acrobatics with terrifying high wire acts and juggling, percussion artists. And beautiful visuals, including two male acrobats who use each other as props to do these amazing positions, erotic and beautiful at the same time. So to see the art […]

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