About week ago I took a day trip over to San Francisco to go to the Museum of Modern Art and I’m very happy I did. I love going to museums in general but what brought about my interest in going to SFMoMA at this particular time is a current exhibit of one of my favorite artists.
Here are a few pictures out and inside the museum. If you look carefully, there’s a hint here as to who that artist is, but I’m saving him for last.
I have to show you the bathroom!
Yowzah! Reminds me of the bathroom in Kubrick’s ‘The Shining.’
Following are some of my favorites from my tour ’round the museum (remember, you can click on any photo to see it more clearly).
Adolph Gottlieb – “Crimson Spinning”
Cy Twombly – Untitled
I can’t call this a favorite, exactly. In some ways I don’t really like it at all. But, I found myself staring at it, mesmerized, for quite a while, so maybe there’s something to it!
Ellsworth Kelly – “Cité”
From the exhibit description:
“Kelly developed this composition by creating an ink drawing which he cut into 20 squares and randomly rearranged. He then painted the resulting pattern on wood panels and affixed them to a structure that holds them in place….”
Chuck Close – “James,” “Roy 1” and “Agnes”
It was interesting how, the closer you got, the more you would completely ‘lose’ the face – especially the eyes.
Richard Artschwager – “Chair”
Probably not my favorite design ever, but I appreciate the woodwork and love the beautiful wood itself.
Gerhard Richter – “Fenster” (Window)
Looks totally 3 dimensional – is totally 2 dimensional.
Sigmar Polke – Untitled
This was really interesting. You can see the wood frame through the painting. It is oil and resin on fabric.
Jannis Kounellis – Untitled
Steel, wax, tar and lead
Lisa Oppenheim – “Spectators sitting on hillside watching fires consume the city after the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake. 1906/2016 (Version 1)”
Alfred Steiglitz – “Georgia O’Keefe – Torso”
From the exhibit description: “This picture belongs to a group of works that [Steiglitz] referred to as a “multi-part portrait,” comprising depictions of O’Keefe’s face, hands, torso and full body, both naked and clothed, that would, in theory, give a more complete sense of her personality and appearance than could one picture alone. Steiglitz remarked: ‘To demand the [single] portrait will be a complete portrait of any person is as futile as to demand that a motion picture be condensed into a single still.’ ”
…and this gem!
Jeff Koons – “Michael Jackson and Bubbles”
It’s practically life-sized. So odd.
They had a nice collection of Diane Arbus photos.
You may recall I displayed a couple of these photos in my MALBA post from Buenos Aires (you can see them here).
Diego Rivera – “The Flower Carrier”
Diego Rivera – “Indian Girl with Coral Necklace”
Now, I come to the artist I most wanted to see:
As I entered the exhibit, I saw paintings I would not have known were his. Appropriately enough, at the beginning of the exhibit, they showed his early works. But, you can see the seeds of his style already in place.
I love this. Who but Magritte would consider painting a vase of flowers, then making the flowers (normally the most vibrant part of any painting) a mass of grey?
This is titled “The Fifth Season” and is a sign of what’s to come.
Magritte wanted to show that what we see is not necessarily to be trusted. “Everything we see hides another thing,” he said. “We always want to see what is hidden by what we see, but it is impossible.” We make the assumption that what is ‘behind’ the canvas matches what is painted on it but that may not be the case.
Are the apples and rose gigantic…
….or are the rooms tiny?
“Les Valeurs Personelles” (The Personal Values)
“Les Idées Claires” (Clear Ideas)
“Le Survivant” (The Survivor)
I almost didn’t want to post this picture because, yeesh, it’s a bloody rifle! But, that’s the thing about it – it’s this ghastly, bloody weapon in this quaint room with wainscotting and pastel rose wallpaper. Sort of makes you wonder what the hell happened?!
“Le Séducteur” (The Seducer)
This was another mesmerizing painting for me, but in a different way. The color changes between the sea and sky and ship were so subtle, I couldn’t stop looking at every portion of it. Not to mention the ship is ‘made of’ water.
“Ceci continue de ne pas être une pipe” (This continues to not be a pipe)
His “This is not a pipe” painting was not shown at this exhibit, so I was thrilled (and amused) to see this one.
“L’Heureux Donateur” (The Happy Donor)
“La Fin du Monde” (The End of the World)
I love his “L’Empire des Lumieres” (The Dominion of Light) series (below).
Dark lamplit streets and cheery blue skies. Who but Magritte?
That’s just about it but, a couple more notes about the end of the exhibit. First, an interactive sort of thing (I have no idea what to call it!) that played on Magritte’s “Le Blanc Seing” (The Blank Signature) which, unfortunately, was not in the exhibit (it’s one of my favorites).
Through hidden video cameras you found yourself in his surreal forest.
Another painting I’d hoped to see that wasn’t in the exhibit was “Sixteenth of September.” “The Schoolmaster” was there, but you couldn’t photograph it. Some copyright thing, apparently. But, at least I got to see it. Wish I could’ve shared it with you, though.
Anyway, in the gift shop were these great umbrellas.
I’ve saved for last my favorite. When I think of Magritte, I think of this:
“Le Fils de l’Homme” (The Son of Man)
So happy I got to see it and share it with you.