Ilona Keserü belongs to a generation of Hungarian artists that emerged in the wake of the Revolution of 1956, which had resulted in restrictions on officially acceptable art and suspicion of avant-garde art produced in Western styles — particularly abstraction. Keserü and other Hungarian artists flourished in abstract modes, despite this marginalization. A vibrant unframed tapestry, Wall-Hanging with Tombstone Forms (1969) exemplifies her desire to merge modern abstraction with references to Hungarian folk culture, making something with local resonance out of an otherwise international vocabulary of hard-edge painting. The undulating, toothlike motif recurring throughout the composition relates to artists study of gravestones at the Balatonudvari Cemetery, southwest of Budapest.
Photographed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Conversation, a grouping of colorful public seating (by artist B. Morgan) is located in the rear of the plaza at 77 Water Street, just off Water and Old Slip in NYC’s Financial District.
When I took these photos, a lot of people, appropriately, appeared to be using this area to sit and talk on their phones. This space is also adjacent to where a bunch of food trucks park, so it’s a convenient place to sit and eat and people watch while the weather is still decent.
Those big pink partitions also make it an ideal location to hide from your co-workers while you are on a smoking break.
While there is no shortage of very cool artworks to see at the Dia: Beacon Museum in Beacon, NY, one of my favorite things that I saw on my recent trip there with Geoffrey is Robert Smithson’s Map of Broken Glass (Alantis) which is mind blowing on so many levels. First of all, it’s huge pile of dangerous glass shards sticking up into the air, which if you fell onto them, they would surely injure you gravely. Take a closer look:
I almost can’t believe they don’t have some kind of rope thing around its perimeter to keep kids from impaling themselves. But then again, it’s cool that the Museum trusts people to not be complete idiots, because to have to guard visitors against observing the work close-up would be to compromise the art; at least that’s what I think.
According to Artist Alan Rapp, “The tons of shattered glass forming Map of Broken Glass (Atlantis) (1969) are layered both literally and figuratively. As the title implies, the sculpture is to be seen not simply as a pile of flat, sharp, transparent fragments but also as a map of a legendary lost continent (almost certainly, however, a fictional one).
Smithson’s work suggests that the concrete materiality of sculpture depends on the mind’s ability to see metaphorically in order to comprehend meanings within the language of art. The resulting gaps are passageways akin to Alice’s Looking Glass or the Bellman’s blank map, in that they are thresholds to an elsewhere.”
Robert Smithson died in a plane crash on July 20, 1973, while surveying sites for his work Amarillo Ramp in the vicinity of Amarillo, Texas. He was just 35 years old. What a shame and great loss to the art world, and the world in general. Despite his early death, and relatively few surviving major works, Smithson has a following amongst many contemporary artists. The Dia: Beacon has an entire large gallery dedicated to his work, and there are perhaps six or seven of his earthworks on display.
Stella’s title, Hiraqla Variation III (1969) refers to Hiraqla, an archeological site in present-day Iraq that contains a half-built circular structure probably constructed around 800 CE. Thus, the circular canvas, brilliant coloring and geometric patterning reference complex domes and intricate tile work of Islamic architecture.
Photographed at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, while on loan from the Norton Simon Museum.
On This Date, January 12th, in 1969: Led Zeppelin released its debut album in the UK (the US release date was January 17th). The album’s iconic cover artwork, chosen by guitarist Jimmy Page, features a black and white photo of the 1937 Hindenburg airship disaster. Led Zeppelin!
On This Date, February 7th in 1969: The Who recorded “Pinball Wizard” at Morgan Studios in London. Although it was not one of songwriter Pete Townshend’s favorites, it went on to become by far the most popular song from the rock opera, Tommy, reaching #4 in the UK charts and #13 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. “Pinball Wizard” remains part of The Who’s live set to this day. Perhaps they will perform it later today when they provide musical entertainment for the half time show at the Super Bowl (aka The Stupid Bowl), which I will be doing everything in my power to avoid watching!