Tag Archives: like life sculpture color and the body

Modern Art Monday Presents: The Judgement of Paris By Johan Joachim Kandler

the judgement of paris photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail

Kandler’s brilliantly composed figural group, The Judgement of Paris (1762) was intended as a table centerpiece that would appear with dessert. It depicts the story of the shepherd Paris awarding the golden apple to Venus, whose charms he preferred to those of Minerva and Juno. The splashes of color add a frivolous note, in tune with the frothy rococo spirit of the sculpture. Moreover, hints of naturalistic coloring deny these goddesses the timelessness of idealizing sculpture, making them instead into modern beauties who perform a titillating after-dinner entertainment.

Photographed in The Met Breuer (Now Closed) as Part of the 2018 Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Damien Hirst, Virgin (Exposed)

damien hirst virgin exposed photo by gail worley
All Photos By Gail

Damien Hirst’s 2005 work, Virgin (Exposed) reimagines Edgar Degas’s The Little Fourteen Year-Old Dancer as a pregnant specimen, while its title references the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception.

damien hirst virgin exposed photo by gail worley

Its garish colors recall the anatomical models and illustrations found in physicians’ offices. Partially flayed and cross-sectioned, the work also evokes historical anatomical female figures whose abdomens could be opened, often to prurient effect, to reveal reproductive organs. However, here there is no frisson of revelation and concealment, and instead the female interior is unsparingly exposed in the public space of a gallery.

damien hirst virgin exposed photo by gail worley

Photographed in The Met Breuer (Now Closed) as Part of the 2018 Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body.

Modern Art Monday Presents: New Salome By Max Klinger

max klinger new salome photo by gail worley
Photo By Gail Worley

Salome is an archetype of the femme fatale, the embodiment of a deadly femininity. The Biblical seductress who was responsible for the beheading of Saint John the Baptist was a frequent motif in the repertoires of male artists during the end of the 19th century. For New Salome (1893), Max Klinger reimagines her as a modern vixen in living color, with not one but two grotesquely severed male heads as her side. Applying watercolor to her flesh and bright paint to her lips (now worn off) and hair, Klinger emphasized her sensuality, though he left the gray marble cloak in its natural state. Her piercing amber eyes transfix her intended male admirers, threatening to make thinner next victims. Just as color vivifies dead matter, the living bust turns the viewers to stone. Pygmalion’s statue and Medusa become one.

Photographed in The Met Breuer (Now Closed) as Part of the 2018 Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Wilhelm Freddie, Sex-Paralysappeal

Sex Paralysappeal
Photos By Gail

In line with other surrealist artists’ engagements with the ready-made, Wilhelm Freddie’s objets-mannequins, such as Sex-Paralysappeal (1936, shown here as a 1961 artist’s copy) were scandalous in their day for their explicit references to sex. With a prominently painted penis, both the 1936 and 1961 versions of this work were confiscated by the Danish authorities soon after they were exhibited.

Sex Paralysappeal
Installation View

In Sex-Paralysappeal, Freddie transforms the classical bust into a surrealist object by treating it like a mannequin head and adorning it with various accessories. Placing the head inside an incomplete picture frame, he indicates the desire for the image to become dimensional, more lifelike. The work’s composite title vacillates between sex appeal and paralysis, amplifying the incongruity of its constituent elements.

Photographed in The Met Breuer as Part of the Exhibit, Like Life: Sculpture Color and The Body.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Michael Jackson and Bubbles
Photos By Gail

In imagining Michael Jackson (19582009) as a contemporary god of pop culture, Jeff Koons draws on long histories of representing mythic figures in sculpture. In Michael Jackson and and Bubbles (1988), the singer cradles his pet chimpanzee, mimicking a Pieta as perhaps a poignant evolutionary take on the composition of a mother and her child. Koons uses the techniques and conventions of traditional Meissen porcelain — a medium often associated with kitsch — on a grand scale, to underscore the mass appeal of his subject. Similarly, the pronounced use of gold signals excess to the point of banality, even as it reflects the brilliance of the megastar in the manner of an Egyptian pharaoh.

Michael Jackson and Bubbles

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body, at The Met Breuer, NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Duane Hanson, Housewife

Housewife
Photo By Gail

Sculptor Duane Hanson (1925 – 1996) often identified the figures in his artworks by their occupation or social roles, rather than their names. His photorealistic sculptural portraits — cast from life, painted and dressed in clothes corresponding to their roles — are thus transformed into ethnographic types. Their positions subtly critique their social realities as well as the context of their display. Hanson’s typically lower-and-middle class characters are empathetically portrayed in private or mundane moments, and their appearance is at once startlingly present, yet distinctly at odds in a gallery setting, where they are encountered almost voyeuristically, thus amplifying their isolation.

Housewife Detail

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Like Life: Sculpture, Color and The Body, at The Met Breuer, NYC.

Housewife