Tag Archive | Modern Art Monday

Modern Art Monday Presents: Count No Count by Ross Bleckner

Count No Count by Ross Bleckner
Photo By Gail

Ross Bleckner’s Count No Count (1989) is one of a series of memento mori paintings that the artist began to make in the mid-1980s. The suggestion of flickering lights in the work serves as a reminder to viewers of their own mortality, and for Bleckner — an AIDS activist — of the many lives lost to the AIDS epidemic. Bleckner engages both the formal and metaphorical qualities of light, yielding a work that shifts between abstraction and symbolic representation. To achieve the appearance of light within a darkened void, the artist blended wax into oil paint, creating a luminous surface that conveys what he describes as “this almost continual light that comes from inside.”

Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.

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Modern Art Monday Presents: Sextant in Dogtown by David Salle

Sextant in Dogtown
Photo By Gail

David Salle’s paintings juxtapose images from a variety of sources to startling and often provocative effect. In  Sextant in Dogtown (1987) Salle arranges disparate elements within a grid and in a manner evoking film montage, while combing a pastiche of painterly styles and subjects. Here, the act of seeing — or not seeing– becomes a subject in itself. A half-dressed woman, lifted from the artist’s own photography, is shown from different vantage points, her face always obscured. Above her, a cartographer uses an old-fashioned measuring device known as a “sextant.” Confronted with these disjunctive images and with no evident narrative, we are ultimately left to forge connections on our own.

While Salle’s work is frequently associated with the resurgence of figurative paintings in the 1980s, it is also linked closely to that of the Pictures Generation — artists who employed appropriation to explore the relationship between image and consumption.

Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Henri Rousseau, The Football Players

The Football Players
Photo By Gail

A toll clerk by profession, Henri Rousseau only began to paint seriously in his forties. Critics lambasted the untrained artist’s unsentimental images of faraway places (he never traveled outside of France), yet the Parisian avant-garde celebrated his unique style. Executed only two years before he died a pauper, The Football Players (1908) illustrates Rousseau’s quirky attempts to depict modern times with a new sport, rugby. The active, albeit stylized athletes present a rare exception from Rousseau’s largely static compositions.

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday: Robert Delaunay, Window on the City No. 3

Window on the City No 3
Photo By Gail

Window on the City No 3 (1912) belongs to Robert Delaunay’s series City (La Ville, 1909-11) which helped establish his reputation as a leading avant-garde artist. The painting also marks a fundamental transition in the artist’s oeuvre: while in earlier paintings light was a device used to break up objects, in this work light becomes the subject itself. The patchwork texture, common to his paintings, is transformed into a consistent pattern of triangles and rectangles. A new range of brilliant colors explodes on the canvas surface. Interestingly, the reverse of this painting bears fragments of Carousel of Pigs (1906), which was once thought lost. This unfinished work is characteristic of Delaunay’s previous exploration of Neo-impressionism and includes renderings of people and flowers broken down into brilliant colors, reveling the different ways in which, in painting, light visually constructs all objects.

Photographed in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Rudolf Bauer, Invention (Composition 31)

Invention (Composition 31)
Photo By Gail

By the late 1920s, Rudolf Bauer (1889 – 1953) had replaced the lively and organic symphony of shapes that he had developed in his earlier work with a more balanced aesthetic. Invention (Composition 31) (1933)  epitomizes this trend and features flat geometries tightly gravitating toward a dark center, a hazy black shape perhaps symbolizing the ultimate void. Also around this time, museum founder Solomon R. Guggenheim became acquainted with the artist through Bauer’s former companion, Hilla Rebay. Not only was Bauer’s work amassed in depth, but he also played an integral role as Guggenheim’s European agent in the first decade that Guggenheim spent forming his modern art collection.  Invention (Composition 31) was reproduced on the cover of the catalogue Art of Tomorrow, which accompanied the opening exhibition of the Guggenheim Museum’s Non-Objective Painting, New York in June 1939.

Installation View
Installation View

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Modern Art Monday: Kathe Burkhart, Prick, From the Liz Taylor Series (Suddenly Last Summer)

Prick
Photo By Gail

Kathe Burkhart’s Prick: From the Liz Taylor Series (Suddenly Last Summer) (1987) is based on a scene from the 1959 film Suddenly Last Summer, starring Elizabeth Taylor. The artist has amassed an extensive archive of film stills of Taylor, which she uses for an ongoing series based on the actress’s image — works she sees as self-portraits related to her own life through the choice of image and text. For Burkhart, Taylor represents an important and iconic early feminist:

Liz Taylor as an actress was often gender nonconforming, and unlike Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and other Hollywood victims, she survived.

Photographed as Part of Fast Forward: Painting From The 1980s at the Whitney Museum of Americana Art, on Exhibit Through May 14th, 2017.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Amedeo Modigliani, Jeanne Hébuterne with Yellow Sweater

Jeanne Hebuterne with Yellow Sweater
Photo By Gail

Amedeo Modigliani (1884 – 1920) met Jeanne Hébuterne in 1917, when she was 19 and a student in Paris. That same year, they moved into a studio and remained together until their deaths in 1920 (Hébuterne committed suicide the day after Modigliani died of tuberculosis). Hébuterne was the subject of more than 20 portraits that embody the artist’s signature depiction: a dramatically elongated figure with almond-shaped eyes and sensual but firmly closed lips. Hébuterne looks straight ahead, but her eyes are empty, as if caught in a reverie. African masks and early Sienese masters, as well as the concurrent styles of Constantin Brancusi and Pablo Picasso, influenced Modigliani’s work.

Jeanne Hébuterne with Yellow Sweater (1919) was photographed as part of the exhibit, Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in NYC.