During a heavy rainstorm in Norfolk, England in 1893, an odd assortment of fish fell out of the sky. Thousands of cod, pollack and halibut showered the north side of the city in a concentrated area roughly the size of three modest cottages. After a spotted codfish crashed through a kitchen widow and struck young Claire Hargreaves’ head, knocking her unconscious, a curious thing happened.
On a cold October day, a young Victorian boy found a giant hand in the woods. A few of the elderly locals recognized the strange relic and told the boy a story about its unusual origins. About 100 years earlier, a farmer in the village woke up to discover he had been cursed with what was described as “troll hands.” It was quite unbelievable.
Continue reading The Discovery of The Hand By Travis Louis
Giorgio de Chirico’s description of New York as a “feverish and dreamy city” finds form in this painting from 1972, Metaphysical Interior in Manhattan. Everyday objects pile into a vaguely human shape within a distorted room that opens onto city skies. The artist founded Metaphysical Painting, a movement that trafficked in the unexpected and irrational.
Photographed in the New York Historical Socially in Manhattan.
Meret Oppenheim drew broadly on stories from the past, including Greco-Roman and medieval sources. She reimagined these narratives and the fates of their female protagonists in ways that reflected her views on the role of women in society. In Daphne and Apollo (1943), she reinterpreted the Greek myth of Apollo and Daphne, in which the wood nymph would rather hunt than become the god’s lover. Unable to escape him, she turns into a laurel tree. In Oppenheim’s version, the artist subjects Apollo, too, to a vegetal transformation, depicting him as a potato-like form, surrounded by flies.
Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
To create the spiraling, anthropomorphic figures seeing in Memnon and The Butterflies (1942), Kurt Seligmann traced patterns of cracked glass that he projected onto his canvas. He was inspired by the vast open terrain of the American Southwest and elements from European mythology to create what he described, as psychological, “cyclonic“ landscapes where “living being seem to detach themselves from torturous geological formations. A world in formation – not the heroic landscapes of prehistory, but rather a lyrical one.”
Continue reading Modern Art Monday Presents: Kurt Seligmann, Memnon and The Butterflies