Monday, 10 August 2015

Postcard from New York, 2: MoMA

Pablo Picasso, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907
 As far as I am concerned, the main event of a visit to MoMA was always going to be seeing Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon - I wasn't disappointed. It is an extraordinary painting: although  more than a century old it is still fresh. Familiarity has obviously blunted the shock that it provoked in 1907 but it is still startling and puzzling.

I was also delighted to find a small but focused exhibition devoted to Warhol: Campbell's Soup Cans and Other Works, 1953–1967. The 32 Soup Can canvases, first shown in 1962, are displayed in a single line around the gallery - arranged chronologically according to the date each variety was put on the market, from Tomato in 1897 to... unfortunately, I have forgotten what the last one was - possibly Beef Noodle? Some research needed!
Also included in the exhibition is Double Elvis (1963), Gold Marilyn Monroe (1962) and a full suite of Marilyn screenprints (1967) as well as a range of early commercial drawings. Great stuff.
Andy Warhol, installation view of  Campbell's Soup Cans, 1962
Andy Warhol, Double Elvis, 1963
Andy Warhol, Gold Marilyn Monroe, 1962
Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe 1967 - portfolio of 10 screenprints
Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe 1967 - portfolio of 10 screenprints - detail
The collection is wonderful - visiting was, in a way, like meeting old friends: so many artworks that I am familiar with in reproduction seen, at last, in the 'flesh'. There were a couple of disappointments - a thunder storm during my visit meant that the sculpture garden was closed ('health and safety'); but more seriously a significant chunk of the collection - principally Minimalism and Conceptual Art (my favourite bits) -  appeared not to be available to view; never mind, I got my fix elsewhere.
Below is my top ten - (apart from the Warhols and Picasso already mentioned above) - arranged alphabetically by artist:
André Derain, Bathers, 1907

George Grosz, The Poet Max Herrmann-Neisse, 1927

Alfredo Jaar, Lament of the Images, 2002 (NB this doesn't work as a reproduction - the blinding light has to be experienced.)
Jasper Johns, Flag, 1954-5
Sherrie Levine, Large Check, 1987 (detail)
Henri Matisse, The Piano Lesson, 1916
Barnett Newman, Vir Heroicus Sublimis, 1950-51
Pablo Picasso, Girl with a Mandolin (Fanny Tellier), Spring 1910
Robert Rauschenberg, Bed, 1955
Andy Warhol, Orange Car Crash Fourteen Times, 1963

No comments:

Post a Comment