Sunday, September 30, 2007

Good Tunes

Last year I stumbled onto the chance to see a live performance of Thievery Corporation, which until then had been unknown to me. Their music immediately entranced me and I went out the next day to buy their last CD, Versions. It has been my favorite CD since then and I play it almost every day without getting tired of it. Highly recommended!
I can't wait for their next CD to come out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lost Skills

In the pictures below are some Roman artifacts from the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. There is a certain energy and intellectually stimulating liveliness in these fragments, be it the tormented expression of a Herakles, the flow of the robe and subtly inviting body language of a decapitated statue, the introspective gaze of the Emperor Caligula, the innocent pose of an aristocratic youth, the beautiful anatomy of a Centaur's torso, ....

There is an almost surreal beauty to a lot of these sculpture fragments that survived total destruction at the fall of the Roman Empire. One can only wonder how much and what we are missing.

The artists of the Roman Empire had developed unsurpassed skills, borrowed from the Greeks and adding to what they learned from them, leaving what must have been an enormously rich legacy, until Christianity made an end to it, blatantly destroyed whatever it could, and plunged us in the Dark Ages. Until our time, we haven't recovered yet.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Not So Dark

One of my paintings is the focal point of the decor of the master bedroom of a featured home in the Summer 2007 issue of Beautiful Homes - a Better Homes and Gardens Publication. It is is a perfect example of how a painting of a stormy sky can add life, color and visual interest to a well decorated room without a hint of depressiveness or threat, or without disturbing the peacefulness of a bedroom.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mother Boards

Looking down from the observation dack high on the Empire State Building, the grid of the streets and tops of the surrounding buildings reminded me most of the electronic boards in my computer.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Trend Setter Or Follower?

Pablo Picasso has never held much of my admiration. There are a few of his works here and there that I like, such as the one directly below. Most of his work however is in my opinion vastly overrated. He had a tendency to jump from one style to another, adopting whatever the latest fad of the day was and claiming it as his own. There is nothing wrong with that in itself, but there are numerous artists that were much better at it and never made it to the spotlight like Picasso did. His paintings are OK but they certainly are not outstanding enough to deserve all the hype that surrounds his signature.

It is interesting comparing the following three pairs of paintings. The odd numbered ones are each by artists who became known for the style they worked in. The even numbered paintings are by Picasso.

1. Kasimir Malevich Reservist Of The First Division

2. Pablo Picasso Green Still Life

3. Juan Gris Guitar And Glasses

4. Pablo Picasso Student With A Pipe

5. George Braque Road Near L'Estaque

6. Pablo Picasso Landscape

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Opposite End

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park, NYC, is another temple in this great city. Opposite to the adoration of crude commercialism at Times Square, this temple is dedicated to the accomplishments of the human race in its pursuit of timeless beauty and true quality in the visual and decorative arts. We spent 6 hours there until our feet were screaming of fatigue and we could not absorb anything more; and haven't still seen half of the displayed collections. It is a gigantic warehouse, filled to the brim with art of all ages and cultures; truly a source of inspiration. We started this culturally enriching tour with a very early lunch at the museum's cafetaria and ended it appropriately in style with a High Tea at the ground floor restaurant.

A Contrast

One evening we went to Times Square... the temple of American wastefulness. A chaotic farce of uncountable people and traffic engulfed by enormous illuminated billboards, smothering the surrounding buildings like poisonous parasites. Blaring useless advertising in such pretentious multitude and scale that it all turns into a psychedelic blur - a cocaine party staged by the big corporations. It's a moving, constantly changing combination of art installation, performing art, commercialism, American culture.... A must see, even as once is plenty enough. And I can't imagine being there on a New Year's Eve!

I returned to the hotel feeling mentally indigested, heavy with sensory overload and somewhat sad. I look at this as an ultimate public display of the decadence and greed of our times - a forebode of the dooming demise of Western Civilization?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Massive Curves

It was a real treat to see Richard Serra's monumental sculptures at the MoMA. I had seen a piece by him earlier this year at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, TX (see Nasher Garden of August 7, 2007) and was quite impressed by the scale and impact of his work. The enormous solid steel plates undulate back and forth at different curved degrees, yet the top line remains consistently horizontal.
Below are pictures of parts of two of his pieces exhibited in the courtyard of the MoMA, while the largest sculptures were on view inside the museum, on the second floor! How did they fit them in there!?

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Broken Obelisk

At the MoMA it was impossible to take an unobstructed picture of Barnett Newman's intriguing Broken Obelisk. So I moved around it a little bit until the voluminous rounded form of the man in the white shirt created a perfect counterbalance in this photo. I doubt he was a New Yorker because I have seldom seen such a concentration of fit people anywhere in the US. Walking is the number one mode for getting around and I was impressed by the number of gyms.
But to go back to the sculpture:
Barnett Newman was one of the most influential New York abstract expressionists. Like his friend Mark Rothko, he was beset by profound religious and philosophical concerns with which he struggled throughout his life to translate into visual form. Barnett Newman died in 1970.
This Broken Obelisk is one of three in existence, the second sited in front of the Rothko Chapel in Houston, TX, the third in the quadrangle of the University of Washington, Seattle. It is 26 feet high and made of cor–ten steel. It consists of a square base plate beneath a four–sided pyramid whose tip meets and supports the upended broken obelisk. The two tips have exactly the same angle (53 degrees, borrowed from the Egyptian pyramids which had long fascinated the artist) so that their juncture forms a perfect “x.”


New York City inspires. Despite an often badly stereotyped reputation, New Yorkers deserve at least one major credit: they possess an unequaled level of cultural sophistication among Americans. My visit to the Museum of Modern Art clearly illustrates this observation. The collections at the museum are incredible. It is shockingly full of world-famous masterpieces, one after the other after the other. These works are invariably in all the publications about modern art because of their importance in quality and groundbreaking invention.

I was at the museum on a Friday afternoon, and it was packed with people. People were lining up in four rows to view the Van Gogh's, I stood waiting for my turn to get in front of the Gustav Klimt's. I was constantly shifting my focus from the art treasures on the walls to the show of people filling the halls and could't decide which was more interesting. In Texas it would take a major football game to attract such a crowd, in New York, as many people simply enjoy good art. Bravo!