Wednesday, December 31, 2008

yesterday: the warmth of museums

yesterday i ventured down to the end of the island
to the george gustav heye center, national museum
of the american indian to see

identity by design: tradition, change and celebration in native women's dresses

and the
fritz scholder show
indian/not indian

scholder's figurative abstract paintings and sculpture,
vivid, powerful and moving
are on view in new york until may 2009 and in dc until august 2009

instrumental in turning the cliches that were "indian art"
before the 1960s end over end, scholder was a
charismatic and provocative figure who never intended
to create (or recreate) "indian art" but wanted to be taken
seriously without the modifier of his background before the word artist.

there's an introductory film that captures his passion and humor.

my next cultural stop was the museum of modern art for the show
artist's choice + vik muniz = rebus

a guest curated exhibit pulling 82 seemingly
arbitrary objects from the
museum's collections of photography,
sculpture, painting, drawing and design.
there are no labels to distract from appreciating the
objects and it's terrific fun discovering the threads that connect
them - by subject, texture, color, theme...

one of the more obvious examples...

William H. Johnson's delightful
tempera painting 'Blind Singer' next to

Charles Sheeler' silver gelatin print
'African Musical Instrument' beside

Pablo Picasso's
'Maquette for Guitar'

outside, the late afternoon light was seductive and irresistible.

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