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14.3.06

Eeny, Meeny, Miney - MoMA

It was a tough choice: go to the Scope Art Fair or see Munch at MoMA. From what I’ve heard and read on the blogs it was a toss. With only two days in NYC to see as much as possible, I went for Munch and the new print exhibit, The Compulsive Line: Etching 1900 to Now. No looking back, I made my choice.

One of the best results from the renovation the Modern went through is the expansion of the print and drawing exhibition space. This show would not have been possible before: etching is alive and well. A standout is Kiki Smith's, Pool of Tears 2 (after Lewis Carroll), shown above, a 50” x 74” etching, aquatint, dry point, with watercolor, it’s great. Ah, to work with a printer.

If all you know of Munch’s work is The Scream, then you may be disappointed: it’s still missing. Otherwise everything else in the exhibit, Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul, is the scream in progress.

Edvard Munch, Dagny Juel PrzybyszewskaIn his career from 1880 to 1944, Munch was highly influenced by his contemporaries Ensor, Cézanne, Bonnard, and even his portrait work has a feel of John Singer Sargent, evidenced in the painting of Dagny Juel Przybyszewska (rolls off your tongue), shown right.

My initial thought about this collection of work was that Munch was a very serious dude, kind of a Bonnard in need of Prozac. Even his composition Dance of Life is composed of very unhealthy-looking dance partners. Although not a great painter, Munch has his moments of glory. To see so many works together -- The Storm, Angst, Despair, Ashes, a ghoulish Vampire -- the progression to the Scream makes perfect sense.

The best in this show for me are the prints and drawings. The Brooch, Eva Mudocci, a lithograph in the MoMA collection, is all lust and beautiful, as is the haunting Kiss III woodcut, and his Madonna, gorgeous! I was reminded of the Van Gogh drawing exhibit last year at the Met. It may be that we so seldom see the works on paper that they seem fresh, more exciting than the paintings.

Also on the 4th floor is On-Site: New Architecture in Spain, featuring 35 projects in design or under construction, including several stunning architectural models. Relaxation Park, by Toyo Ito Associates, shown below, with its organic spiraling sea shell structure, blending perfectly with its natural surroundings was my favorite.


I’m jealous! Are we keeping up with the progressive building design that’s happening throughout Europe and the rest of the world for that matter? I’m not so sure. Take the boom in airport construction in the U.S. Every airport is boring and every one looks the same. Innovation, please!

Flickr pictures here.

2 comments:

Margarita said...

“Although not a great painter...”

I disagree with you on this, Mark. Edvard Munch was a great painter. In fact, he is considered as one the most significant influences on the development of German and Central European expressionism. (He was just an unhappy man with "his moments of glory").

As for the U.S. airports, after 9/11 personally I prefer 'safe' than 'pretty'. To have both will be too expensive for American taxpayers.

Mark said...

We'll disagree on both couts Margarita. I believe Euro airports are or have been safer than US airports for many years and many are visually exciting. Good design dosen't mean more expensive or less safe.