Posts Tagged ‘museum of modern art’

Culture Vulture/Photo Diary: springtime in New York

April 8, 2018

The Spring Culture Season blossoms forth!

March 30God’s Own Country on DVD (I didn’t love it the way many others have — the central relationship seemed more schematic than plausible to me).

March 31Cabaret Luxe at Lot 45 in Bushwick, inspired by Weimar-era German club performance, with maitresse of ceremonies Dorothy Darker…

leather-lunged diva Dee Dee Vega backed by punk klezmer rock band Amor Obscur…

and burlesque performers Lewd Alfred Douglas…

Divina Gransparkle…

and Deity (pictured below with the entire cast).

April 1David Bowie Is at the Brooklyn Museum, fun immersive experience.

While we were there, we strolled through the ongoing exhibition “Life, Death, and Transformation in the Americas,” with its eerie kachina dolls and awesome thunderbird masks.

Afterwards Andy and Tansal and I had lunch at Kiwiana in Park Slope, which serves all New Zealand cuisine, including the irresistible dessert known as pavlova.

April 5Yerma at Park Avenue Armory, Lorca’s play adapted and directed by Simon Stone with a ferocious cast led by Billie Piper and Brendan Cowell (below, photo by Sara Krulwich for the New York Times) and a spectacular set designed by Lizzie Clachan.

April 6Wild Wild Country on Netflix, the riveting six-part documentary about how rural Oregon dealt with the sudden emergence of an Indian sex guru (Rajneesh, aka Osho) and his community of devotees in their midst.

April 7Isle of Dogs at Cinépolis in Chelsea — we loved it.

April 8 — Museum of Modern Art. Final day of the Club 57 show. Ann Magnuson put out the call for a closing day party, so the basement of MOMA thronged with senior citizens who once upon a time were the hippest and grooviest of East Village clubgoers, along with plenty of excited visitors too young to have seen the club back in the day.

This delightful cartoony Kenny Scharf painting (“Escaped in Time, I’m Pleased,” above) prepared me for the colorful figuration all over the Tarsila do Amaral retrospective, with its inquisitive-looking critters and its theme of anthropophagy.

And upstairs a rich, heady, comprehensive survey of rigorous conceptual artist Adrian Piper, with its witty dada performative moments (I loved the idea of the humming room, very Yoko Ono — and I love that a security guard stands by whose job it is to make sure you’re humming when you enter the room).


Culture Vulture: Robert Rauschenberg at MOMA

June 3, 2017

(click photos to enlarge)

Friends from London were visiting so I took them on a stroll through MOMA’s new show “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends.” We lingered over cappucinos and cookies in the cafe so closing time crept up on us before we’d even gotten halfway through the exhibition. I will go back again and again because few artworks I’ve ever seen in person make me as sick with joy as Rauschenberg’s combines, and this show has a whole bunch of them, some classics and some I’ve never seen before, like “Short Circuit.”

I love that the show revolves around Rauschenberg’s collaborations and friendships with fellow artists because they’re so central to his life as an artist. Check out this great photo he took of a young young Cy Twombly.

I’ve never been a big Jasper Johns fan, but I loved this piece, “Target with Four Faces,” especially knowing that the face is that of the late performance artist Rachel Rosenthal.

And then there’s just the whimsy of this little corner of the men’s restroom.


Culture Vulture: Jane Siberry and Pablo Picasso, together again

February 8, 2016

ulysses purse

Great double feature Saturday night. Andy and I saw Jane Siberry at Joe’s Pub — his first time seeing the deeply idiosyncratic Canadian singer-songwriter, my umpteenth since 1986 when I reviewed her show at the Bottom Line for the Village Voice. Not unusually, it was less a concert than a performance art piece with almost continuous spoken-word commentary that periodically blossomed into songs (part singing, part speaking), several of them from her latest album, Ulysses’ Purse. She surprised the gathered faithful by mentioning that this would be her last recording. Ever? Ever? Hard to believe. But now that she’s making her own records, paying all the costs for recording and marketing, I can imagine that the tediousness of all those details could wear a person out. The new album is lovely, her best in years, with gorgeous string arrangements (and a delicious cameo appearance by k.d. lang).

Afterwards, we headed to the Museum of Modern Art, which stayed open until midnight to accommodate last-minute visitors to the extra-good show of Picasso Sculptures, which closed on Sunday. I’d seen the show twice and really wanted Andy to see it. He was glad I nudged him about it. We enjoyed the festive energy of MOMA under these circumstances, in addition to the pleasures of the artwork. This time I paid special attention to Picasso’s endlessly inventive way of depicting not only eyes but also genitals.

2-6 picasso anatomy drawing2-6 picasso woman with child2-6 sheetmetal womanhead2-6 stone head

Culture Vulture/Photo diary: Picasso Sculpture at MOMA

November 8, 2015

(click photos to enlarge)

If you have an hour to kill in midtown between now and February 7, 2016, you could give yourself no better treat than to take a walk through the show of Picasso sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.
11-4 intro to picasso sculpture
The sculptures Picasso created are so free and fun to look at, so simple and so sophisticated at the same time. It makes sense that he was turned on by African and Oceanic work he saw at an ethnographic museum in Paris — many of these pieces remind me of the vivid masks and ritual objects you can see in the Michael Rockefeller collection at the Metropolitan Museum. I especially loved tracking the faces, which are so simple and varied and often comical.

11-4 head of a woman11-4 woman with leaves closeup11-4 vallauris ceramics vase bull owl11-4 standing figure with dots11-4 picasso goat skull and bottle
These drawings (part of a series called “An Anatomy”) reminded me of Roz Chast cartoons.

11-4 an anatomy series
I also had a look at the show by Lebanese multimedia artist Walid Raad, which has two parts, one of which occupies the museum’s central atrium (below) and is called “Scratching on things I could disavow.”

11-4 walid raad atrium11-4 walid raad wall collage11-4 blood drip walid raad
It’s an intriguing, complicated, dense, somewhat impenetrable Borgesian conceptual work involving fictionalized artifacts reflecting real contemporary events. I’m not sure it’s really possible to grasp the work without attending his lecture-demonstration “walkthroughs,” which occur many times in the course of the week. I’ll have to go back for one of those.

CULTURE VULTURE, part 1: Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band at MOMA

August 17, 2015

8.14.15 I’d never seen Yoko Ono in person, so when the email arrived from the Museum of Modern Art announcing that the Plastic Ono Band would perform two live shows (in conjunction with the retrospective of her artwork currently on exhibition), I bought tickets immediately. I guess I thought she would play with a rock band led by her son, Sean Lennon, and they would play some of her well-known songs (“Walking on Thin Ice,” “Kiss Kiss Kiss”). But no, this was an art performance from beginning to end. The intimate show took place in the smaller of MOMA’s two movie theaters, and while waiting for the performance to begin Yoko’s film Bottoms played on screen. I don’t mind looking at asses for half an hour – I rather like it, in fact, especially if they’re hairy male asses — but my friend Anu got a kick out of noticing audience members squirming in their seats and studying their smartphones to avoid watching the film.
ono bottoms
When Yoko took the stage, she seemed quite frail – she is 82 and tiny – and, backed by a trio (drums, guitar, and cello), she proceeded to do the kind of singing you or I might do if we were doing our best Yoko Ono imitation: shrill, wordless witchy cackling. She did that for a while until she ran out of steam and said, “Okay, that’s an introduction.” She alternated between reading earnest awkward poetry (“Listen to your heart! Respect your intuition! Make your manifestation!”) and improvising with the band (she would turn to the musicians, whom she never introduced, and say “Do more jazz now”), occasionally doing some stiff dancing in front of random films from her early years in Japan of children playing and passersby bowing and smiling. After 50 minutes it was abruptly, awkwardly over.

8-14 yoko at moma
As I indicated in my blog post about the retrospective, I admire Yoko Ono tremendously as a conceptual artist and as a force for peace and justice in the world, but it was hard to think of this as good music.

yoko setlist

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