Friday, June 14, 2013


Dearest Readers,
The Met is overwhelming. Dizzying. Too much art for me to absorb.
One select, targeted hour with floor plan in hand did the trick.

This visit I threaded my way through rooms of European decorative furnishings, Greek and Roman statuary, and Medieval paintings to an obscure elevator that took me to the roof garden and cafe.
Imran Qureshi-floor painting acrylic on stone
Pakistani miniaturist and installation artist Imran Qureshi is the guest artist this summer/fall on the rooftop space.
I was shocked to experience the flatness of this floor piece. I expected another huge intertwining sculpture, like the Roxy Paine stainless steel, rootish extravaganza “Maelstrom” from 2009 that crawled all over the roof.
Roxie Paine-Maelstrum, 2009
 Instead, the area was wide open, but not quiet. I had to draw my eyes down, away from the clear-day panorama of NYC, to a bloody splatter-painting of carnage, sprouting swirls of delicate foliage blooming from the gore.  
Imran Quereshi-detail of floor painting
Imran Quereshi-detail
I loved it. It was political and poetic with a miniaturist’s sensibility, bringing to America the terrorism rampant in Qureshi’s native Pakistan, while reminding me of our own terror attacks in Boston and our epidemic of mass shootings.  This space required some time to meditate on the clash of natural beauty, cruelty and hope.
Anna Mendieta-Untitled from the Sandwoman series1983
Right off the elevator, down to the first floor in a hallway, I found the small show of earthwork photos entitled “Land Marks”-mostly documentations of outdoor artist interventions using the body+an idea+the ground.  Mendieta above expresses her earthly feminism in sand. 
According to the wall text, Kiefer below believes there is no one theory for all. Here he draws himself under a blue bubble expiating for the WW2 sins of his German culture and relating his action to the motherland.
Anselm Kieffer-Everyone Stands Under His Own Dome of Heaven, 1970

Matthew Brandt-Mary's Lake, MT-C-Print with random color created from immersions in the lake water, 2012
Richard Long-County Cork, an ephemeral piece created by his own body walking repeatedly on the land, 1967
My own recent earthwork, “The Hole” was a similar attempt last summer to project the impermanent self within the ostensible permanence of the land–a desire in my case for immortality, but realizing my momentary place in time and space.

On the Mezzanine level I discovered a few modern and contemporary paintings from the Met’s own collection. Two similar abstract pieces thrilled me with their layering of stroke, paint and color. In the first case, Terry Winters' paint marks are red and exuberant like a dark sun burst.
Terry Winters-Light Source Directions, 1997
In the latter painting by Lethbridge, I imagine a cool, raucous, bird’s eye view of a tangle of tree branches covered in ice and snow. (Grandson Roman called them scribble pictures!)
Julian Lethbridge-Untitled, 2003-4
  Last stop, a small show of early abstractions from the Metropolitan’s collection of Paul Klee paintings, mostly on paper from the 1920’s. I was again transported to a singular environment, and an artist’s vision. The one-room exhibition was dimly lit in yellowish light. Each piece was a small world of the imagination–little treasures of the eye and mind, based on a trip he took to Hammamet in Tunisia.
Paul Klee-The Firmament Above the Temple

Paul Klee-Static-Dynamic Gradations

Paul Klee-Mural From the Temple of Longing

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