Furry Encounters of the Surreal Kind @ MoMA [permanent collection, part 3]

By Meret Oppenheim.

Another perfectly unusable, utterly memorable object. Because one can always trust the Swiss to strike a balance between the simplicity of Surrealism and the surreal Simplicity.

Object, 1936. Fur-covered cup, saucer and spoon || Meret Oppenheim

<<It began with a joke over lunch. In 1936, Meret Oppenheim was at a Paris café with Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso, who noticed the fur-lined, polished metal bracelet she was wearing and joked that anything could be covered with fur. “Even this cup and saucer,” Oppenheim replied and, carrying the merriment further, called out, “Waiter, a little more fur!” Her devilish imagination duly sparked, the artist went to a department store not long after this meal, bought a white teacup, saucer, and spoon, wrapped them in the speckled tan fur of a Chinese gazelle, and titled this ensemble Object. In doing so, she transformed items traditionally associated with decorum and feminine refinement into a confounding Surrealist sculpture. Object exemplifies the poet and founder of Surrealism André Breton’s argument that mundane things presented in unexpected ways had the power to challenge reason, to urge the inhibited and uninitiated (that is, the rest of society) to connect to their subconscious—whether they were ready for it or, more likely, not.>>

MoMA, views from the permanent collection.

January 30th, 2017

Phallucinations and Prickly Sensations @ MoMA… [permanent collection, part 2]

Artistic interventions by Yayoi Kusama and Lucas Samaras on everyday objects rendering them unusable, thereby transforming them into memorable works of art.

Accumulation No. 1, 1962. Sewn stuffed fabric, paint and chair fringe || Yayoi Kusama

<<To make ”Accumulation No. 1”, her earliest sculpture, Kusama covered an armchair with stuffed and painted phallic protrusions. She hand-sewed each of these elements, later explaining, ”I make them and make them and keep on making them, until I bury myself in the process. I call this obliteration.” When she first exhibited this work, critics were shocked by the humorous, sexualized transformation of an ordinary domestic object. Since then, over the course of her fifty-year career, Kusama has created ”accumulations” of various materials on furniture, domestic objects, clothing and even room-sized environments.>>

Book 4, 1962. Book with pins, table knife, scissors, razor blade, metal foil, piece of glass and plastic rod || Lucas Samaras

<<”Book 4” is a multifaceted object and a miniature world in itself. Although it includes eight fictional narratives written by the artist and surprises such as pop-ups, pockets, interlocking layers, foldouts and hidden pamphlets, it is not a storybook. Encrusted with needles and shards of glass in addition to brightly coloured beads and pieces of mirror, it is difficult, if not dangerous, to handle – the better, perhaps, to guard the secrets that it might contain.>>

Structure

MoMA, views from the permanent collection.

January 30th, 2017