Head Hunters

Outside the MFA.

“Over the past several decades, Antonio Lopez Garcia has become known as the finest Spanish painter of his generation. His intensely realistic paintings-ranging in subject from grimy bathroom sinks to expansive Madrid cityscapes-often take him years of meticulous work to complete. These sculptures, and several other recent works by Lopez, were inspired by the birth of his grandchildren. When his second grandchild, Carmen, was a few months old, Lopez began modeling two portraits of her head, one depicting her awake and the other asleep.”
Source: CultureNOW

The full sculpture of the Hunter, however, depicts him hunting a antelope – not heads!

“Paul Manship designed Indian and Pronghorn Antelope to span the length of the mantelpiece in his New York City apartment. He expertly used the negative space created by the separation of the hunter and his prey to capture the drama of the hunt. The work represents a compromise between historical artistic traditions and modern tendencies toward abstraction: the smooth planes and stylized renderings recall ancient Greek statues, while the arresting linear design and suggestion of movement reflect Manship’s own innovations. Small-scale statuettes such as these were popular for interior decoration, and Manship’s style was immediately accepted by the public.” Source: Art Institute Chicago

While this particular cast adorns the Fenway entrance lawn of the Museum of Fine Arts, a quick search on line shows a number of others being in permanent collections of various museums in America, such as The Met in New York, Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha Nebraska, Buffalo Center of the West Wyoming, The Art Institute of Chicago, Detroit Institute of Arts.

Antonio López García
Day & Night, 2008

Paul Manship
Indian Hunter, 1917, this cast 2002

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

May 2nd, 2017

The Garden of the Heart of Heaven

A few moments of contemplation, allowing ourselves to absorb the various works of art we had just witnessed across the Museum’s galleries – and the warmth that comes with sunshine after the rain.

And then came the bunnies… There is a bunny hiding in this picture; an adorable little troublemaker, disrupting the peace.

The Garden of the Heart of Heaven
Designed by Kinsaku Nakane of Kyoto, Japan
Dedicated October 24, 1988

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 2nd, 2017

Maenads in a Wood

”Gustave Doré (1832–1883), known primarily for his book illustrations, prints, and paintings, turned to sculpture late in his career. It was only in 1871 that he began to learn to model, and he exhibited his first sculpture at the Salon of 1877.
This plaster relief is the second version of a sculpture inspired by his 1879 painting of the Death of Orpheus. Doré used the same background and composition in both reliefs; however, here the dead Orpheus is absent and the female woodland figures are not armed. He has depicted a Bacchic dance of the Maenads, followers of Dionysus, god of the Orphic religion, who in a delirious frenzy killed Orpheus. This relief may have been intended to serve as an architectural decoration.”

Maenads in a Wood, 1879
Gustave Doré

The painting in reference and a study (the only copies I was able to trace on-line): 

Gustave Doré
Study for La mort d’Orphée, 1879
Charcoal and watercolor with gouache on thick card

Gustave Doré
La mort d’Orphée, 1885
Wash and gouache

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 2nd, 2017

Endlessly Repeating

”Josiah McElheny created this mirrored installation with a critical eye on histories of innovation, ornament and display that shaped European Modernism. He hand-blew each glass vessel based on sleek Italian, Austrian, Czech and Scandinavian designs from 1910-90. Then, the precisely positioned them within this polished cube to capture their endless repetition as infinite assembly lines of 20th century elegance.”

Endlessly fascinating.

Josiah McElheny
Endlessly Repeating Twentieth Century Modernism, 2007
Blown mirrored glass, mirrors, metal, wood and electric lighting

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 2nd, 2017

A gallery that always wanted to become a grand hall of a European palace

European Painting 1550–1700 and Hanoverian Silver hang on damask-covered walls in the William I. Koch Gallery, nothing less for a space designed to resemble a grand hall of a European palace. Looking at the round tables, I thought it must double up as an event space. And, while, it is difficult to appreciate the art individually (too much, too high, some maneuvering  necessary to avoid hitting the tables), seen as a whole everything seems to work. Besides… … it leads to the Monet gallery. The MFA boasts one of the largest collections of Claude Monet’s work outside France, with a whole gallery dedicated to the artist! Below, just two of the works I particularly enjoy – the first, for its virtuosity and splendid kimono and the second, for its hazy, dreamy mood: Claude Monet
La Japonaise (Camille Monet in Japanese Costume), 1876
Oil on canvas

Claude Monet
Rouen Cathedral, Façade, 1894
Oil on canvas

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

May 2nd, 2017

Horrors that Humanity never could’ve; should’ve; would’ve been through (in a parallel world)

Yet they happened in a not so distant past. Others are happening today. Such is the human nature, at once atrocious and compassionate, conniving and benevolent, with a remarkable capacity to adapt and re-write history at will.

Memory Unearthed” offered an extraordinarily rare glimpse of life inside the Lodz Ghetto during its existence from 1940 to 1944, through the lens of Polish Jewish photojournalist Henryk Ross (1910–1991).

Memory Unearthed
The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross (ran through  July 30, 2017)

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 2nd, 2017

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (Blessed are your dreams, my Child)

Sleep my child and peace attend thee,
All through the night
Guardian angels God will send thee,
All through the night – [Verses from a Welsh lullaby translated into English]Hans Memling
Christ Blessing, 1481
Oil on panel

England (London), ca. 1800-10
Oak and pine veneered with mahogany, ebonized pine, patinated bronze, gilded metal, modern upholstery This bed is among the most original pieces of English Regency furniture. Dominant in English interiors from about 1800 to 1830, the Regency style perpetuated the classical taste of the late 18th century but was more academic and archaeologically correct. This bed closely resembles furnishings designed by Thomas Hope – collector, connoisseur and a pivotal figure in the classical revival of Regency England- for one of his residences. Its architectural form and bronze mounts derive from ancient and Renaissance models. The greyhounds, however, are inspired by medieval tomb sculpture and exemplify the more romantic interpretation of historical sources characteristic of Hope’s influential furniture designs. The bed may have been used for resting – a day bed – or for sleeping. 

Sweet (day)dreams from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

May 2nd, 2017

[All Art Has Been Contemporary]


All Art Has Been Contemporary
Neon, transformer, clips; 1999, fabricated in 2011
Maurizio Nannucci

Darkness Made Visible, featuring:

Blue (1993), film
Derek Jarman

Spiderman (2015), video installation
Mark Bradford

The exhibition pairs Derek Jarman’s final feature-length film Blue (1993) with Mark Bradford’s video installation Spiderman (2015)—both riveting first-person accounts of the AIDS crisis that are distinctly subjective, lyrical, humorous, and dark. Through imageless projection and bold voiceovers, they both expose and defy the forces that have marginalized queer bodies since the 1980s.

Visual and emotional stimulation at the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

May 2nd, 2017

Imogen and Twinka

Judy Dater
Imogen and Twinka, 1974
Gelatin silver print

Judy Dater is one of a younger generation of female photographers who credited Cunningham with having had a major impact on their work and on them as individuals. In this image, Dater’s most famous portrait, we see a sprightly Imogen, wearing her usual long dark dress and peace signs on her camera straps, with her favourite model, Twinka. Each appraises the other across a massive tree trunk in Yosemite – one young and the other old, one clothed and the other nude, a study in contrasts with a generous dose of humour mixed in.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

May 2nd, 2017

The art of having your head in the clouds

Walking into the galleries of the Linde Family Wing for Contemporary Art, I could hardly believe we were still in the same Museum.  Tara Donovan
Untitled, 2003
Styrofoam cups, hot glue

This undulating lattice of styrofoam drinking cups with glowing hollows and pliable rims was made to expand into the architecture of this particular space. To discover how they react to light and space in transcendent ways, Donovan experiments with huge volumes of manufactured materials. Clustered with an almost viral repetition, the cups above assume forms that both evoke natural systems and seem to defy the laws of nature. ”My work is mimicking the ways of nature, not necessarily mimicking nature” she notes. Here, it might suggest cellular growth or even the density of molecules in rolling clouds. 

Jonathan Borofsky
I Dreamed I Could Fly, 2000
Acrylic on fiberglass and incandescent lamp

Borofsky’s work is driven by the ideals of equality and harmony. Made especially for the wide open spaces of the Linde Family Wing, these flying figures ”are able to rise up and look down upon the whole planet… [they] see and feel that human beings are all connected together and that we are all one – no divisions and no walls.” 

Always a pleasure to discover a work by Borofsky; you can see two more works we came across in earlier trips, in Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
May 2nd, 2017