I’ve been in a bit of a rut, watching re-runs of Living Single (I have always loved Queen Latifah) and drinking Green Tea. I’ve also taken a liking to Yoga and consider myself on the path to “yoga-dom”. As you all know, I live eat and breathe art. Cliche, I know, but true nonetheless.
Today, I thought of exhibitions that I have seen this year and I would like to see again if given the chance.
Lucien Freud- The Modern Ft. Worth
What moved me about Freud’s work the most, hands down, were the eyes. Eyes never lie. The build up of textures reflect time, change and at times abstraction. There should be, if there are none, books over the eyes rendered in his paintings. He painted the reflections of light from nearby windows, shadows and liquid! The eyes alone, held viewers into place and had conversations with other portraits across the gallery. Freud was truly a painter. A photograph near the end of the exhibition by David Dawson, shows an old Freud, facing the viewer, as if facing a mirror, and applying shaving cream to his face with a paint brush. Like his paintings, his eyes reflect so much life and history. He was a true painter.
Glenn Ligon, AMERICA- The Modern Ft. Worth
Glenn Ligon’s mid-career retrospective was one of a kind. I’ll be honest though… When you love an artist’s work like I love Ligon’s… and you research it with deep interest, you read his books and all articles written… It spoils the work! It was as if I over-saturated myself with knowledge on all things Ligon! So much so that I was not as amazed I thought I would be, however that is not to say that I did not enjoy the exhibition. What I enjoyed the most about this “mid-career retrospective” was the retrospective! I saw early abstract paintings that “faded into a mass of other things just like them” and that is why he moved to text… leaving the brightly colored oil and acrylic paints behind for someone else to pick up. Thank God he did!
El Anatsui When I Last Wrote to You About Africa- The Blanton Museum of Art
El Anatsui is a quiet man. I’d be willing to guess, given my brief oh so brief, exchange with him, that he thinks alot but does not necessarily talk alot. He is a extremely nice and down to earth. Akua’s Surviving Children is a sad piece, but hopeful all at once. The viewer could literally smell the char of the wood and see the barnacles and mussels still attached. I read a story by Maya Angelou once, where she speaks on the first time she visited the Ivory Coast. She says that women in the marketplace gave her food and told her “welcome home”. Never having been there before, she assumed the women had confused her with someone else. The story goes, that when the slave traders came to their village, women ran into the woods with their children and some women beat their babies against trees and killed them (versus having them taken) while others ran to the nearest village. Those that ran and survived are believed to return one day and Maya Angelou was one of them….
Nick Cave: Hiding in Plain Sight- AMOA-Arthouse
Still on view, the soundsuits of Nick Cave are amazing! I’d seen his work over the summer and I could not get my fill of Nick Cave. The work put into the suits is endless and I appreciate work!As an artist, I want the work to be perfect on the first round. I want a masterpiece. Over the last year, every piece I’ve redone at least twice…or have big plans to redo… probably twice. I recently listened to a podcast from the Anderson Ranch Art Center that featured Nick Cave and I recommend it to all of you. Most Importantly, he performs in 2 of his suits, he also speaks on the wall pieces he has created and his online store (www.soundsuitshop.com) .
There Is No Archive In Which Nothing Gets Lost- MFAH Glassell School of Art
Curated by Sally Frater, the small video exhibition featured work from Wangechi Mutu, Lorna Simpson and a collaboration from Sonya Boyce and Ain Bailey. There is No Archive is a success due to the questions it enables a viewer to ask not the answers it forces the viewer to accept. It is in my opinion, that if you leave an exhibition without your ideas challenged or perhaps something learned, then the exhibition was not a success. Each artist enables the viewer to contemplate ideas of race, gender and class in our contemporary culture as well as in our history. For the last few years, especially with the inauguration of our first black president in 2008, the idea of a “Post Racial” society has quietly been circulating. Many argue that people no longer see race and race/ethnicity no longer matters however I find that hard to believe. Frater is aware of the “post racial society” conversation and created a small show that oh so simply proposes the question: On whose terms? When does race not play a part in one’s life? When does race play a part? On whose terms are these decisions made? And when are they accepted or ignored?
I wrote “TOP 5” But I kinda lied. There are several more exhibitions that are still ongoing that I am actually going to see again. Here are a few more, that moved me beyond words.
The Progress of Love- The Menil Collection
Henry Ossawa Tanner: Modern Spirit The Museum of Fine Arts Houston
Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art- The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Happy New Year!