Two recent art-centric articles in the New Yorker that deserve your attention: (1) The Met and the Now and (2) The Custodians: How the Whitney is Transforming the Art of Museum Conservation. Both discuss the lasting future of contemporary art in the ever-shifting landscape of the art world, the former in the context of the Metropolitan Museum’s contemporary art department and the plans for its growth, the latter in relation to Carol Mancusi-Ungaro’s efforts to bridge or link the Whitney’s conservation department to its new replications committee. Enjoy!
I’d like to apologize for the lack of MolaPola posts as of late. In November, I sustained a severe concussion, or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and am still suffering from the impact. In the past two months I have been unable to read and write for long periods of time, much less write for MolaPola. My last article, on Archibald Motley’s show at the Whitney, was a rather depressing and linguistically weak one for this reason. However, as my health continues to improve, I will be reviewing exhibitions more and more often, and hope to further my commitment to this site via interviews, extensive commentary on the art world through my twitter account (@molapola), links to articles, and features on cool happenings in the rich New York art scene. In the meantime, feel free to experience my most recent endeavor– the latest issue of RISE magazine, entitled “Noir Nights.”
Archibald Motley‘s works, now showing at the Whitney in Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, are perhaps the opposite of dark except in content manner. Does this seem counter-intuitive? Actually, what I mean to say is that Motley’s paintings are filled with a seemingly vibrant exuberance that seems to shout as if ordering the viewer to mentally acknowledge right then and there the history of the Harlem Renaissance, or rather that of the Jazz Age entirely, to his or her capacity. I couldn’t stand Motley’s painting style, it felt silly and kitschy and not at all consistent with what the Whitney tends to show, but kudos to the curators for stepping out of their “Postmodern and Contemporary art by white intellectuals or druggies that sells at Christie’s and Gagosian as brand-name or soon to be brand-name” bubble. Back to my previous point: Motley depicts scenes of happiness and joy, intimate gatherings and moments of tender silence, with a certain poignancy and grit that makes the paintings seem so average to the untrained, unaccustomed eye and yet there is something that continued to bother me about them until I eventually figured out what it is: a sense of tragic futility. (more…)