Month: February 2016

Mags this Month

During these frigid temperatures, one cannot help but desire to stay home, snuggling in bed with a cup of tea. Should you choose to take a break from binging on Netflix and social media, linked here are some of my favorite arts and culture articles from a slew of this month’s magazines. Enjoy!

Art in America 

“Keeping the Faith” is not just a Billy Joel song; it is also the title of Eleanor Heartney’s excellent review of two new tomes focusing on ties between the artistic and the sacred, beyond the Rothko Chapel. These include Charlene Spretnak’s The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art: Art History Reconsidered, 1800 to the Present, and Aaron Rosen’s Art + Religion in the 21st Century. Although Heartney’s article is only available in the print version of AiA, it is worth the $12 investment given the intriguing subject matter and the author’s superb writing. The AiA February issue features sculptor Stephen Westfall‘s excellent essay concerning the Joaquín Torres-Garcia survey at MoMA, as well. I had visited the Torres-Garcia show prior to reading Westfall’s article, and was thoroughly confused and disappointed. Westfall gives the reader a brisk but analytical summary of the artist’s work that is very much enlightening. Will prompt one’s desire to attend the exhibition (Joaquín Torres-Garcia: the Arcadian Modern), which unfortunately closed yesterday, although I recommend reading Westfall’s study, nonetheless.

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Mola Takes MoMA, pt. II

Above photograph by the author. Depicts a still from one of the artworks.

Museum of Modern Art exhibition Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015 showcases contemporary photography that directly or inadvertently addresses the question of what photography for artistic purposes is in our image-based, post-Internet reality. This show marks the 30th anniversary of the first “New Photography” series, which in 1985 served as a window into the image-making process of one-hundred different international photographers. In a similar vein, eighteen artists and one artist collective participated in Ocean of Images. The displayed works range from quirky to sinister to cerebral to tactile, and while not powerful in the same stirring way that serious fashion and landscape photography can be, they do communicate a sense of youthful exploration and exuberance, as if by experiencing the imagery the viewer is accompanying the photographer on his or her journey behind the lens. (more…)

Mola Takes MoMA, pt. I

Above photograph by the author. Depicts the Museum of Modern Art’s lobby from above.

Yesterday I paid a visit to two exhibitions at the MoMA, the first being Jackson Pollock: a Collection Survey, 1934-1954 and the second Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015, which will be covered in the next installment of this post.

The works in the Pollock show are drawn entirely from the museum’s collection, and span the twenty-odd years during which Pollock was a key figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement and New York art scene. Perhaps the greatest aspect of the exhibition is seeing Pollock’s unmistakable evolution as an artist, from creator of mythic, comic book-style etchings and violent, hypnotic paintings to inventor of the ‘drip’ technique that continues to challenge our understanding of the act of painting. (more…)

Artist of the Month: Joan Mitchell

The “Artist of the Month” series  is a new feature on MolaPola designed to expand my own knowledge of the art world and to share my findings with others. Posts can be found both on the MolaPola home-page and under the Artists I Love tab. First up, Joan Mitchell.

Artist of the Month (February)

Joan Mitchell

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Bracket (1989) from the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Copyright Estate of Joan Mitchell 2016.

Perhaps best known for her abstract paintings of trees, American artist Joan Mitchell has a masterful way with color and the brush that has elevated her to a status of prolificacy. When I first saw her work in this exhibition at Cheim & Reid, I was left thoroughly impressed. See this bio of Mitchell (by Artsy) below:

In 1950s New York, Joan Mitchell was a lively, argumentative member of the famed Cedar Bar crowd, alongside Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, and other notable first- and second-generation Abstract-Expressionist painters. Based on landscape imagery and flowers, her large-scale paintings investigate the potential of big, aggressive brushstrokes and vivid color to convey emotion. “I try to eliminate clichés, extraneous material,” she once said. “I try to make it exact. My painting is not an allegory or a story. It is more like a poem.” Mitchell, who moved to France in 1959, has had numerous museum exhibitions, and examples of her work hang in nearly all the important public collections of modern art.

To find out more about the artist, check out the very informative Joan Mitchell Foundation website here.