Tuesday, December 20, 2016
I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Broad Museum in Los Angeles shortly after it opened its doors. It was the manifestation of the mind-boggling concentration of wealth in this country; it also argued for the continuation of patronage system even in our era, and more favorably, the vital importance of educating supremely wealthy patrons, the eventually arbiters of fine art.
The Broad Museum truly impressed visitors with its glittering contemporary art collections. My favorite was Untitled [New York City] (1953) by Cy Twombly. This 1953 piece, in contrast to Twombly's usual repetitive cursive inscriptions, mimicking chalk on green blackboard, was more painterly, but was just as hypnotic, largely due to the numerous thin black lines crisscrossing over three three "pillars", which dominated the pale gray/white canvas. Those heavily outlined pillars were encircled with horizontal rings of various sizes, angles and heights, and those rings enmeshed with aforementioned thin wires, thus added texture and even mystery to the painting, so as some drippings over those pillars. Despite the limitation of colors and the similarity of shapes, those pillars and rings were not monotonous, due to some obvious variations — the first pillar was encircled by an additional ring plus an additional heavy vertical line drawn down from the lower ring, the middle one had a blunter tip, while and last one had a sharply angled tip. These pillars were also unevenly spaced and angled, and such unevenness helped to create some sense of movement, imbalances, and dynamics. Finally, those pillars did resemble some wounded and bleeding fingers, and this was just my own perception.
Untitled [New York City], 1953, Cy Twombly
My second favorite was Falle (Trap) (2001) by Neo Rauch, a German artist hailed from Leipzig. This painting was also somewhat an departure — instead of the artist's typical combusting array of saturated colors, Falle was essentially a bi-tonal piece, dominated by pale yellow background and some large patches in deep navy blue, modulated by a few small thin stretches of bright green over some pipes and hoses, and a cartoon callout. The objects of this painting was a seemingly daily routine — a well dressed and groomed man holding something like a deformed trampoline, with two or thee small dogs or cats either pulling the trampoline or feeding off it; a woman leaning over away from the viewer, at the point of tipping over metal rail, towards a casually dressed man, who was holding a pole as if rowing, though he was on solid ground, or it seemed. A heart-shaped deep blue object hovered in the sky, with a long green tube attached to it, like an aircraft readying to suck up more petroleum. Everything we saw was ambiguous in situation or intention, and was to pin down. Perhaps, that comfortable suburbian life was the trap. In the subject matter, this painting was consistent with his oeuvres — some seemingly mundane setting and activities in nondescript suburbia, actually fostered something alienating, disturbing and even sinister.
Falle (Trap), 2001, Neo Rauch
My Favorite Museum Collection Series
>> My Favorite Museum Collection Series 157: My Favorite Paintings at Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
<< My Favorite Museum Collection Series 155: My Favorite Paintings at Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles
List of My Favorite Artworks in the Museums I've Visited
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