Wednesday, August 4, 2010

SFMOMA's 75th Anniversary Show

SFMOMA is celebrating its 75th anniversary. My visit to the 75th Anniversary Show confirmed my impression of this important yet provincial institute.

SFMOMA has accumulated a relatively impressive body of works from many important artists but the depth is rather shallow. The main draw to the locals in this anniversary show mostly lie on their relatively unknown collections, such as a semi-abstract Pollock and a very early Picasso. Interesting works by Max Ernst, Paul Klee to Elmer Bischoff and Eva Hesse were included as well.

I love The Window by Rufino Tamayo below. The handing of the paint is masterly and the atmosphere was economically created. The pistol on the window sill added several layers of emotions.

The Window, 1932, Oil on canvas, Rufino Tamayo 1899-1991

This piece of Picasso is quite whimsical and can be mistaken for a Matisse or a Paul Klee. Rather too decorative for my taste but is interesting to I'm still glad to learn that aspect of the Spanish master.

La Cruche fleurie (Jug of flowers), 1937, Pablo Picasso 1881-1973

I haven't gotten much chance to see a Max Ernst and was delighted to encounter the La famille nombreuse (The Numerous Family). The twisted world can be applied to nowadays easily. The misery of human kind is timeless and universal.

La famille nombreuse (The Numerous Family), 1926, Max Ernst 1891-1976

A dozen of small formatted Paul Klee from the Djerassi Collection were included and many of them are very beautiful indeed:

Mazzaró, 1924, Gouache and watercolor on paper mounted on board // 75th Anniversary Show, SFMOMA _6717
Mazzaró, 1924, Gouache and watercolor on paper mounted on board, Paul Klee 1879-1940

Rotes Haus (Red House), 1929, oil on canvas mounted on cardboard, Paul Klee 1879-1940

Pferd und Mann (Horse and Man), 1925, Oil transfer, ink, and watercolor on paper mounted on board, Paul Klee 1879-1940

A painting by Clyfford Still almost constituted a companion piece the the aforementioned Max Ernst.

Clyfford Still 1904-1980

I usually don't care much for geometrical pattern play. But the piece by Robert Motherwell has much more to offer and the color palette was quick subtle and delicious. I love it very much.

Untitled (Figuration), 1948, Oil and sand on Masonite, Robert Motherwell 1915-1991

Jackson Pollock was represented by this semi-abstract work. It has a very rich palette which is quick different from what he was best known for. Yet, the universally accepted mastery of his later period didn't take of the luster of this earlier one.

Guardians of the Secret, 1943, Oil on canvas, Jackson Pollock, 1912-1956

Elmer Bischoff provided us another rich painting. The vibrant and rich red colors were literally dancing in front of my eyes. However, the dance is not the kind of joyous expression. It was sliced and smudged by many bold and intrusive strokes. A world has gone mad again.

Untitled, 1948, Oil on canvas, Elmer Bischoff 1916-1991

Coming out of Germanic gloom, we were comforted by idyllic seaside picture of The Bathers by David Park. The high view point, stylized figures and beautifully contrasted color blocks elevated this painting above hidden eroticism or pictorial pleasantry.

Bathers, 1954, Oil on canvas, David Park 1911-1960

More stylized is the abstract sculpture by Eva Hesse. It is orderly yet free. It contains a universe. Dignified and sober. All Apollonian. Sans Dionysian?

Sans II, 1968, Fiberglass and polyester resin, Eva Hesse, 1936-1970

This is a very interesting survey of SFMOMA's endeavors over seventy-five years. With the addition of the amazing Fisher Collection, SFMOMA is poise to the a heavy weight amongst contemporary art museums.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the info. It sounds pretty user friendly. I guess I’ll pick one up for fun. thank u

    Paul Klee Paintings