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This second segment of this week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features art historian art historian and critic Karen Wilkin. Along with William Agee and Irving Sandler, Wilkin is the curator of “American Vanguards: Graham, Davis, Gorky, de Kooning and Their Circle, 1927-1942,” on view now at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. The exhibition presents the too-little-known Graham as the hub around which that generation of American modernists revolved. It’s chock-full of early paintings by Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning and David Smith as well, and reveals how much the second New York avant-garde looked at each other’s work — and not just at the latest and greatest from Europe.
To download the program directly, click here. To download or subscribe to The Modern Art Notes Podcast via iTunes, click here. To subscribe to The MAN Podcast’s RSS feed, click here. You can see images of artworks discussed on the program here.
Image: Willem de Kooning, Pink Landscape, c. 1938.
Just got back from the Kimbell and Amon Carter Museums.
I could live in the Kimbell. Seriously. When I picture heaven, it looks like the Kimbell (well, if the Kimbell was transported inside a Gothic Cathedral surrounded by a french poppy field next to the world’s biggest library (possibly inside some sort Gaudi-esque building) and my own little English cottage/Luna’s Tower/Thai bungalow house. Heaven headcannon? I think so!) The Amon Carter was ok. It was the first time I have been there actually. I’m sure it is incredibly unpatriotic of me, but I really didn’t care for it that much. (The Amon Carter Museum is American art only.) They had a watercolor exhibit open. There were a few pieces I found impressive and a lot of names I recognized from art history, which always makes me happy. There were magnifying glasses at the entrance so my mom and grandmother spent the whole time about 3 inches over the artworks, looking at the details. Something about that just bugs me. Art is meant to be viewed, not deconstructed. Or so the artist in me says anyway. It’s one thing to really examine an artwork to see how the artist made you feel something through the imagery and the way it was created, and another thing entirely to not even look at an artwork before you tear it to shreds. Not that the water color genre in that time period was especially intellectual… (Ok it kinda was, but only for some. Most just thought what the smarter people were doing was pretty. Damn me and my ridiculous compulsion to point out technicalities. It always undermines my points!) Oh, and I bought a pad of paper in the gift shop made of horse shit. Literally. Recycled horse shit paper. I find the oddest things to be cool…
The Kimbell was as lovely as ever, even though I wanted to strangle my grandmother for NOT SHUTTING UP. I was in one side of the gallery and could still hear her when she was on the other. But anyway, they moved things around since the last time I was there I think. Probably for the construction and stuff. More of their ancient art was on display, which was freakin awesome in my opinion. It is most likely the area I am going to study. I was drooling over an Egyptian death mask of a Roman when I overheard these two women talking about a bust of Marcus Aurelius and I nearly broke my eyeballs I rolled them so hard. One of the most famous leaders of the civilization that is the model for most of the modern world and they only knew him from the Gladiator. Seriously? I’m in high school and I know better. People are stupid. It was a lovely bust too.
They had a statue of Senemut on display that I am seriously in awe over (and not just because he is related (in a connected rather than familial way) to Hatshepsut, who should IMO be every girl’s hero. She was one of only seven women to rule Egypt. Now there is something to brag about! And she died a natural death too! Senemut was a close advisor of her’s and some say lover. I just gotta say that the artwork was gorgeous. Small, detailed and made of basalt. Hell of a combination.
There was also a statue of Venus that I took pictures of from every angle. Her head and arms are broken off (which is the norm for all ancient works), and she was crouched down. It was really cool. I’m contemplating doing an artwork based on it.
I guess when they moved stuff around they changed out large chunks of the collection on display. They took out the Caravaggio, which is really disappointing but it was probably for the exhibit that opens in October. I am so excited for that! If I get the chance, I want to go on the opening day. He was batshit crazy, in a completely homicidal way (which really just makes him more interesting…) but DAMN could he paint. They had a lot of Reynold’s stuff out, which I didn’t even know they owned. Kinda bugged me because I liked it. THOU SHALT NOT LIKE ROCOCO! Ok yeah, I liked it because of the technique but still! Coach Floyd would be ashamed lol. Speaking of Coach Floyd, they had a JMW Turner out, which I also didn’t know they had. I now completely understand his mancrush on him. I had liked him before, but seeing an artwork up close really changed things from just looking at a picture. It was one of those moments when things click in your head and you totally see why people go crazy over something. No wonder the impressionists loved him so much. (Although IMO he did a much better job than they did. Just sayin’.) They also had a work out (and I can’t for the life of me remember the title or the artist but I can see it perfectly in my head) that Coach Floyd and I bickered about. I said it was at the Kimbell and he said it wasn’t. Turns out I was right. Contemplating texting him to point it out, if I can remember the name… And ask if he knew the Turner piece was there. I am really going to miss starting my day off with his lectures. :/
They took out a lot of the post Post-Impressionist pieces (haha! There has to be a better way to say that…), which I am completely ok with. They had a different Cezanne out than they used to. Spent like five minutes letting my eyes play with that. He is absolutely my favorite Post-Imp. artist. I love how he worked with hot/cool colors and how they create depth. I could spend forever figuring out how he creates space like that. Yes I am aware that I am a complete nerd.
We ate lunch at the museum. Food was pretty good. My mom and grandma spent half the time wondering how they made the avocado soup, even after I told them that I had made it before and had the recipe some where. I got a book at the gift shop called Beneath the Sands of Egypt. It’s written by an archeologist about his digs in Egypt. He’s the one that found the lost mummy of Hatshepsut (although I seem to remember that they recently decided it wasn’t her after all. Gotta look that up). I’m already like a fourth of the way through it, it is that good. More and more it is look like I want to do field work rather than museum work.
I am exhausted. I went to bed around 4:30 last night and my mom woke me up around 9 to go to the museums. And I’m not complaining, that’s how much I love the Kimbell. Actually no, this is how much I love the Kimbell: I haven’t had coffee all day. That is true love right there. But at least now you know why this is so ramble-y. And there are probably a billion grammar mistakes. I can’t speak English well when I am tired. And it’s my native (and ok, only) tongue. Lol.
I might post the pictures I took later… Idk.