A More Open Approach for the @sfmoma Expansion, Designed by @snohetta
To see more photos from the new SFMoMA, follow @sfmoma and @snohetta on Instagram.
The expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (@sfmoma) includes a second entrance and soaring atriums — light-filled and welcoming places where visitors can spend time for free and view art even if they’re not planning a full museum visit. “It’s a way for the museum to say that this is a new gallery, a new type of work, with a new mission to bring people inside,” says Jon McNeal, the project architect at Snøhetta (@snohetta), the firm that designed the expansion.
The elements in the museum that Jon expects will be photographed the most include the entryways, the dynamic new façade of the building and — perhaps surprisingly — the restrooms. “We designed them to be a visual reset for your eyes,” says Jon, describing facilities that relate to the artwork on each floor and are bathed in the same bright color from floor to ceiling, whether magenta or fire-engine red or bright green. “It’s a clear punctuation mark for your visit,” he says. “When you go back to the gallery, it’s as if you’re entering it for the first time.”
No Future / No Past: “Tomorrow” Turns Towards the Present
Anna Valdez, Laptop with Landscape, 2014
Though it may only have ever been an illusion, the hermetically-sealed white cube once proved a singularly-authoritative curator. Temporalities traced lineages through its empty space, an art-world riff on the adage that past performance predicts future success. Even after legions of “outsider artists” began to expand the traditional art-space, the gallery continued to offer a singular site in which to consider art, outside of the entropy of time, paradoxically detached from and enmeshed in its histories.
It fell to the iPhone to tear these fantasies apart. No single work of institutional critique, neither a Michael Asher nor a Rirkrit Tiravanija, could so wholly destabilize the premise of the gallery as an internet connection. It is not only that creation now happens continuously throughout the showing of a work, or that that creation is democratized, or that it can occur at the hands of third-parties who have never once stepped foot in the gallery. It is that the internet is better at playing the gallery than the gallery is, that it offers us all possible futurities, founded on every conceivable point of reference, simultaneously.
How then does an exhibition take the internet as its subject matter and, further, elevate its artists over the multitude of content-creators we encounter in the digital age? “Tomorrow”, the in-quotations title of Hashimoto Contemporary’s new group painting show, tackles these dual conceits with a certain irony. In the same breath, we consider the manner in which the digital world increasingly compresses the timescale of lived experience into a “forever-present”—an aesthetic of the sleep mode, our constant half-awareness of all things, always—alongside the young artists who play to the art-world’s foundational entrancement with the avant-garde.
While at first glance the show may evoke memories of Forever Now, the Museum of Modern Art’s widely-panned contemporary painting survey that opened nearly a year prior, closer inspection reveals a crucial difference: curator Jessica Ross’ aims, though unstated, succeed on precisely the same grounds on which Laura Hoptman’s (curator of the MOMA show) failed. In Hoptman’s introduction, she elaborated a theme of atemporality, the “new and strange state of the world in which, courtesy of the Internet, all eras seem to exist at once.”
Where Hoptman followed that premise to exhibit inarticulate works whose meanings decayed rapidly in the now-unsealed museum space, Ross delivers works that move fluidly into and out of the digital realm. Hoptman’s determination to show Art failed in a grand, Modernist sense—the loss of the thesis; in effecting a more rhizomatic survey, Ross apprehends a multitude of stories without the assumed burden of assembling a narrative.
Though the paintings in Ross’ show vary widely, engaging with repetition and patterning, analogue accumulations and digital artifacts, the space between reality and the rendering of the computer screen, they carry forward a common conceptual through line. It is an opposition to definition, the paradox of circumscribing the infinite, that lends the digital world its depth as a sociological and artistic concern, and, in its breadth, “Tomorrow” develops itself as that world’s appropriate analogue.
Anna Valdez’s two paintings offer a particularly engaging introduction to these themes. Stack depicts eight art books stacked atop one another in a domestic scene, covers obscured but for the top book. That book features a crop of Paul Gauguin’s Spirit of the Dead Watching; the leftmost half, including the spirit, is omitted, leaving the viewer to take up the absent gaze of the reclining woman and occupy the (abandoned) phantasmic space of consumption. Gauguin once commented that his painting could either depict the spirit imagining or being imagined: viewing Valdez’s work, the viewer wonders if he creates the world through watching or if it is through watching that he himself is created.
Valdez encourages both claims, empowering us as authors as well as viewers. Read together, the books present an encyclopedia of indexicality, references made inaccessible. As we read the titles and recognize the names of artists (which Valdez leaves legible, even as other identifying ephemera on the spines devolve into marks), we access the unknowable complexity of our minds, adorning the names with images and details they have accrued through our particular experiences. Resting on a tree stump, the stack executes a further trick: where the leaves of the tree might have sprouted, we find the exotic floral print of Valdez’s facsimile of Gauguin’s bedspread, referring us to the leaves of the potted shrubs. Spliced onto the trunk of the tree, the painting books become a (re-)domesticated knowledge, taking root in our lived experience.
Similarly, Valdez’s Laptop With Landscape offers representation in place of representation, toying with the circularity of the digital as well as its ability to bridge modes and mechanisms of experience. Here, Valdez is more forceful, losing the viewer in a labyrinth of repetitions without signposts. To start, the laptop denies any true functionality—the screen lacks icons, the keyboard lacks inscription. As the eye moves through the composition, it becomes lost, as so often happens, in the seeming infinitude of the screen, whose figuration destabilizes into perspectival blobs, unable to return to the (figurative) “reality” that circumscribes it.
The yucca plants and grasses that reiterate one another into abstraction on the computer screen find mimics both in the imperfectly repeated patterns of the fabrics as well as in the more literal repetition between the potted cactus and its mirror, the yucca-like form of the lavender that spreads from the vase. The vase, in turn, is adorned with the decoration of yet another spreading flower, leading us back down through to the floral print on which the laptop sits. We cede our autonomy as viewers, led forth by the painting’s directive: like so many stitches in a blanket, our separate selves recede increasingly into the background of a world in which we have all lost ourselves.
Moving through the gallery, we find these ideas taken up repeatedly, though with less precision than in Valdez’s paintings. Valdez’s concern with fabric and the imprint of the human finds itself literalized in Amir H. Fallah’s series of covered forms, molded hoods standing in for heads. Personages disappear behind patterns, limbs become color fields, action and object become identity (his titles: Hold On, Necklace, Internal Expressionist). Though there is an enticingly exotic aspect to the veilings, Fallah directs us back upon ourselves, showing in the absence of his figures the reductive tendencies of our gazes. In the discourse of the larger show, we see anonymous bodies give way to words and images which, once collected, manifest our digital personalities.
The language of patterning appears effectively in the work of Matthew Craven and Sarah Bowser as well. Like Fallah’s paintings, Craven’s Portrait (TOTEM) brings to mind a particular decorative lineage, namely the geometries and color palette of the indigenous Southwest, the Hopi, the Navajo. His appropriated portrait recalls a bearded hipster or, less flatteringly, an Urban Outfitters graphic, but the context of the show makes his irony more legible. Sarah Bowser, in turn, offers a masterfully executed screen print—or perhaps it is a “screen” print—“stamped” linear and abstract shapes invoking the early Microsoft program Kid Pix. The technical proficiency of Bowser and Craven’s works on paper accent the flat dimensionality of their renderings, drawing out engaging compositions from combinations of simplified forms.
These lead easily into the compositional echoes between two of Michelle Fleck’s paintings across the room—Trees That Bloom Outside The Window, which depicts an “X” (one leg aerosolized, the other painted precisely in acrylic) behind a cluster of branches spreading out before it, and Black Cars, which offers a still life with two branches that form the selfsame “X” atop a perspectivally impossible table. Hung one above the other, the paintings speak to the interaction of the organic and the inorganic, the invented realities of the artist and the “objective” reality of experience, and dialogue nicely with Valdez’s own plants.
In form and content, the show repeatedly conjures the internet-age sentiment of aesthetic assemblage, the totalizing impulse that attempts to collate everything in one place and at one moment. Casey Gray’s twin corkboards, Trompe l’oeil with Head Shot and Trompe l’oeil with Mixed Feelings, achieve a simple and compelling iteration of this theme through collages of personal and cultural references rendered in a hyperreal aerosol acrylic. Gray’s work highlights the manner in which specific collections of mass objects often stand in for genuine individuality: think of the collaged quality of a Twitter page where tweets (themselves often commentary on events external to the user) and retweets intermingle or, quite literally, a Pinterest page.
It is no longer the role of a painting survey to singlehandedly recreate a culture, as MOMA’s earlier show, “The New American Painting,” did in 1958. And yet, “Tomorrow” argues compellingly for painting’s place in the increasingly diffracted arsenal of social criticism. Though the prospect of a more considered reaction to media may seem inconsequential to an age of present shocks and hyperobjects, that stance assumes the logic of Hoptman’s earlier fallacy.
We face grand problems, it is true. But it is precisely their scope that precludes grand solutions. Only by defining their periphery, by collecting and assembling all manner of counterarguments, at the smallest of scales, can one hope to expose their weaknesses. There is still a place for us to live and act and paint—here, now.
“Tomorrow” runs through December 19th at Hashimoto Contemporary, 804 Sutter St., San Francisco
Vincent van Gogh, Yıldızlı Gece, Haziran 1889, tuval üzerine yağlıboya, 73.7 cm × 92.1 cm, Museum of Modern Art, New York City
Sanat aşkıyla delirmek bu olsa gerek. Hemde öyle mecazi değil adam bildiğin delirmiş. Kendi sözleriyle; “Kısacası sanatım uğruna hayatımı tehlikeye atıyorum ve bu yüzden aklımın yarısını yitirdim.”-Vincent van Gogh
Ki bir rivayete göre arkadaşı Gauguin ile resim teknikleri üzerine girdikleri tartışma büyür büyük bir kavgaya döner ve arkadaşı onu terk eder. Ruhsal çöküntüde olan kulağını kesip bir fahişeyle Gauguin’e gönderir. bu olaylar üzerine akıl hastanesine yatırılan Vincent van Gogh bu eserini de akıl hastanesinde tamamlar. Resim hakkında pek konuşmayacağım onlarca rivayet ve gizem var zaten. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMerSm2ToFY gibi) Ama renklerdeki görsel uyum bile yetiyor hayran kalmak için.
(Nasa’nın bir incelemesindeki görsel ile benzerliği gerçekten hoş bir tesadüf olmuş)
Esrarengiz, ateşli, heyecanlı, huzursuz, vahşi…Boyaların
tadına bakan, arkadaşıyla kavga ettikten sonra kulağını kesen. Kendi
sonunu kendi belirleyen. Ekspresyonizmin başlangıcı sayılan. Dahi ve deli Vincent Van Gogh, hayatı boyunca yoksulluk içinde yaşadı. Resim yaparken öldü. Ölmeden önce delirdi, Uzun zamandan beri sürekli güneş resmi yapıyordu. Yüzlerce tablo ama hiçbir şey istediği noktaya gelmiyordu. Fransa’nın en sıcak yerinde, Arles’da tepesinde güneş, bütün gün dikiliyordu. Sıcak, açlık… Fakat çok mutluydu; deliliği sırasında bile resim yapıyordu. Akıl hastanesinde yaptığı tablolar şimdi milyonlar değerinde. Sırf resmini yapmak istediği her şeyin resmini yaptığı için intihar etti. Kardeşine mektupunda böyle yazdı: ‘’Görevim bitti. Olağanüstü bir hayat yaşadım; yaşamak istediğim şekilde. Resmini yapmak istediğim şeyin resmini yaptım. Son resmimi bugün yaptım ve artık bu yaşamdan bilinmeyene, artık o her ne ise, bir sıçrama yapıyorum, çünkü bu hayat artık benim için barındırmıyor.’’ Hayatı boyunca kimse resminin kıymetini bilmedi. Hayattayken hiçbir sanat galerisi, bedava olarak bile tablolarını kabul etmedi. Öldükten sonra yavaş yavaş onun fedakarlığı sayesinde resim sanatının bütün ruhu değişti.