Thursday, July 28, 2016

London Calling at the Getty

Lucian Freud (British, born Germany, 1922 - 2011), Girl with a White Dog, 1950 - 1951. Oil on canvas Dimensions: Unframed: 76.2 × 101.6 cm (30 × 40 in.) Framed: 95.4 × 120 × 9.2 cm (37 9/16 × 47 1/4 × 3 5/8 in.) Accession No. EX.2016.3.63 Object Credit: Tate: Purchased 1952 Repro Credit: Photo © Tate, London 2016.
From the 1940s through the 1980s, a prominent group of London based artists developed new styles and approaches to depicting the human figure and the landscape. These painters resisted the abstraction, minimalism, and conceptualism that dominated contemporary art at the time, instead focusing on depicting contemporary life through innovative figurative works. On view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from July 26 to November 13, 2016, "London Calling," with works drawing primarily from the collections of the Tate Museum, includes works by Franis Bacon, Freud, Kossof f , Andrews, Auerbach, and Kitaj. The show at the Getty represents the first major American museum exhibition to explore the leaders of this movement, often called the “School of London,” as central to a richer and more complex understanding of 20th century painting.

The Wedding, 1989–93, R.B. Kitaj, oil on canvas. Tate: Presented by the artist 1993. Photo © Tate, London 2016. Artwork © R.B. Kitaj Estate, courtesy Marlborough Fine Art
The exhibition includes 80 paintings, drawings, and prints by Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Leon Kossoff, Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach, and R.B. Kitaj.

Amazingly enough, you can take photos!

Co-curator Julian Brooks added, "They were working in an unfashionable style when all the artists around them were promoting abstract expressionism and conceptual art. But they took the old school methods and pushed them one step further."

While called the “School of London” after a Kitaj described their style in a 1976 exhibition catalog, there was no “School.” The label referred to a group of artists (more than presented here) in austere, post-World War II London who rejected the minimalism, pop art and conceptual directions other artists were moving toward; instead, they carved a niche building on traditional styles with dramatic looks at their damaged surroundings and the people near by.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

10,000 Steps: A Quick Trip to SF MOMA

 Jim Goldberg, Rich and Poor series, 1982 
After an hour of walking around downtown, I entered the new SF MOMA to catch some of what I had missed (photography, outdoor sculpture) on my first visit.  Checking in, the desk associate suggested I also take the bathroom tour.    I wondered why anyone would apply for third floor bathroom docent.    One bathroom I entered was painted completely in the SF MOMA Orange, another was all in a blue/green.   Still not sure if this is a good idea, but it does eliminate bathroom monotony if one suffers from it.

Since the museum wasn't crowded this time, I went to the seventh floor and worked my way down. 

I spent some time looking over Brad Kahlhamer's large wire and bell sculpture Super Catcher.
 By the time I got to the photography exhibits, it was wall to wall people.   Jim Goldberg's series, Rich and Poor shows double prints of photographs of rich and poor persons together, first with one person describing in their own handwriting their happiness and relative wealth, then the other person.  Because of the crowd I didn't get very far into the exhibit. It is very moving and worthy of a first stop next time.

Jeff Muhs at The McLoughlin Gallery, 49 Geary Street        After SF MOMA, I headed over to Geary Street to see some of the remaining galleries there. At The McLoughlin Gallery, Jeff Muhs sculpture Penopeia convinced me completely that pink really does go with concrete.