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March 30, 2012

The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Paris Avant-Garde

Gertrude, Leo, Michael Stein and Michael's wife Sara were avid collectors of art in Paris during the early decades of the 20th C.   We saw the preview of a new exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the day before we left for California, and I didn't have time to finish sketches that I did at the exhibit until now.

The Met website presents lots of information about the Steins, highlights of the 200+ works of art, and even a virtual reconstruction video of the rooms and the placement of art on their walls.

My first sketches were from Gallery 1. 

"On October 15, 1904, the second Salon d'Automne (an exhibition of contemporary art held each fall) opened with retrospectives devoted to five artists who were considered among the most relevant for the younger generation of painters: Cézanne, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, Odilon Redon, Renoir, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The impact on Leo was dramatic. Two weeks later he and Gertrude emptied their bank accounts and spent all their spare money on modern art."

I always loved Toulouse-Lautrec's drawings and combined 3 women from the works presented in this gallery.

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I wasn't very impressed with early Matisse landscapes in their collection, but saw a little of Matisse's later style in his painting of the Young Sailor I from 1906.

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My final sketch was of a very early Picasso nude and head.  I always sketch at least one of his drawings when attending an exhibit or auction preview - so this was an easy decision.

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March 23, 2012

Exquisite Corpses - a New Exhibit at MoMA

 

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                                Left to Right:  Benedicte, Me, Teri, Pat

Benedicte, Teri, Pat, Judy and I went to the Museum of Modern Art yesterday to see the new Exquisite Corpses exhibit.  This was a surrealist game of the 1920s and 1930s - initially played by group construction of a sentence. 

The goal of the pictoral form of Exquisite Corpse is to form a picture rather than a sentence. The method for three players is as follows:

  • the first player draws the head
  • the second player draws the midsection
  • the third player draws the legs and feet

Each player folds the paper after finishing the drawing, hiding it from the next player. Usually a the picture extends past the fold just a little bit so that the next player's drawing will join with the first player's.  With more than 3 players, more folded sections are made and the body is divided up differently.

There were only 2 classic examples of Exquisite Corpses in the MoMA exhibit - the rest of the drawings and paintings were deformed-dysmorphic figures by single artists. 

This one was created by Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, Max Morise, and Man Ray in 1926-7.  If you look carefully, you can see where they folded the paper as they passed it on to the next player.

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We were inspired and went to the MoMA Sculpture Garden, to play our own game of Exquisite Corpse - with 4 players (Teri declined and worked in her sketchbook instead). 

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         Left to Right:  Me, Judy, Pat, Benedicte (See Judy and Pat's blog entry here and here)

This was the one I started in the first round - with 5 folds.  I did the head and passed it on.  When it went around the circle and returned to me, I sketched the feet.

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Here are all 4 created in the second round:

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Of course it took us awhile to work out the simple rules - with much laughter - and fun.  We then headed off to lunch and 3 drawing exhibits at the Morgan Library. I love having "art buddies." 

March 9, 2012

The Museum of Modern Art Print Studio Ended Today

I am very sad that the Print Studio ended today.  It was an amazing resource for artists/visitors and each of us felt that it was the perfect environment for artistic play.  The Reanimation Library provided the inspiration.  The images that were available in the 35+ shelves of books stimulated so many ideas and the copiers, scanners, and computers with Photoshop software permitted artists to experiment in many different ways. 

I made my eighth 8-page pamphlet book on Monday - this one entitled The Mystique of the Alphabet.  On Wednesday I decided that it was time to do some drawing - and made a book with figure illustrations for me to draw.  On Thursday I added collages to the altered book that I started in the workshop they had several weeks ago.  New friends were made and I shall miss them as we begin withdrawal and catch up on the rest of our life.

Here are the pages from my book entitled "Draw Me."

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February 24, 2012

MoMA Print Studio Withdrawal

I am leaving tomorrow for vacation and will miss the next to the last week of the Print Studio! 

The Museum of Modern Art in New York City has a 6 week Print Studio program to celebrate two new MoMA print exhibits.  There is a work space in the Education Building and the public in invited to come from 12-4PM, every day except Tuesday, to get inspired and create art.  There are 35 shelves of amazing books to use for inspiration - called the Reanimation Library because these illustrated books were orphaned and destined for destruction.  And there is a color copier, scanners, and computers with photoediting software.

I already posted collage pamphlets that I made in the first 2 sessions - and today wanted to post the covers of all 7 collage books that I made to date in 7 sessions.  Each book is 5 3/4 X 7" and has a total of 8 pages - 2 folios stitched together with a 3 hole pamphlet stitch.

Working in the Print Studio is very inspiring and I am able to work very spontaneously and freely using a technique which is relatively new to me - collage.  My idea for a theme develops quickly as I pull a few books and start to examine the illustrations.  I then quickly select more images which support the theme and/or add visual interest to the pages.   My time is spent tearing and gluing paper, stamping, and adding watercolor pencil highlights.   These books are not amazing, but I loved making them. 

Number 1 - Inheritance of Genetic Characteristics.  This clearly originated in my science/medicine background.

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Number 2: Images and Colors of Venice.  This Spring is our 3rd visit to Venice.

 

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Volume 3:  Faces

 

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Volume 4:  London - a City I know well.  A page from this book was on the MoMA website yesterday!

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Volume 5:  Figure Drawing - another one of my passions

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Volume 6: Children

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Volume 7:  Blood Cells 

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February 20, 2012

A Map, Some Art Supplies, and a Great Exhibit

I had a wonderful day Saturday - talking a long walk among art supply stores and ending at the Flatiron Building where Gwyneth Leech was ending her fabulous art exhibit called Hypergraphia. 

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The weather was wonderful and the City was full of people out walking, running, shopping, and playing.  By counting blocks, I estimate that my walk from Dick Blick to NY Central Art Supply, to Casey's Stamps, and then the Hypergraphia exhibt was 1 1/2 to 2 miles.

I bought a new sketchbook for figure drawing and a package of gold leaf, which I didn't draw - and these items which I did draw.

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I'm always amazed at how little it takes to make me happy - 2 pencils, a pen, some paint and a new rubber stamp.

Gwyneth Leech paints on disposable coffee cups and creates wonderful works of art.  She sat in a beautiful small gallery in the prow of the Flatiron building for the last few months, ending Saturday afternoon.  Here is a photo I took from where she sat and watched thousands of people pass by each day. 

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Here is her blog post from the last day.  She told me that she now has more than 800 painted cups - and plans are being made for exhibits in other cities.  You must read her last blog post!