New York has become a crucial center for the arts, as it has not only evolved into a canvas itself on which artists have felt welcome to share their talents and ideas through street art, but it is also home to various museums such as the MoMa, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Frick Collection, and a broad array of galleries. This past week, I got the chance to visit the famed Metropolitan Museum of Art, or the Met, as well as the elegant Morgan Library and Museum, which had only popped up on my radar just a week prior to my visit.
Throughout my childhood, The Met had been a common NYC destination for family trips. Year after year, I would marvel at the museum’s grandeur—its exterior and The Great Hall were more fascinating to me than the actual pieces of art within the museum’s collection. But over the years, I’ve developed a keen interest in paintings from classical to modern. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I came across the Matisse: In Search of True Painting exhibition, on display until Sunday, March 17, 2013. The exhibition included Matisse’s multiple versions of the same compositions and subject matter, which allowed the viewer to witness the progress of each work. The French artist’s Le Luxe I and Le Luxe II (1907) offered a juxtaposition of color, brush stroke, and medium. These works were also accompanied by their charcoal counterpart, and together they create a window into the artist’s process. Also on display were sequences of still lives and portraits, such as Matisse’s Still Life with Purro I and II in which one was made with heavier, darker brush strokes, and the other with a stippling technique.
I had neither visited, nor heard of the Morgan Library and Museum until last week when my professor asked the class to visit the Drawing Surrealism exhibit, running through April 21, 2013. The former private library of Pierpont Morgan was opened to the public in 1924 and since then has expanded into three gorgeous buildings unified by the garden court. The exterior is a combination of the Italian Renaissance design of Charles McKim and the more contemporary style of the Madison Avenue entrance. The restored interior consists of magnificent murals, chandeliers, period furniture, mosaics, and ornamentation all with strategically fixed lighting to illuminate the complex’s most elegant features. The Morgan Library and Museum is truly a must see for all you art and research buffs.
As for the Drawing Surrealism exhibit, displayed were the works of Max Ernst, Ellsworth Kelly, Kay Sage, Richard Pousette, Salvadore Dalí, and many more artists of the Surrealist Movement, in which the potential of the unconscious mind was a major subject of exploration within the arts and literature. The result is an entire collection of spontaneous, unexpected, and thought provoking works that represent one period of artistic revolution. As I was moseying along, I eventually found myself in yet another exhibit: Degas, Miss La La, and the Cirque Fernando, running through May 12, 2013. Included were a series of studies based on Edgar Degas’ visit to the Cirque Fernando at which aerialist Miss La La performed seventy feet in the air hanging by a rope that she clung to with her teeth. Degas captures the extraordinary act in his painting, Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, displayed beside a number of his preliminary sketches that resembled those of Matisse in the exhibition at the Met.