Jolly Good Show

Goodness gracious, it's lovely here.

The buildings and streets make you want to sing Mary Poppins songs all the time, which I do. The cathedral pictured above is not, however, the St. Paul's were the little old bird woman comes, but St. Peter's which is across the millenium bridge from the Tate Modern, where I spent a rather enjoyable afternoon.

That's Jenny in front of a Rothko piece, which is part of a series initally commissioned for the Four Seasons hotel. Rothko painted these somber, brick toned pieces designed to make the viewer feel trapped or walled in. The wall plaque in the gallery noted that he resigned his commission because of the tones of the paintings, but according to Wikipedia, my definitive source on all things snarky, Rothko is quoted in an interview with Harpers as saying his true intention with the Four Seasons piece is to paint "something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room. If the restaurant would refuse to put up my murals, that would be the ultimate compliment. But they won’t. People can stand anything these days."

I like Mark Rothko.

At any rate, the murals are now on display in their own dark little room in the Tate Modern,and man are they effective. I definitely felt walled in and trapped. If I were running the Four Seasons and this guy had shown up with these oppressive burgandy canvasses, I probably would have punched him. Or perhaps just pulled a "Cask of Amontillado," and been entirely poetically justified.

I was overall very impressed with the Tate. The works themselves were marvelous, but the way they were presented was particularly excellent. Not only did every work have a little context blurb by it, there were larger wall plaques giving historical context and a brief explanation of the larger movement the pieces represent. It made the experience much richer for those with scant art history backgrounds such as myself. The only thing that really disappointed me was that they weren't done installing the slides for the next exhibit going into the massive turbine gallery. Slides? Yes. Slides.

My two favorite exhibits were the last two we saw. One was a piece by Christian Marclay called Video Quartet. It was a four screen projection with scenes from different Hollywood films combined into this gorgeous visual and musical symphony. It was energetic and fun and lovely. It reminded me a bit of "A Movie" by Bruce Conner in its juxtaposition of initally unrelated clips into a new narrative. One of my favorite moments in Video Quartet shows a woman knocking on a door in one of the clips, then on the clip next to her, a couple listens at the door, as though the two movies are communicating to one another. It was inventive and marvelous. Bravo Mr. Marclay!

My other favorite exhibit was a room filled with Guerilla Girls posters. Holy Craps. I'm in the middle of this huge feminist awakening (see previous post) and it was so empowering to see people being smart and in your face about stuff that I cared about. I actually found the MoMA in New York really disconcerting because I found myself surrounded by female objects, but almost no female voices. It did seem like a woman's only place in the gallery was naked on the wall. It's something that I've noticed more on this trip than I have before in my life, maybe it's because of the queer theater class I took this last term, maybe it's because I've done a lot of introspection on myself as a woman, or maybe it's just because I'm surrounded by all this traditional art, but I find myself more and more aware of the lack of female voices in the world around me. Next time you're in a museum or reading the credits of a movie, notice how many are women. I, for one, was unpleasantly suprised.


Max said…
To be fair, naked women are much more attractive to the eye than naked men.

At least in mine and the world's opinions.
Pechous said…
I do have to second that opinion.
Matthew said…
I suppose it really depends on which kind of art museum you're in. I mean, if you're in a more classic museum - read: older art - there weren't as many female voices; a good deal of the artists were men. A more modern art museum (like, for instance, MoMA) I could understand a bit more frustration with.

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