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Saturday, March 17, 2012

In Wonderland – An “ism” that I Love

The day started off with pitfalls of danger. Ms. Sweetie was running late. Something with her car, a blinker out, a ticket, a new bulb needed resulted in her getting to my house a good 45 minutes behind schedule. And we were on a tight timeline. I had purchased tickets to see “In Wonderland: The surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States”, the title is a mouthful for sure… almost intimidating, and our entrance time was 2pm sharp.

Once she got to my house we decided that the sushi lunch before the exhibit wasn’t going to happen. We jumped into my car and we were brainstorming ideas for something easy and fast we could grab to eat… but then my car wouldn’t start. Without any time to troubleshoot the problem we abandoned my car and just took hers. Car karma not in our favor today but we had to put that behind us. The sun was shining and we were on our way.

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SUN, BLUE SKIES AND PALM TREES; A RATHER COOLER BEAUTIFUL LALA LAND DAY

In the end we settled on Subway, the somewhat fast, not so horrible for you fast food. And during lunch, since Ms. Sweetie asked, I filled her in on the background of the Surrealist movement.

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After lunch, and after dodging all the crazy detours and traffic from the LA marathon we managed to find parking and get to the museum on time. In general I am not usually a large fan of modern art and by modern I mean most art created after 1900. I understand that there are those that love it, my sister-in-law Mrs. Painter for example. However it’s all just too edgy for me, with its hard angles, its blocks of color and what I perceive as its pointlessness.

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MS. SWEETIE AND I OUTSIDE LACMA AT THE FAMOUS LIGHT INSTILLATION ART

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LACMA WITH ITS BOLD RED STAIRS AND YES MORE PALM TREES

I like beautiful art, and if I can’t have beauty then I want art to evoke a strong emotion. I am a HUGE fan of impressionism and romanticism, some realism, some neo-classicism. Surrealism just happens to make the list of ‘ism’s” that I love.

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ONE OF THE MANY BANNERS ADVERTISING THE “IN WONDERLAND” ART EXHIBIT

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MY TICKET

Surrealists were influenced by Freud. They expressed their imagination through their creativity free of reason and constraints. Their body of work was all about finding themselves. A journey of self-discovery and self-expression in a society that trivialized women.

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MS. SWEETIE LOOKING AT THE OPENING PIECE OF ART - SYLVIA FEIN “THE TEA PARTY”

Probably the most famous of all surrealist paintings is Salvador Dali’s “The Persistence of Memory” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Persistence_of_Memory; soft dripping clocks flung across a barren wasteland. His point was to paint the flexibility of time and space. To paint an idea that is something I can get into.

One of the biggest reasons why I had to see this exhibit is because it is the first large scale exhibition dedicated to not only American and Mexican surrealists, most surrealist exhibits favor the European artists and those mostly men, but also because this group of work was distinctly unique.

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LEFT: BRIDGET TICHENOR “LEADERS” – SHE OFTEN DIPICTS BEINGS FROM OTHER DIMENTIONS
RIGHT: REMEDIOS VARO “CREATION OF THE BIRDS” – SURREALISM OFTEN DEALT IN THE LAND OF FANTASY LIKE THIS PIECE


The organization of the exhibit based on gender (female) and geography (North America) gives a really unique experience that I didn’t quite grasp when studying this movement in college. To see all these paintings in this collection you really get a feel for the distinct emotions that were going through a more niche group. When I studied the surrealism movement we looked at many different artists around the world, most men, some women and well the message was still about the surreal but the focus of what the artists were trying to say was all over the place.

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LEONORA CARRINGTON “THE CHRYSOPEIA OF MARY THE JEWESS”

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CARRINGTONS WORK SHOWS THE FIRST FEMALE ALCHEMIST TRANSFORMING OTHER ELEMENTS INTO GOLD

Although I do love going to museums wandering from floor to floor seeing large scattered groups of art from all eras and all mediums of art - there is something about a channeled, well thought out evocative focus that goes hand in hand with a showing of something as specific as this group of art.

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HELEN LUNDENBERG “PLANT AND ANIMAL ANALOGIES” – SHE USED HER ART TO CREATE AN “IDEA-ENTITY” SHOWING A REALATIONSHIP AMONG OBJECTS

The effect of all the exhibit as a whole was OVERWHELMING. Each work was trying to say something, they weren’t just pretty pictures, they were essays… windows into these women’s minds. Some showed the wonder of the world and others depicted horrifying pain and misery.

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GERRIE GUTMANN “THE THEFT”

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SHE LOST HER SON AFTER A DIVORCE AND SHOWS HERSELF AS A MADONNA HOLDING A SMALL CASKET

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THE EERIE CREATURES IN HER GOTHIC WORLD THAT TAUNTINGLY SURROUND HER

The idea that marriage and children was considered a woman’s only objective. Painting became a way these women could journal and analyze. It allowed them to work through how they felt about their bodies, their role in society, their fantasies, their spiritual beliefs, motherhood, their sometimes troubled childhood and their sexuality. In a world where women were supposed to be seen and not heard it was with a certain bold sprit these women shouldered on.

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REMEDIOS VARO “MIMESIS”

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A WOMAN WHO HAS BECOME SO UNIMPORANT THAT SHE DISAPEARS INTO THE FURNITURE

If you could take a moment away from the art I also adored how the design of this exhibit flowed; organized into themes with the walls jutting out at angles throughout the space I particularly liked the ropes. They were used in a web like effect on the walls, the walkways and even the ceiling to guide you through exhibit.

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BUSY BUT SURPRISINGLY NOT AS PACKED AS I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE

I really adored seeing all the artists that I wasn’t at all familiar with. It resulted in some refreshing new discoveries of works that I adored and artists that I plan on becoming more familiar with in the future like Gerrie Gutmann, Remedios Varo and Lenora Carrington. Of course my reasons for coming to LACMA were varied but one of the main reasons was because I was dying to see the six pieces by Frieda Kahlo. One of my favorite artists of the 20th century I had never seen an actual Kahlo work of art. Sure I had seen photos but there is nothing like the real thing and this exhibit boasted six of her paintings, two of which I was ESTATIC to see.

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FRIDA KAHLO “SELF-PORTRAIT WITH THRON NECKLACE AND HUMMINGBIRD”

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KAHLO PORTRAYS HERSELF AS CHRIST-LIKE – THE CROWN OF THORNS REPLACED WITH A NECKLACE OF THORNS

Kahlo had a difficult life. She was struck with Polio at a young age which left her leg disfigured. She found painting at the age of 18 when she got into an accident that left her in a body cast. She had more than 30 operations over her lifetime, she lived in constant pain and the accident left her unable to have children. She painted to release her pain. A good half of her works of art are self portraits.

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FRIDA KAHLO “THE TWO FRIDAS”

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HER TWO DRESSES WAS A NOD TO BOTH HER MEXICAN HERITAGE AND HER GERMAN HERITAGE – THE PAINTING HAS BECOME AN ICON OF QUESTIONS SURROUNDING WOMEN’S IDENITY AND SEXUALITY

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MS. SWEETIE AND I – I WAS LIKE A KID ON CHRISTMAS DAY… SO HAPPY

Oh how Ms. Ivey would have LOVED to be here.


AS A SIDE NOTE...
Why you should go right this second to LACMA. The Art Newspaper says it best when they describe the rarity of the art on show: “Mexican government restrictions limit the number of works my “national treasures” that can be loaned, explains Llene Fort. One third of the works comes from Mexico, while the rest come from LACMA and other US institutions. Because of loan agreements, some pieces will be seen only at LACMA.”

5 comments:

paul peggy zeus said...

Love that first picture of you and Mrs. Sweetie - two of my favorite girls in the whole wide world! I've always Loved Dali, wasn't as familiar with Kahlo and have to say, I'm not fond of the Unibrow! lol.

Anonymous said...

What kind of camera did you use? great quality!

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