Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving on the Beach

Mysterious fish washed up on beach

Pen shells in shallow water at the sunset's last gleaming

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cloudy Afternoon

White pelicans 
Mangrove crabs

Immature Yellow-Crowned Night Heron

Female Anhinga (two-toned, black and tan)

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Magritte (1898-1967)

Went with some friends to see the Magritte exhibition at MoMA yesterday.  It covers just 1926-1938 (starting from the time of his first solo exhibition) and includes many of his famous paintings - including the one of the train coming out of the fireplace, which I saw at its home in Chicago this past April - plus some that were new to me.

Magritte's first solo exhibition apparently included a number of collages with the chess-piece pillars or tree trunks cut out of sheet music.  We tried to make out whether we could identify the songs (most of which were in English, though at least one in German), but to no avail.

My favorite painting of the day was Les Muscles du Ciel (1927):

My least favorite Magritte work remains Le Viol - a painting which (to me) captures exactly a rapist's view of a woman's face.  Les jours gigantesques (1928) is almost equally disturbing.  It appears to show a fierce and intimate struggle between a clothed man and a naked woman.  The man is seen from more than one perspective -- but is only visible within the borders of the woman's body.

I learned the word grelot (sleigh bell) - the term that Magritte apparently used to describe his divided spheres.
Grelots loom in La Voix des Airs - not part of the exhibition, alas!
There are apparently four versions of this work
(of which at least the 1928 and 1931 are on public display) 

For their favorites, Carolyn picked out Magie Noire (1934), and Amanda chose La Reproduction Interdite (1937); I think Kat was simply delighted to discover many references to Freud in the titles and imagery of Magritte's works.

Magritte was my favorite artist in college; sadly, many of his paintings have lost their power to surprise me. Most are familiar (whether from prior exhibitions or from widely available images and reproductions), and my sense is that I know generally what to expect from him.   But it was still really cool to see even the more familiar works in person - the craft that went into subtle details bolstering the sense of three-dimensionality.  I found that I really admired La Clairvoyance (1936); it struck me that the painter is carefully scrutinizing the egg, frowning in concentration, as if to paint what he sees more exactly.

Considering that the guards were barking at museum visitors for imagined infractions,  I carefully respected the museum's prohibition on photography.  But happily someone else managed to photograph nearly every work in the exhibition: 

Afterward, we went out to lunch, then I picked up a new wok (yay).  In the evening, I saw the Frog & Peach production of "Hamlet."

Foliage Expedition