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Harvard Art Museums

MAY 25, 2016
Last weekend, I made it over to the Harvard Art Museums in Cambridge. I hadn't been there in years and the museums (The Fogg, Sackler and Busch-Reisinger) have been transformed into a state of the art facility that house extraordinary and familiar works from all over the world.
Below are my random observations and even more random attributions and information related to the works. Sorry, I can look further and get details to you.
While in museums, my operative mode is: Omnivorous Scavenger. Each work draws me toward it, like a moth to a flame. They become mirrors in which I gaze into my own delighted artistic abyss. I pinball from ancient China and Bernini's clay-spattered workshop to Botticelli, his ears ringing with the reactionary logic of Savanarola and to a time called "Everywhen"…
Pietà, Austria, 1420 polychromed poplar wood
This familiar view of a grieving woman reminds me of Warhol's grieving "Jackie" 1963 artnet. 600 years later sons are still killing each other and mothers are admired for their poetic grief. We need a new script.
Sandro Botticelli: she has no clue…
Oh my! (tempera on panel, info)
This self-portrait is part of the three-way project that Van Gogh convinced Gauguin and Bernard to undertake. The three works are all quite earnest but it's impossible to evaluate them knowing the subsequent stories and paths each man followed. Soon, Gauguin, extricating himself from his deteriorating friendship with the Dutchman sold this painting for 300 francs.
Fra Angelico
"Negro Soldier" egg tempera & oil on board, Robert Smullyan Sloan, American (New York, NY 1915 - 2013 Boston, MA)
Persistent aren't they!? "The Three" by Philip Guston, 1970
Annette Lemieux "Available Portrait Colors" 2012 (commercial paint samples for flesh color)
"Pear Tree" an early painting by Klimt …all those dabs…!
Australian aboriginal work from the "Everywhen" show. Lots and lots of dabs!
detail: Everywhen… where mapmaking and storytelling and history merge. Time dissolves and becomes a medium through which one swims.
Everywhen: patterns emerging and submerging
I saw a show of Bridget Riley (British Op Art pioneer) when I was in Denmark. This Australian work is just as large but much more visually aggressive despite it's peaceful, mesmerizing accumulation of dots
detail of a Japanese folding screen: crane legs & feet
I like to paint birds like this and it almost always feels like a easy solution to the problem at hand. And then I'm reminded that it feels good to paint birds.
Stepping back from the precipice, a delightfully casual doodle by Nicolaes Maes, Dutch (Dordrecht 1634 - 1693 Amsterdam)
I hope you enjoyed this tiny tour. If you're ever in town contact me and let's go a museum together.
PS: I almost forgot the Bernini. There's a small space filled with these terra cotta models. The clay is singing!!
Topical: Recommended