Sunday, December 22, 2013

MOM'S ART EDUCATION

First of all, Mom said I should apologize for not writing very many blog entries lately.  She even said I could blame her, if I wanted to, which I do want to, because it's totally her fault.  And the reasons why it is her fault are (1) she has that stupid job now, and she's gone for three whole days a week, and (2) when she gets home, she complains about being tired because of standing on her feet all day at work, and (3) when I ask her why she doesn't just sit down while she's working, she says it's against the rules, and she will lose her job if she does.  Also (4) sometimes she says she just wants to sit in front of the TV in the evenings and not do the in-depth research she should be helping me do as my Chief Research Assistant.  So there you have it, and I can't really fix the problem, even though I wish I could.

But anyway, since Mom was feeling guilty about not being able to help me more with my blog, she decided she could at least take some pictures for me to use, so I'm going to use some of those pictures today.  Mom took these photos on Thursday, when she was working in the gallery called Abstract Expressionism.

The Abstract Expressionist Gallery

I will just start by saying that I am a dog who has never taken any art history classes, but I know what kind of art I like, which is the kind that has dogs in it.  Sadly though, it seems like lots of art doesn't have dogs in it  But I am trying to learn to like some of that art, too.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, the Abstract Expressionists tried hard to make artwork that doesn't really look like whatever the subject matter is supposed to be.  So I guess that even if they painted a dog, you might not recognize it as a dog.  Sometimes you have to read the little cards on the wall in order to find out what is in the painting.  And even then, you might think the person who wrote the card was making stuff up.  

Woman IV, by Willem de Kooning

Here's a painting by an artist named Willem de Kooning.  It is called Woman IV, and it was painted in 1952 or 1953.  At least when you look at this painting, you can see that there really is a woman in it, even though she is ugly and not anybody I would personally want to meet.  This woman is supposed to represent some things like ancient fertility goddesses and Venus and traditional nudes and 1950s pin-ups, but none of these things spring into my doggy mind when I look at the painting.  Instead, it looks to me like she has fangs and maybe some blood around her mouth, so I think I should stay out of her way!

In the same gallery, there is a painting called Boudoir, also by Mr. de Kooning, and that painting supposedly shows a woman sitting in front of her dressing table, but Mom said she looked and looked, and all she could really see was a sort of flesh-colored slug-like thing where the woman is supposed to be.

No. 6, 1952, by Jackson Pollock

Okay, now here is a painting by Jackson Pollock, who was a very famous artist because he invented a new way of painting.  And the way he painted was he just dripped paint onto the canvas instead of using a brush.  Except that in this No. 6, 1952 painting, it looks like he might have used a brush to spread some of the dripped paint around.  Usually, Mr. Pollock put lots more color in his paintings, but then he went through a period where he just painted in black on an untreated canvas, and this painting seems to be one of those.

©Arnold Newman, photo taken for Life Magazine

The thing that's nice about this painting is that you can look at it and and decide for yourself what pictures are in it, kind of like when you look at clouds and see shapes, or at a Rorschach ink blot.  The card on the wall by the painting said there is a "she wolf" in the upper left-hand corner.  I can see the wolf very clearly, but I don't know why the card said it was a "she."  Also there is a hand in the upper right-hand corner, and a foot in the lower left-hand corner.  At least that's what the card said.  I think there's also a face in the center, close to the top, but the card didn't say anything about that.

Another thing the card said was that the painting was "a labyrinth of expanding linear forces."  I don't know what that means, exactly.  Mom says it doesn't mean anything at all, as far as she is concerned.  She thinks it is just a bunch of fancy words strung together to make the curator sound really intelligent.

Anyway, the sad thing about Mr. Pollock is that he was an alcoholic and maybe bipolar, too.  He was only 44 when he died in a single-car crash when he had been drinking.

Turin, 1960, by Franz Kline

This painter, whose name is Franz Kline, made really huge paintings, and a lot of them were black-and-white, like me.  Sometimes Mr. Kline just used ordinary house paint and five-inch-wide brushes.  When you look at this painting, you are supposed to see the energy of the Italian city of Turin, plus architectural things such as bridges.  The card on the wall says that Mr. Kline's goal "was to create a dynamic equilibrium through asymmetry and the interaction of black and white."  Mom says it doesn't seem to make sense to use asymmetry to make something balanced, which is what an equilibrium is.  Which makes me wonder if this is what Mr. Kline was really thinking about when he started painting.  Somehow I don't think so, but what do I know?

Pink and Indian Red, 1946, by Adolph Gottlieb

Here's one I like a lot because it is kind of like petroglyphs.  Mom liked it, too, and she really tried to get "into" the art, instead of just admiring it from afar.

Mom's selfie with Pink and Indian Red 

And then, because Mom liked the idea of posing with artwork, she did it again.  This painting is called General Assembly, and a Belgian artist named Pierre Alechinsky painted it in 1960.   The painting shows a lot of weird-looking angry faces, like in a political meeting or something.

General Assembly, 1960, by Pierre Alechinsky
This picture came from the Nelson gallery site, and that's why it's so small.
Mom does not like to get into political arguments, but she can get very grumpy sometimes about how things are going in Congress. She told me not to talk about politics or religion in my blog, though, because that could just get me into trouble!


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