Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A lovely visit with my friend, Megan, and a Focus on the Futurists

This first entry marks the beginning of my daily pilgrimage to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Today's visit to the Met was a comprehensive one - as is always the case when in the company of another person. My fellow Met member, Megan, and I started in the Egyptian wing, then ascended the main staircase in the center of the museum and paused at the "Rhythms of Modern Life: British Prints 1914-1939" exhibition, which I have chosen as the subject of today's entry.

The lithographs displayed in this exhibit really illustrate rhythm and motion with the repetition of shape and color. The simplicity and abstraction of form that this medium demands gives these pieces a progressive modern aesthetic for their time. It is easy to see the relation to cubism, which arose concurrently with the futurist movement.

Through further research, I confirmed that these artists were, indeed, working during roughly the same time period as Kandinsky, L├ęger, Mondrian, and Malevich - the predecessors and original founders of the cubist movement in Art History. My favorite works were done by Cyril E. Powers and Sybil Andrews, because of their vibrant colors and warped spatial composition. It is no wonder these artists are known as vorticists - their work looks like it is being sucked into a vortex, which gives it the rhythmic motion for which it is known.

I also enjoyed seeing the proofs, plates, and process work that were displayed as part of the exhibit, which illustrated the skill that these artists used to both conceptualize their works as layers of shape and color and to create separations for each plate.

We continued our visit through "The Philippe de Montebello Years" (which I am sure I will revisit more than once); took a rest in the Monet room of the 19th- and Early 20th- Century European Paintings and sculpture gallery; continued through Cypriot, Ancient Near Eastern, Central Asian, South Asian Art; before ending up in Astor Court in the Chinese Art gallery and finishing in Japanese Art.

It was a great visit. I can't wait until tomorrow...


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