Monday, January 12, 2009

The Gügg

It's Monday, so of course the Met is closed... but I did get a chance to go to the Guggenheim Museum today (which I affectionately call "The Gügg" because I'm a dork). Located just a couple blocks uptown from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim building itself is a striking masterpiece of renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

It was a very interesting visit, since the majority of the museum was closed for the de-installation of The Any Space Whatever exhibit, which ended January 7. Only the permanent collection was open, but the de-instillation was in full view, so it was fun to see the behind-the-scenes action.

The permanent collection at the Guggenheim is a stunning array of masterpieces by Picasso, Braque, Kandinsky, Pisarro, Degas, and Cézanne, just to name a few. I've actually started to recognize specific artists' styles and identify their paintings without reading the description — a great accomplishment in my mind.

The second floor of the permanent collection at the Guggenheim is the Kandinsky Gallery, which holds paintings by its namesake as well as his contemporaries Alexej Jawlensky, Paul Klee, Marc Chagall, and Franz Marc. Anyway, I chose the painting above, by Marc was my favorite of the day because of its whimsical subject matter and engaging use of color. Out of curiosity, I searched for more information about the artist and I found that, sadly, "His name was on a list of notable artists to be withdrawn from combat in World War I. Before the orders were carried out, he was struck in the head and killed instantly by a shell splinter during the Battle of Verdun (1916)." (wikipedia)

And last year, my mom and I saw an exhibition of Jawlensky and Kandinsky's work side-by-side at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, CA (my hometown). That Christmas, she got me a book on Kandinsky - and I thought I'd end with this lovely quote from it:

If I wanted to characterize myself, I would say: constantly, chronically restless. Yes, that is the possibly surprising but strict truth... not a moment's rest you understand. I am always excited, my heart always feels different things simultaneously... There's plenty of joy in my heart. I love life so very much.

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