New York Exhibitions (Review Post)

During my time in New York I visited several exhibitions and museums, which included the Guggenheim Museum, The New York Public Library (Public Eye exhibition) and The Museum of Modern Art exhibition. They were all extremely different and I found some more enjoyable than others . 


Guggenheim Museum

This particular exhibition had a modern feel about it with its unusual spiral staircase layout and the pieces of art within. I did find some pieces rather interesting, shown below, but the majority of work I wouldn't class 'art' myself. I think it was pretty apparent that this exhibition didn't really inspire me as I forgot to write down the details of who, what, where, when and why these creations were made. In all honestly, me and my father didn't know what to expect with this exhibition and thought it would be a good idea to escape the sun for a bit considering it was 34 degrees outside and we had no sun cream on.


The New York Public Library

This was actually the first exhibition that we encountered on our journey and I was particularly interested when I saw there was a photography gallery inside. I thought this would be relevant and possibly even help me with my summer project by gaining inspiration for my studies. However, I was left a little underwhelmed. Don't get me wrong, some of the work included was speculator but I didn't believe there was anything original and nothing really caught my eye. As you can see, I was a little disappointed because I didn't take many pictures as I was hoping too. Something I did find rather interesting (and this maybe because I am pretty vain) but there was some writing on the floor, which could be made out if you looked up into the mirror above. I thought it was quite an interesting shot, so naturally I took a picture and decided it could make an appearance on my website.


The Museum of Modern Art

This was by far the best exhibition from the whole trip. There were so many inspirational artists and photographers that kept me and my dad occupied for hours. These set of images below are Andy Warhol's. For some reason myself and my dad love his work and I couldn't help but take a few photos.

I discovered throughout his exhibition that the main technique he used was silkscreen, which is known as screen print. This particular type of printing originally was used to commercially print unique flat and mechanical looking surface, which were easy to replicate on both canvas and paper. Andy explained in one of his exhibitions how simple it was to recreate his technique 'with silk screening you pick a photograph, blow it up, transfer it in glue onto silk, and then roll ink across it so the ink foes through the silk but not through the glue.' I personally have never heard off this technique so learnt quite a lot about Warhol's work. My overall interpretation on his work was to illustrate the 'celebrity world' as a commodity that everyone could consume in the same familiar but ultimately distant and impersonal way. I also discovered that within Warhol's celebrity American culture he manages to capture a dark complexity that is often left lurking beneath the veneer of glamour and fame.


The next person who caught my eye during this exhibition was Grete Stern. This particular collection was names 'dreams'. I think this was mainly down to the fact that all of the pieces gave you a sense of surrealism and distortion to reality. What I found particularly interesting was that these images were created in 1949 and I wondered how on earth she had managed to manipulate some many images onto to one canvas. It turns out she used a technique called photo montage, which doesn't sound spectacular, but to me is seems the 'olden days' equivalent to Photo shop we have access to nowadays. In a weird way that has inspired me to try and use Photo shop for more clever pieces of work such as hers, because if Stern was able to create this sort of images without resources we have today the you'd like to think I could make something like this if not 10 times better.

This particular image above (lampshade) is my favourite one of Stern's images because I believe this has a poignant message within. Throughout her ‘Dreams’ exhibition she focuses on surrealism, however, in this piece she seems to comment on a woman's place within the household during the 1940s. Through her use of surrealism and subversive wit, she manages to transform the woman into the lamp, who appears to be waiting to be manipulated and turned on by the male hand. Through her use of electricity as a sexual pun, Stern seems to critique the objectification of woman as just another fixture in the households. I personally think this is an extremely clever piece and really gives you food for thought on how woman were treated and perceived by men many years ago.


This next image is produce by a man called Jack Delano. The photograph was taken in May 1941 of Mr Henry Brook's hands, who was a slave. Before I read into this particular piece and collection, this image reminded me of an artist I have already studied during my first year of university, John Copland. I found his work particular interesting and this is was of the main reason why I stopped in my tracks to take a deeper look into the meaning behind this image. It turns out during the 1930's documentary photography was extremely popular, especially though working for the government agencies such as Farm Security Administration. Their images were used to create a collective or both black and whet Southerners, grappling with the economic calamity of the Great Depression. These images were taken to try and persuade the mass audiences (who read the newspapers and magazine) for the need of more equitable society and change needed to happen.


Lastly, this was my favourite piece of the day. Sadly, there was no description about this work of art, so I'm not entirely sure the story behind this image, which is rather disappointing. All I know that this piece of work is that it was created by a French man called Francis Picabia. Although this is a painting (oil on canvas) rather than a piece of photography I found this collection 'I See Again in Memory My Dear Udnie', I found it extremely fascinating to look at. The way I interpreted this piece was the Frenchman was illustrating his loss but losing his uncle (for some unknown reason) leaving him to fender for himself, all alone. The use of grey/black/white, show his emptiness and grief and how that seems to be closing in on the little hope and happiness he has left (demonstrated by the use of colours in the middle). I could be completely wrong as I haven't actually researched this particular artist in great detail; however, this was the impression I gathered from this piece of work.

Overall, I found the Museum of Modern Art, extremely interesting and rather inspirational. Throughout this exhibition I realise that there are deeper meaning within pieces of art and photographs, which has inspired me to try and create deeper meaning within my images (such as my self-portraiture piece in my first year).


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