Sunday, July 21, 2013

Over, Under, Next: Experiments in Mixed Media, 1913 to the Present

Where: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

When: through September 8, 2013

Another trip to the Hirshhorn; another trip through the looking glass.  This is one of their Bataan Death March exhibits - it takes up the entire 2nd floor, and there's just a few works in each room.  It can function as your cardio workout for the day!

The theme of this show, as you will have guessed from the title, is mixed media - think of collages.  Picasso and Georges Braques started this movement in 1912 with their use of everyday objects in their artworks; now everyone's doing it.  I guess that's one measure of success: when your avant-garde idea goes mainstream.

Some pieces that sparked my interest:

  • Jean Dubuffet's Landscape with Three Trees, mostly because there's nothing bizarre about it
  • Michelangelo Pistoletto's Venus of the Rags, a female nude statue facing a big pile of clothing
  • Ann Hamilton & Kathryn Clark's Palimpsest, which is a little room covered in pieces of paper, with a cabinet in the back containing snails eating a cabbage - it's meant to represent the brain's deterioration - how can you not like that?
I learned that Alexander Calder invented the mobile - I knew he was a master of the medium, but had no idea he invented it.  Just think of the many nurseries containing modern art...

Verdict: Well, it's the Hirshhorn, so you know what I think; it's worth the walk for the cabbage-eating snails, if you're in the mood for a trek and some ridiculous art.

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