On Friday, November 11th I entered the Guggenheim for the first time and walked the spiral showing of Agnes Martin's work. We also took a visual trip to Germany while stepping through the doors at the Neue Galerie. The art being shown in both of these spaces greatly contrasted each other--the detailed and representational work of Klimt and the minimalist, yet intricate, work of Martin separated by style but linked by greatness.
Prior to entering the exhibition at the Guggenheim, Professor Arnold set us up with a little disclaimer in hopes that we enter the spiral showing with an open mind to minimalism. He said that, to get the most out of Agnes Martin's work, it would be best to experience it in the same way that you would experience listening to instrumental music. This way, we can focus more on how the work makes us feel rather than expecting some grand narrative. To be honest, I had a bit of distaste for minimalist artwork until Lee made this connection and planted this in my head. I gained a new respect for minimalist artwork like Agnes Martin's. Although I prefer more narrative based work, I focused on how her paintings made me feel and I actually could relate to her work in some ways. First of all, her work made me feel anxious just thinking about how tedious and meticulous he large scale paintings were. I stood in front of her art just wondering how she had the drive to create such intricate gridded structures and I was able to relate it directly, on an emotional level, to the stippling work I have been doing on and off for a few years now. One of my favorite things about her paintings is that from a distance, they essentially just look like white canvases but as you get closer, you begin to see the attention to line and tone.
As I mentioned before, I prefer narrative despite my newfound respect for minimalism. This is why I was more drawn to the side exhibition entitled Tales of Our Time. There were room sized illustrations surrounding a projection of an animated film, films of real world interactions, a giant robotic squidgy, and various other new media pieces. It was truly inspiring to see all of this work inside of a museum because it wasn't what many people would consider to be traditional medium for art. In fact, it was the deciding factor in influencing me to create an animation for my final semester project--although the content is quite unrelated to my style of art. The entire side exhibition made me realize that new media is up-and-coming and I should not be afraid to branch out of traditional means of art to cover a wide range of mediums.
Following our visit to the Guggenheim, we found ourselves smack-dab in the center of Gustav Klimt's masterpieces at the Neue Galerie. There were many other German artists being shown, but it was at times hard to see past the great Klimt works. I think the reason for this was the fact that his work stood out in my mind after learning about him in the Early 20th Century Art history course I took last year. Seeing his portraits in a textbook is one thing, but being able to stand inches from them to soak in then incredible textures is a breathtaking experience. Although there is quite the aesthetic distance between Agnes Martin and Gustav Klimt, I find it easy recognize the attention to pattern both artists have in the realm of gridded textures (as you can see in Klimt's painting The Woman in Gold. It is interesting to draw similarities is such different works.