The Familiar Object that Startles

June 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

If you have been reading my blogs you might have noticed that I seem to spend a lot of time at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I like art museums in general and I do like MIA in particular.

One of the objects that I find surprising and wonderful is a car in on the second floor. It is in what I take to be the museum’s collection of Design. I wrote my nephew who is a lover of the contemporary automobile about this car. “It would not be the sort of car that you would not want to encounter on a country road in the middle of the night. You would not know if you should flee or follow.”

Context in is very important here and this car is, I think, a marvelous addition to the Museum’s collection.

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Food for Thought

June 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

It is odd to think that of all the forms of paintings that there are, still lives seem to have effected me the deepest. I can recall being in an art museum in  Antwerp when it dawned on me that I was getting more pleasure from viewing the still lives than anything else in the museum.  Perhaps it was dovetailed  with another  interest… food.

In later years when I worked as a museum educator at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I recall more than once the pleasure I received teaching elementary school groups in front of a still life of cakes, raisins and a glass of wine by Raphaelle Peale. The pleasure came from coxing out of them information they already knew.  “What time of Year do you think it is?” I would ask and eventually by looking at the fruit, in particular the raisins, they would see that it was fall or winter.  I then would ask them to be more specific,  to consider the cakes. Eventually seeing the green and red sugar decoration on the cakes they would conclude that it was probably the Christmas season. The discovery that they did not have to get all the information from me but rather they could make discoveries on their own by looking and putting the clues together was a happy revelation for many a child.  At least that was my intention and my hope.

For more about the Peale family Play Video

Six Persimmons

June 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was introduced to this painting while in college. It was in an aesthetics class on Asian art. I have always loved the painting.  It is somewhat like a mental talisman that I now turn to when dealing with other examples of still life painting. I came across this odd lecture about the six persimmons a few days ago. It goes long and the speaker is a bit quirky but if you have the time you might enjoy this and learn a bit about the work of an intriguing Chinese painter from the distant past. This is a man who did not fit the conservative mold of his time.     Play Video

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