Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Gauguin to Warhol: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery at SDMA

Gauguin to Warhol: 20th Century Icons from the Albright-KnoxArt Gallery, an exhibition that traces the path of Modern art through iconic 20th century works from this renowned collection in Buffalo, N.Y. is showing at The San Diego Museum of Art from October 4 and runs through January 27, 2015.

We are so fortunate to have this wonderful exhibition visit our city. These are major works by reknown names that are familiar to most art enthusiast. Impressionism, School of Paris, Modernist, Surreal, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, Color field and process work are all included. Of course names are left out, but what you view is an excellent representation of what is agreed are some of the best from the period. You can go and learn about how these works lead one to the other as they are display chronologically, or you can go and simply glory in the wonder of the art. 

What stuck me is how little the collection says about the collector besides his desire for the best. John J. Albright  donating funds for a new building and the Albright Art Gallery was dedicated on May 31, 1905. During the 1950's Seymour H. Knox, Jr., became the museum's most influential supporter, not only making possible the building of a new addition  but also amassing a brilliant collection of 700 artworks. Knox was helped by Gordon M. Smith, the director who did forward scouting. Knox was a polo player and charming and gained confidence and funds as director of various large companies: Marine Midland Bank, the F. W. Woolworth Company, New York Central Railroad, and the American Steamship Company. We can really see Knox as a patron in the classical manner who gave money and time to have his vision realized. What we wonder, is role of the 21st century patron?

I have chosen just a few very personal works to illustrate the show and they might not be your choice or even the best of the works in the show. But they spoke to me on this day when all the American sports are playing at one time...baseball, basketball and football. This show is the equivalent of the dream team and it certainly is major league.

Thanks to SDMA and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery for the use of these images.

This work from 1012 captures the flurry of motion of this little dog and it's leash as it depicts more than one view of each. Time and motion caught together on canvas and still amazingly charming.
Giacomo Balla:
Dynamising a Dog on a Leash,
1912, oil on canvas
overall: 37 5/8 x 45 1/2 x 2 5/8 inches (95.57 x 115.57 x 6.67 cm)
Bequest of A. Conger Goodyear and Gift of George F. Goodyear, 1964

Contrast the above with a slightly out of character Francis Bacon: Man with Dog, 1953, oil on canvas. A fairly early canvas which speaks of things to come, but in it's own way is also charming.   Did anyone else see glimpses  of Dan Adams in this?
framed: 62 1/4 x 48 3/8 x 2 3/4 inches (158.115 x 122.8725 x 6.985 cm)
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1955

It is always nice to be suprised by a work you have not seen before and this Jim Dine: Ten Formal Fingers, 1961, wood relief with oil, is one of those. I love the fact that they are fingers looking like match sticks in a box. 
framed: 75 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 4 3/4 inches (192.41 x 76.52 x 12.07 cm)
The Martha Jackson Collection at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, 1974

This Adolph Gottlieb: Pictographe, 1946, oil on canvas was so seductive with it warm shades of red, pink and corral. 

overall: 37 1/8 x 49 3/16 x 1 1/2 inches (94.30 x 124.94 x 3.81 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David K. Anderson to The Martha Jackson Collection, 1976

I really was stuck with this work by John Beech: Large Elmer Painting, 1993-1995, 2000, glue, turmeric, plywood, steel and MDF...until I read the label. I did not know this artist at all. The soft sheen of the surface is intriguing and I finally remembered where I had seen this effect....dried Elmer's Glue. Could that be the reference to the title. Tumeric gives it the color and shading? Isn't it fun to discover something so simple and so effective. 
overall: 77 1/2 x 35 x 3 inches (196.85 x 88.9 x 7.62 cm) Gift of Natalie and Irving Forman, 2003

I am always glad to see a well planned educational component for an exhibition and SDMA has been improving continually in this regard for the last 10 years. You are offered paper to do traces of shapes on this light box, then able to rub different textures and add color. Adult as you can see here as well as children get to be hands on artists right in the gallery. No appointment necs, not extra fee.  Bravo.

There is an excellent pop up shop also in the exhibition and I was especially taken with these figure puppets of Picasso, Warhol and Dali. I did not include the one of Van Gogh as he had two ears.

I also admired these intensely colored Miro and Delaney inspired embroidered  pillows covered. Art you can lean on!

No comments:

Post a Comment