I had a very nice time yesterday meeting my friend Lorene in New York. We ate lunch at Via Quadronno. I had the pureed vegetable soup served with strips of garlic and herb-seasoned bread. Delicious! Lorene had a sandwich of black olives and goat cheese that she enjoyed. Lorene is very interested in politics and had some insightful thoughts on the situation in Tunisia. After lunch we went to the Whitney. Charles LeDray creates sculptures consisting of miniature clothing, books, and pottery. Seemingly whimsical, on closer examination, the works are distressing: when one considers the ‘stuff’ of our lives becoming the junk found on sidewalks, as evidenced in the workworkworkworkwork sculptures. These are based on items sold by street vendors in the early 1990’s on Astor Place. His sculptures from human bones upset us. We wondered how the artist was able to find human bones. Next, we saw Modern Life: Edward Hopper and his Time. It was a cozy show, small in size and scope. I enjoyed Charles Burchfield’s mystery-tinged painting and Hopper’s less studied watercolors and etchings. Seeing a hawk in flight, a great blue heron fishing, and watching the sun go down from my train window were lovely. More information about the exhibitions at the Whitney: http://whitney.org/Exhibitions
I have to say something about the best part of the vacation. That is, I was fortunate enough to see the exhibit, The Modern Woman. It is the first exhibition of drawings from the Musée d’Orsay. The exhibition explores women’s changing role in 19th century society and how that was reflected in French art. To see just how spectacular the show actually is, visit their site http://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_the_modern_woman.html: After reading the first paragraph of curator Isabelle Julia’s essay, Imagining the modern woman, I know why the exhibit moved me so:
Pliny the Elder relates that the maiden Dibutade, faced with her lover’s departure, traced the profile of the boy’s shadow on a wall with a piece of charcoal, thereby introducing the art of drawing to Greece. Love invented the pencil stroke to hold onto a shadow, … Others report that a prince fell in love from gazing at a portrait. Which came first, drawing or love? The two emerged together, of course, inseparable as the body and its reflection, as the line and the paper supporting it. We love while drawing and draw while loving. To look at women and girls in their various states of being means to draw them for the sake of love, for love of the body and of drawing, for love of the fleeting shadow that the hand tries to hold back. To draw already means to love. — The Modern Woman: drawings by Degas, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec and other masterpieces from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. Isabelle Julia, Curator. Vancouver Art Gallery/Musée d’Orsay, publishers.