Four Museum Exhibits You Must See This Winter

There is never a shortage of fabulous exhibits at New York City’s museums. Miriam Silverberg reviews four you’ll want to add to your winter list.

David Hockney at The Metropolitan Museum

 Four Museum Exhibits You Must See This Winter

The Metropolitan Museum is having a retrospective of the work of David Hockney, who came of age in London during the Wild “mad” ‘60s.  Examples of both his abstract and realistic works are present, but I much preferred his more realistic work.  See what you think.  This exhibit celebrates 60 years of work and his 80th birthday.  His most iconic works are presented.

Hockney examined, probed and questioned how to capture the perceived world of movement, space and time in two dimensions.  The exhibition offers a grand overview of the artist’s achievements across all media, including painting, drawing, photography and video.  From his early engagement with modernist abstraction and mid-career experiments with illusion and realism, to his most recent jewel-toned landscapes, Hockney has consistently explored the nature of perception and representation with both intellectual rigor and the sheer delight in the act of looking.  I was especially interested in his double portraits that show the tension existing in social relationships.  I thought they were wonderful.  The exhibition starts November 27 and runs until February 25 so do make time to see it.


Veiled Meanings:  Fashioning Jewish Dress at the Jewish Museum

Four Museum Exhibits You Must See This Winter

There’s a great exhibit at the Jewish Museum of apparel from over 20 countries offering an exceptional opportunity to view many facets of Jewish identity and culture through rarely seen garments.  Veiled Meanings:  Fashioning Jewish Dress is from the Collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.  This will be on view until March 18.  Clothing Covers our bodies but It also uncovers.  In Veiled Meanings we consider to what extent our choice of dress and our Surroundings affect our decisions.  The presentation focuses on how clothes balance the personal with the social, how dress traditions distinguish different Jewish communities, and how costumes portray Jewish and secular affiliations within a larger societal context.  I found especially interesting the first section of the exhibit, “Through the Veil,” focusing on veils and wraps worn by Jewish women in Afghanistan, Iraq and Uzbekistan, demonstrating the influence of local Islamic culture on Jewish dress.  It’s really very interesting and well worth a visit.  When you go, take your time because there are four sections to the exhibit and they all deserve your time and attention.

When you walk into the lobby of the Museum you’ll see another exhibit, Math Bass:  Crowd Rehearsal, on view also Until March 18.  In Crowd Rehearsal there is a svelte, ladderlike sculpture draped with a coatlike painting set against  two canvases with early identical imagery.  It’s interesting.


Josef Albers in Mexico at the Guggenheim

Four Museum Exhibits You Must See This Winter

Through February 18 the Guggenheim Museum is presenting Josef Albers in Mexico, an exhibition illuminating the relationship between the forms and design of pre-Columbian monuments and the art of Josef Albers who was born in Germany in 1888.  It features rarely shown early paintings, iconic canvases and works on paper.  It also includes a rich selection of photographs and photocollages, created by Albers in response to frequent visits to Mexican archaeological sites.

I enjoyed this last group of photos most and found it really interesting.  With letters, studies and unseen personal photos alongside work drawn from the collections of the Guggenheim and the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, it presents an opportunity to learn about the least known aspect of his practice, photography, offering new perspective on his most celebrated abstract works.

An artist, poet, theoretician, and professor of arts and design at the Bauhaus, Dessau and Berlin, Black Mountain College in Asheville, N. Carolina and Yale University, Albers worked across the mediums of painting, printmaking,

Murals and architecture.  With his wife, the artist Anni Albers, he traveled to Mexico and other Latin American Countries more than a dozen times from 1935 to 1967 to visit monuments of ancient Mesoamerica, which archaeologists were then excavating amid a resurgence of interest in pre-Columbian art and culture.  On each visit Albers took hundreds of black-and-white photographs of the pyramids, shrines and sanctuaries at these sites.  This is what I found most interesting.  You may enjoy his paintings more, but do go and see what you think.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.


Edvard Munch at The Met Breuer

Four Museum Exhibits You Must See This Winter

Chances are, when you hear the name of the artist, Edvard Munch, you immediately think of “The Scream,” his most famous Painting.  But he was prolific and did so many more paintings.  The Met Breuer is having an exhibition of Munch’s work called “Between the Clock and the Bed,” taking its name from the title of his last self-portrait.  The exhibition features 43 of the artist’s compositions created over a span of six decades, including 16 self-portraits and works that have never before been seen in the US.

Munch’s work all had a theme of death, despair, isolation and anxiety.  Not surprisingly, Munch had a mental and physical breakdown in his younger years.  He never really seemed to be happy.  But his work is haunting and important.  He is one of the most important artists of the 20th century, dying in 1943.  His self-portraits follow Munch, the artist and the man, from youth to old age.  These fascinating “self-scrutinies” as Munch called them, are documentary, confessional, psychological and fictionalized.  Many are deeply personal works from Munch’s own collection, now held by the Munch Museum in Oslo.

This is a must-see exhibit.


Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity agency in Manhattan.  She may be reached at silverbergm@mindspring.com.

 

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