As part of my in-studio artist residency, I wanted to plan a few field trips out of studio to spark some creativity with a change of location, and going to art museums always helps to get that going — art museums help to remind me why it is that I paint. Why do art? Why live art? Because. Art.
As part of my itinerary, I planned to focus my day visit to concentrate on three locations: the Guggenheim, the Whitney, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). There were particular artists I was hoping to see, but mostly I just wanted to wander and see what I could discover. This was my first visit to any of these museums, and I think a second visit is already in order.
Some artworks from the Whitney Biennial still remained, so I wanted to see that first. I’ve been following some of these museums on Instagram, and I looked forward to seeing some of the featured art pieces in person.
During my art journey, I’ve found my deepest connection has been to the the art spectrum between the Impressionists and Abstract Expressionists. I don’t tend to get into very conceptual art or hyper-realism — but I do fall in love with color, texture, expression, emotion, and impact.
When I walked into the Guggenheim and one of the first galleries as I walked up the rotunda featured Wassily Kandinsky. I have always had a love affair with Kandinsky’s work, but most of that was from seeing images in books, postcards, and on the Internet. To see a few of his signature pieces in-person really made me have to sit down. My favorite part of seeing great artists’ work in-person is to see the brush strokes and texture — two things that don’t always come across in a reproduction found in a book or postcard. I like to get close to the painting and actually view it from the side, seeing the variations of the surface.
The the Guggenheim I also rediscovered Frans Marc and Delaunay, both have work of incredible color and form.
Visiting the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was also an incredible experience. Besides wandering the building like a fool just curious to see what I’ll see, I enjoyed the exhibits. My very favorite was stumbling across a room that contains three larger than life panels of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies. When I entered the space and viewed the painting, I teared up at the corner of my eye. I’ve seen Monet’s Water Lilies in books and on the Internet, and I recently finished teaching a class on the great impressionists about a month ago. But nothing quite prepared me to see Water Lilies in person. There’s a vivid and sacred ethereal quality to the combination of colors, the reflective brushstrokes, and masterful means of inter playing colors so as to make ambiguous the delineation between water, land, and sky. Viewing the water Lilies is an immersive experience. After I had explored the rest of the museum, I went back to the Water Lilies about a half-hour before closing time and sat in the presence of the beauty of the mural. There’s a stillness, a calm, and quiet in the imagery that causes people entering the room to quiet themselves, like a sacred space, a chapel of art contemplation.
That’s where I’ll leave this post. There’s still many images, artists, and experiences to process from this exciting and packed art adventure, but I have to save some content for other blog posts, right?
I ended my day, before going to the Port Authority for my bus, by enjoying a delicious hibiscus iced tea on the deck of the MoMA overlooking the courtyard.