Beat the Heat! Summertime East Coast Art-Hopping

June 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm Leave a comment

It’s always fun to enjoy great public art when it’s nice outside. However, when the temperature and humidity are on the rise, art museums are even more attractive than usual.
Here’s my Summer ArtHop list of exhibitions and works of art to see in the Northeast to Mid-Atlantic region.
So far I’ve visited the Elliott Erwitt exhibition at International Center of Photography, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art,  and Ai Weiwei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads.
The remaining shows are on my “hope to explore” list.
Stay tuned for exhibition reviews and have an art-filled summer!

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei, 2010, installed at Pultizer Fountain in Grand Army Plaza, NYC. Photo by author.

Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei, 2010, installed at Pultizer Fountain in Grand Army Plaza, NYC. Photo by author.

Photography – Catherine Opie: Empty and Full, The Institute of Contemporary Art, on view through September 5th

Public Sculpture – Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads by Ai Weiwei, at the Pultizer Fountain, in front of Plaza Hotel, 5th Avenue & 59th Street, on view through July 15th, ends soon

*My take-away: I was surprised by the large size of the 12 sculptures and the unusual  blend of quietness and violence. Oriented across the front of the fountain facing Central Park, the disembodied heads seem like spiritual sentries.  Oddly Ai’s work is well suited to the 100-year-old fountain designed by Karl Bitter and provokes one to consider cultural contact and tensions.
For those of you not in the area, you still may have a chance to experience this work because these heads will soon travel to Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. (See the NYTimes article listed below for more information.)

Costume/Textiles – Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, Metropolitan Museum of Art, on through August 7th
Yes, the line is very long to see this exhibition. Last Saturday morning I waited in line for about 30 minutes, but I’m glad I did.
*My take-away: The “romantic artist” rhetoric stated in the exhibit labels is somewhat heavy-handed. In the wall label text the curator attempts to highlight serious themes such as cultural appropriation and racial stereotyping. Unfortunately, the effort is too timid  and the blockbuster-like crowd doesn’t promote contemplation. On a positive note, McQueen’s clothes and the museum’s exhibition design are very imaginative and dramatic. While the show aggrandizes the familiar “the Artist” trope and spectacularizes the fashion industry,  for those with cerebral interests, there’s plenty here to consider on your own.

Mixed Media – Francis Alÿs: A Study of Deception, Museum of Modern Art, on through August 1st

Photography – Lorna Simpson: Gathered, Brooklyn Museum, on through August 21st

Photography – Elliott Erwitt: Personal Best, International Center of Photography, on through August 28th
*My take-away: This show is larger than I expected. It highlights Erwitt’s witty, engaging, dramatic, and stylish work. Beautiful black & white photography. Of all his great work, I found his photos of dogs the most endearing and ironic. Definitely worth checking out.

SculptureIsamu Noguchi at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden, on view through June 30th, ends soon

Textiles – Battleground: War Rugs from Afghanistan, Penn Museum, on through July 31

Entry filed under: Art, Museums, Public Art. Tags: , , , , , , .

Summer of Memory: Memorial News Falling Back into Art! Exhibitions to Explore

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