Thursday, April 06, 2006

Country Mouse and I take a trip

The Country Mouse and I try to take a trip to the city for non-business related stuff once a month. Often we'll just spend the day wandering through the Met. This time we had an Agenda.

We both wanted to see Kara Walker at the Met : After the Deluge. I wanted to see The Indonesian Textile show and we both want to get over to the Whitney to take in the Biennial.

Ambitious visual day, but worth it.

First we saw the Ikats. It was a small show with an amazing group of textiles from the Met's collection. What can I say about them... I've always been drawn to the Indonesian clothes. Primarily because of the dense visual language in them. This time I was especially interested to see the use of surface embellishments on the already complex and integrated dyed cloth structures. I felt a little bit like I was giving myself permission to add the embroidery to my stuff. Yes, I twisted it around to me. There was a technique that I hadn't noticed before where the cloth is woven with slits and it's all planned out for future dyeing. Technically I'm in awe,

Wandering, wandering, wandering through the Met slowly working our way to the Kara Walker.

The installation of this show was what I first noticed. It made me want to walk in and start exploring. There was so much to think about here. Narrative, identity, art history, time, I'm still processing it. It carried you through and dropped you and picked you up again and challenged and lulled and did all kinds of things with a power that was very much like the power of water.
I think I need to go back and see this again.

After the experience of the Kara Walker exhibit we were both a bit reluctant to go to the Whitney.
That and it was raining/snowing/sleeting outside, But we decided we should.

I always feel a little bit queasy about large group shows like the Biennial. There's stuff I love and stuff I hate and then there is the whole show.

It was crowded with people and art and that felt like a good thing. So many people looking at art.
I wondered about the surface quality of a lot of the work. It all seemed to be so loud and wanting attention, without any idea of why. So much of the work seemed to speak to history. Looking at history because it was/is lost and the history was an anchor. There was a feeling of "Hollywood" and wanting to be a star, too.

There was the underground bunker of early 20th century art (Duchamp) ideas by Sturtevant. I laughed out loud. There were the pastoral videos referencing 19th c. landscape painting by Michael Snow. There were works that looked at the sixties and ones from the sixties. Many things had a"hand made" quality. I felt a lot of ideas were presented but I guess I was really questioning whether the execution allowed for the ideas to be more than one liners.

I think that I wanted to be more "affected" by the show. shown something, not yelled at. I was glad to leave the noise of it all and get some lunch.

We did a little bit more wandering and stumbled on a little show at the Met with coptic textiles.

I just enjoyed looking at them. Too much thinking in too few hours.

And then the drive home.

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