Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Day of the Dead in San Miguel de Allende I

November 3, 2013

It Goes Back a Long Way

The dead are always with us, and in Mexico on the Day of the Dead they are invited to enjoy the ofrendas, or offerings—of food, photos, favorite objects—that the living set out for them. Under the portales that flank San Miguel’s Jardin Principal, the living and the dead may eat in close proximity:


The Day of the Dead descends from the great cultures of Mesoamerica— Olmec, Maya, Zapotec, Teotihuacan, Toltec, Mixtec, Aztec—spiritual ancestors, masters of death and life:

Dod1_2 Read on

Anselm Kiefer Digs the Dirt

August 21, 2011

Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow
A Documentary Film by Sophie Fiennes

It’s great fun to watch Anselm Kiefer work. It’s also sometimes heart-stopping, as when he patters around in flip-flops while he and assistants smash large panes of glass into piles of shards. Or when, sans goggles, mask, or gloves, he wields a powerful, long-handled blowtorch, melting lead in a cauldron while standing precariously atop the steep slope of a giant pile of dirt.

Watching him work is the best part of Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow, a documentary by Sophie Fiennes, who followed Kiefer around his vast art-making complex outside of Barjac, France, shortly before he decamped to Paris in 2008. In fact, the amount of installation-work he was doing at a point apparently close to his departure suggests a whole dimension of performance art designed to be filmed.

Kiefer moved to Barjac from Germany in 1993, and made a lot of art—at one point he casually mentions “112 lorries full” of art already trucked away, presumably to galleries, museums and private sales. But, he says in the film, he plans to leave a lot in Barjac, too—some kind of sculpture or painting in every room or house, of which there are many. Some appear to be freestanding sheds, small outbuildings with doors through which you can peer at a painting or installation. Others are bare suggestions of houses: cobbled together from pieces of cast cement in varying sizes, they are stacked one atop the other, so many mad leaning towers across the landscape.

Read on

Giorgio Morandi at the Met

December 7, 2008

You have to love a painter who loves both Masaccio and Cezanne—the first introduced perspective to help launch the Italian Renaissance, and the second began the flattening that became a hallmark of Modernism. Morandi himself (in a major retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art through December 14th) may be a forerunner of Minimalism, but I prefer to think of him in the same serene eternity of clear, even light as his artistic forebears.

Everyone knows that Morandi painted small objects—bottles, boxes, bowls, pitchers, butter molds—endlessly rearranging and repainting them, often in series.  I loved his work early on, then thought I was bored by its sameness. In this show, I fell in love with his work all over again, happy to be seduced by its amazing variety and extraordinary subtlety. No one has better evoked the essential, mysterious thingness of things, even as his work became so abstract that his late watercolors were miniature color fields, compared by the Met’s wall text to Rothko. But then, Morandi himself pointed out that “Nothing is more abstract than reality.” Read on