Thursday, November 11, 2010

Trek To the Thek.

As I was saying I went up to the Whitney Museum to see the Paul Thek retrospective and Modern Life: Edward Hopper and His Time both shows are definitely worth seeing but be warned the Hopper show is packing them in. The Thek show was a revelation for me simply because ...I hadn’t really seen much if any of his pieces in person. so everything was new for me. I knew of the meat and body fragments works, mainly through reproductions, and in the early 70’s I showed with a German gallery that also showed Thek so I might have seen a piece or two of his when I was in Germany. Its amazing how spiffy and clean even messy and difficult work becomes when placed in a museum space, and this is certainly true for the Thek show. The installation is very impressive big and spacious and makes Thek’s eccentric sculptures, paintings and bits of what not left over from his lost installation works look terrific and compelling. His small paintings hung low around a gallery with lights hanging over them and small chairs placed here and there have a familiar feel to them, maybe because so many artists are painting like this today, small quirky canvases busy with images and color. I also liked his small bronze sculptures of things that are laid out on a oriental carpet. The guards were biting and were all over me for trying to snap a few pictures, so I could only take one or two shots when they weren‘t looking . The galleries were pretty much empty which was fine with me, all the crowds were downstairs at the lovely Eddie Hopper show. It’s always wonderful to see his lonely paintings that is if you could see them over the heads of all the groups, straggling old ladies with their headphones glued to their ears, telling them what they are looking at, and what to think of them and the annoying children. This is a cheap show for the museum to put on since all of the works from what I could tell is from their collection. Its not only a show of Hoppers but also a show of his contemporaries including beautiful work by John Sloan, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Charles Demuth, Guy Pène du Bois, Charles Sheeler, Charles Burchfield, Ben Shahn, Reginald Marsh and some others.



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