Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty. Moma

              On this perfect spring day in New York City what could be more appropriate than a member's preview of the glorious and gorgeous exhibition of prints, drawings and paintings by the great Degas. They're all here, the ballerinas and prostitutes, the cafe scenes and performers, the little seen and known (at least by me) of his almost abstract landscapes. This is a show that you should take your sweet time with, moving slowly from one exquisite little gem after the other, the Moma even has magnifying glasses for those who want to get up close to examine his pastel strokes and his faint finger prints left behind in one print, but not too up close or you'll have one of the guards down on you. Be warned this is going to pack them in. I also want to give a yell out to artists to get an artists membership because they lowered the price to $35.00 and this is one of the bargains in the city.

So the Moma gives us this great show but then gives us a slap in the face and throws us a sour ball of a show by one of the giants of mediocrity, a powerball of nothingness Rachel Harrison whose banal and bad installation Perth Amboy (oh boy) takes up valuable space on the 2nd floor.
The Moma actually bought this garbage for their permanent collection in 2011 and finally dragged it out of one of their dungeons for all to see. Harrison's work takes off on a true story of an apparition of the Virgin Mary that supposedly appeared in a window of a house in the town and she has filled the space with her dreadful large color photos (21 of them for Christs sake) along with dumb and uninteresting small sculptures and assemblages that take on a flea market kitschy feel. She has placed them in and around large tall and open brown cardboard "sculptures" that form sort of a labyrinth within the wasted gallery space. The cardboard is the kind you see laying in the streets, except these pieces are clean and not nearly as good as the stuff that's thrown away every day of the week. There is no doubt that this piece of shit will find it's admirers who will pontificate long and hard on the importance of Harrison and her Perth. I'll stick with the prostitutes on the 6th floor thank you.


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