Max Beckmann in New York. The Met
I actually went to the Met yesterday which was a Sunday in New York and most knowing natives know never to step foot in this great place on a Sunday, but I did. Ok sure it was crazy crowded and the cozy packed show of these great paintings by Max was a little cramped and lazy with stalled ladies who lunch stopping for a rest in front of the paintings blocking my view. It was ok, it was a friendly chatting crowd with much eye contact and silly remarks about this and that, "Is that a spider in the painting" one older gent asked his equally old spouse." "No dear its a plant that is dried up and decayed, he was making a point about Germany I guess." Sweet. Anyway this is a stunning and great show of about 39 paintings that Max did in New York, but many of them were done in other places, Germany, Paris, Amsterdam, but the Met got around it because they are now owned by collectors and collections in the city. It seems a bit forced to me, but hey we get a chance, a rare chance to see many of his wonderful paintings in one place, so I'm not complaining. If you don't know Max now is your chance to hurry on up to this palace and move your eyes slowly across his bright and garish scenes of nightclubs and other places where the artists and writers both in Europe and New York hug out. They verge on the abstract sometimes, but Max was a realist through and through but one can relish his lavish use of color and outlines, shapes and figures of flash and glory in these very bold and beautiful works. He's known for his portraits including many of himself and these don't disappoint, the same holds true for his rare group of landscapes that end the show. I grew up seeing his work at the Moma and for me this is a great treat of a show. Max poor Max died of a heart attack on the street as he made his way to this very place to see one of his paintings in a group show, he never made it, but all of us can make it for him. One of the best exhibitions of the year.