Wednesday, March 22, 2017

American Folk Art Museum

Righ now there are two magnificent exhibitions on view at one of my favorite museums in New York.

Eugen Gabritschevsky who was born to an affluent family in Russia in 1893 and went on to study the natural sciences with a special interest in insects before he lost his mind in 1931 and spent his long life in a psychiatric hospital in Germany where he made hundreds of wonderful intricate beautiful drawings, gouaches and watercolors incorporating his varied interests in the sciences. These are jaw dropping works, intimate and intricate with flights into his mind where he brings back worlds of fantasy and theatricality to share with us. His use of color, line and design and his use of this materials are very sophisticated and unique. Check out his wall of bird drawings. I loved his work and there is so much pleasure in this show to be had that I almost cried.
As if this wasn't enough take a gander at the show up the stairs at the equally amazing array of about 55 paintings by the Italian Carlo Zinelli who was born in 1916 to a peasant family who also had a hard knock life.Finally after a bad turn in the Spanish Civil War he had breakdowns and was committed to a psychiatric hospital in 1947 where he spent his life making these remarkable paintings and drawings in bright colors and intricate line work many of which incorporate writings. To describe the sheer beauty and exuberance of these works is pointless you have to see them in person. Many of the drawings and paintings have images on both sides and they are nicely installed so we can become verso with them. Both shows were curated by the great Valerie Rousseau who might very well be my favorite curator in the city. This is outsider art on the highest and most sophisticated level, moving and inspiring these shows made me glow all the way back to Brooklyn. These two great exhibitions are up until August and if you are limited in time and energy these should be at the top of your must see lists. Fuck the Whitney Biannual these shows are the real thing and admission is free.


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