Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Exhibitions 2011


New York magazine recently published their Fall preview issue and highlighted some of their favorite upcoming art exhibitions in the City. I'm not keen on their choices, although two are on my list of shows to see. As bklynbiblio readers know, I love Autumn in New York. The past few days have been glorious, with daytime temperatures about 70 degrees. I've had my windows open for days now it's been so delightful, with a slight chill in the air at night. It's invigorating after the brutally hot and humid summer we've had. In fact, I think I hear my sweaters waking up from their slumber... Autumn is the major kick-off season for exhibitions at museums, so it's not surprising that there are a few goodies I want to see:
  • High on my list of late Summer exhibitions here in NYC is The Buddhist Heritage of Pakistan: Art of Gandhara at the Asia Society. This is a major loan show that almost didn't happen because of political relations, and showcases important ancient Buddhist art that has never been shown in the US before. They've also just opened a show commemorating the 150th birthday of Rabindranath Tagore, the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for literature, focusing on his accomplishments as an artist.
  • Another major Asian art show, "Wonder of the Age": Master Painters of India, 1100–1900, is opening at the Met and promises to be quite an event with a number of beautiful works infrequently seen or appreciated in the US. The Islamic Art galleries are also reopening to the public after an extensive overhaul and redesign. The Met also just opened Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine, which focuses on cartoons and comics and will leave you laughing out loud.
  • The Brooklyn Museum has some interesting shows opening. Sanford Biggers: Sweet Funk--An Introspective looks like it will break the boundaries of objective sculpture in this contemporary artist's first museum exhibition. Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties should be delightful, celebrating America's Jazz Age. At the top of this post you see the 1928 portrait of gay artist Paul Cadmus by Luigi Lucioni that is part of the show (image: Brooklyn Museum). Speaking of gay art, I'm thrilled that Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the controversial National Portrait Gallery-organized exhibition on gay and lesbian art that I went to see in Washington, D.C. with RL last December, is opening here on November 18.
  • MOMA's retrospective on Willem de Kooning has been getting good reviews, so I may venture over to see that, even though I'm not a big fan of his work. I always feel like a strain of ├╝ber-masculine misogyny bleeds through his pictures.
  • Contemporary photographer and conceptual artist Hiroshi Sugimoto has a show opening at the Pace Gallery.  Sugimoto is fantastic, one of my favorite contemporary artists. He merges Western and Eastern ideas together in ways that make you rethink what you understand about life, nature, and religion. His monochromatic seascape photographs are evocatively beautiful and eerie at the same time.
  • I'll be at the Yale Center for British Art later this Fall, where I'm looking forward to seeing their exhibition on the 18th-century painter Johan Zoffany.
  • I'm also heading to London soon and will be seeing a few exhibitions there too, such as Art for the Nation: Sir Charles Eastlake at the National Gallery. Hardly anyone knows who he is today, but in his day Eastlake and his wife Lady Elizabeth Rigby defined artistic taste in mid-Victorian England.  He was President of the Royal Academy and the first Director of the National Gallery. The exhibition on apocalyptic 19th-century painter John Martin at Tate Britain should be great, but at £14 to get in, I'm hesitating with that one. The V&A also has a delightful show on the career and costumes of Annie Lennox, which I confess I really cannot wait to see (love her!).  So in the spirit of celebrating Ms. Lennox and the Eurythmics, we'll close with the 1983 video that started it all, "Sweet Dreams Are Made of This," a song which oddly enough my mother absolutely loved.

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