Sunday, January 17, 2016

First Snowfall: 2015-2016 Winter...and Picasso at MoMA

When you consider that our first snowfall last fall/winter took place around Thanksgiving 2014, it is actually rather surprising that today, January 17, 2016, is the first snowfall of the 2015-2016 winter. And aptly timed for this blog, as I just posted about snow and winter landscapes earlier today. AA and I had brunch on the UWS with JDN, and then AA and I went to the Museum of Modern Art to see Picasso Sculpture, the exhibition about which the critics have been raving.

I hate the crowds and lines at MoMA, but we still were able to get a good look at a number of pieces. It is actually an interesting show to see how Picasso's sculptural styles and media transformed over the decades. There was an introductory wall panel for each room; however, there were no wall labels for the objects on display. At first this was disconcerting, although I quickly realized people had picked up free booklets with all the object information detailed in their hands, or they were listening to podcasts on their iPhones or hand-held devices. Rather than follow their lead, however, AA and I just wandered and gazed at various sculptures we could get close to, and we talked about them without really having complete contexts on which to base them. In many ways it was a more refreshing experience because we focused more on the materiality and design of the sculptures. At one point I even noted that if we dropped Picasso's name from the show entirely, it still was an interesting survey of modernist sculpture over the decades with some excellent works of art. For an artist known to people as a Cubist and hence abstract artist, it was fascinating to see how figurative his sculptures actually were, i.e. faces of his lovers, friends, animals, etc. Even his Cubist-style sculptures were more figurative than one might imagine. We also walked through the Joaquín Torres-García exhibition. I was only familiar with the Uruguayan artist as part of the Barcelona group of circles who moved from Art Nouveau to Surrealism. It was an interesting survey of his career. His own particular Cubist-brand of Surrealistic symbolic language in gray and white, ca. 1930, was clearly the apex of his oeuvre, but after a while the pictures all seemed to be highly repetitive and lacking individuality to my eye.

It had started snowing before we got into the museum, and it was seriously coming down when we left about 4:15pm. The picture you see above I took at the intersection of 79th St. and Broadway, and the brief 5-second video you see here I took outside MoMA on 54th St., and shows you how fast the snow was coming down. It is not sticking to the ground, so we can't call this the first snowstorm of the season, but as I mentioned in my previous post it is still wonderful to watch it fall. I stayed outside longer, walking in the snow, just to relish the cool wetness of it on my head and face.

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