Thursday, July 23, 2015

CMA: The Self Portrait

I thought it would be fun to take the girls to the Yoko Ono solo show at MOMA. Maybe have them try some of Yoko's famous suggestions. "Imagine yourself at the center of the earth," etc. But when I mentioned this idea Sofia said, "I want to go to the place with the big balls!"

I said a silent "Ono!" But I learned a lesson (for about the 10,000th time.) When the wind shifts, adjust your sails.

Apropos, the first thing the girls did at CMA was make sailboats.

And they float!

Mine won't float, but she's pretty.

Speaking of keepers, this artist, Julie Hefferman, is incredible, in the Breughel, Bosch, Hopper sense. Here's a small detail of her Self-Portrait (as tree house) done in a Magical Realism style that I was so glad to see. 1/3 of CMA is a gallery and the theme for this quarter is "Self-Portrait."

 Zoom out. Imagine the creature reaching for the rope.

Zoom out further. The level of detail in this imagined self-portrait is fantastic.

If you look close, lower left, you can see a group of men carrying away a boy, and two girls comforting one another. A giant boulder has just been rolled onto the bridge to the treehouse, to bar anyone form either coming or going.

Self-portrait as red circus tent. Julie Hefferman

The layers of the self-portrait; There's the woman in a mask looking out on top. Then the drilling down to the cinema below.

Painterly detail (from above tent, upper right.)

This is the second show I've seen at CMA (see earlier review in the blog thread) and I have to say whoever curates here is great.

Back to the kid's art...

Sofia painting the outline of a rose with her "helper"

Rose and vase

Sofia's happy Kali face

Lucia's fantastic use of negative space

Sofia's second painting was even better.  She said, "I'm never going to finish this!" 

    Self-portrait sculpture by Julie Hefferman. The "eye" is a video of endless burrowing inside of a tree, an eye burrowing ever inward, a wild and incredibly poetic image.

    Lunch break. 

    Meanwhile, I looked at this book that I found in the Free Library on the way to the museum. The Free Library, A repurposed newspaper stand on Queens BLVD, is a magic portal, and I often find the perfect thing there. Genevieve and I both love this author and have not read this book. I think this book will transform our lives. It is a gift for the family from the ever impressive universe.

There's a fun house mirror in the cafeteria. Of course.

Here's another unforgettable series of self-portraits by Gail Leboff. They set my imagination to flight. I love the idea of ice skating over these frozen arctic landscapes.

Now, finally, for the big balls that drew Sofia here in the first place. These re-purposed exercise balls create a playing field of simple genius. It is unbridled id for the kids, pure joy.

One more set of phenomenal self-portraits, Joe Fig's meticulous dioramas are recreations of artist studios. 

Here's Barnett Newman in his studio

Red Grooms' studio

This one was exciting for the girls because they know Grooms' artwork from his huge Egyptian Theater installation at MOMI.

 Look at that perfect little PEARL bag. So much work must've gone into this.

Sofia noticed, with the thrill of discovery, that the handles of Grooms' desk were made of staples. Nice. I would've never noticed that from my perspective.

Jasper Johns in his studio.

I forget who this artist is, but I loved his work in miniature. 

And, again, look at this detail! So much love. Bordering on obsession.

This is the Clay Bar. We had to make an appt for this one. But the Clay Barista was great at helping the girls learn to sculpt.

I was excited to go into the music studio, but will have to wait until the girls are six.

Sofia playing architect with a new friend, who quickly became her helper.

Caught this mini Michael Jackson impersonator in the subway on the way home.

The 1 train was over-full and since I had the stroller there was no way we were getting on, so I ran as fast as I could while the people were getting on, weaving between obstacles, to the end of the train, just hoping to find a little space to fit into. 10 cars down or so I found a small space and got us on. Total action movie drama move, dad style.

This was the other book I found in the free library on the way to the museum, a companion book to the Snow White volume I picked up the weekend before at a library book sale in Rosendale New York. Both books are about evil jealous stepmothers. And Sofia pointed out that in both cases the princesses are helped by animals. Odd, why this theme now? Later today we would find out when we read "Sofia the first." In this "revision" Sofia meets with Cinderella and Cinderella tells her to forgive her stepsister, Amber. It is as if Disney were righting it's earlier wrong in painting the stepsisters and mother as evil.  The magic free library strikes again.

Also if you notice on this page there is a clock, which is telling Cinderella that  time is running out. In a nice example of the 4th dimension, as I was taking this picture Sofia told me to hurry up and finish the story before the train stopped. Clock was ticking. So I did and was able to JUST finish it by the last stop. The stuff of fairy godmothers. 

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