Until the beginning of March, the Louis Vitton Foundation (Bois de Boulogne) has opened its doors to two hundred masterpieces from American Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). I was very lucky to visit the exhibition and (re)discover so many brilliant artists. This article is just a random guy talking about art he liked.
Constructing / Deconstructing art
What I love about modern artists is that they tend to interact with the audience. Two artists in particular have made me question the notion of changing art in this exhibition. Felix Gonzales-Torres created sculptures made of sweets, asking the public to help themselves with one. With only 85 unique structures offered to the MoMa (the artist died in 1996), there will be a point when its oeuvre, Untitled (USA Today) will cease to exist. If I remember well, it was metaphorical for his illness which would kill him eventually. With that piece, visitors were part of the deconstruction of art.
Another artist who interacted with the public was Slovakian Roman Ondák who, contrarily to Gonzales-Torres, used the people to construct his piece. Measuring the Universe consists of measuring the visitors and writing their first names and the dates they came.
I participated in the second one, as I was happy to be part of a Modern work, but I didn’t take a sweet, as I felt guilty (ridiculously).
USA Today, Gonzales-Torres
Measuring the Universe, Ondák
As you might have seen on my blog, I love the art of photography, and it is the only visual art I have tried. The exhibition offered a look at different artists, and proposed as well anonymous works. The aim was to show the evolution of the art, from daguerreotypes to digital photos, and explore its different uses. I cannot unfortunately talk about all of the artists, but I can present three I liked : Walker Evans, Man Ray and Jeff Wall.
Walker Evans is famous for his photojournalism during the Great Depression. His work was first presented in the MoMa in 1938, before the Department of Photography was created.
I knew the name “Man Ray” but could not associate it with any work. And then, I recognized one : Anatomies, because it was used for the cover of a Cigarette after Sex album. I do love black and white photos, especially when they tend to be abstract. I can only advise to search for Stieglitz’s art if you like them too.
Finally, Jeff Wall. After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue was definitely the work I prefered in the entire museum. Created in 1999-2000, it depicts a scene from Ellison’s novel, in which the narrator steals electricity to light his thousand bulbs. It is a huge photo on a light box, which catches the eye from far away. The picture is a representation of loneliness (we can all rely), but most importantly of the condition of black people in the America of the 1950s.
Anatomies, Man Ray 1941
After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue 2000
I could carry on for hours on the dozens of artists I have liked in the museum (Picasso, Frida Khalo, Hopper, Signac, and so many more).
A part of the exhibition was dedicated to the history of the MoMa, with a collection of books, pamphlets, photos and videos about the evolution of the museum. I very much liked to learn more about the people who created it and those who contributed to its expansion. Thanks to them, we have the chance to admire the best works ever made since the 1880s, and although I talked a lot about famous people, I was lucky to get to know contemporary artists I didn’t know.