This large ceramic piece, a very impressive work, looks like nothing so much as a weird interchangable screwdriver tip.
The title does give an impression of it being intended to represent a spear, something primitive and rough. Instead, it is precise, angled, lightly spiraling. The coloring makes it seem as it is it glowing, as if metal had been placed in fire.
The key to this piece within the Anderson is the placement. It is in a corner with the mysterious eye on the other side, and miniature city-like models across the way. It stands out, because of the hazier nature of the rest of the work. It is concrete, solid, in a world that is defined by it's light.
Fashion is performance. Regardless of the situation in which a piece of clothing is placed, the very act of wearing something, of moving, is performative. In a way, fashion is an instrument within a concert of the waking world.
I actually feel kinda dirty for having written that last line...
Nick Cave (not the singer) creates Soundsuits. These are constructions that are designed to be both performative and sculptural. Created at, or slightly above, human scale, they provide a sheath for the wearer such that almost all aspect of who is beneath are invisible. In fact, the way they are presented at The Anderson makes me think any of them could start walking around at any moment exactly because they are so masking. The forms used to conceal the wearer vary, but often include yarn, baubles, sequins, and other elements that are commonplace, and often would be seen as cheap or disposable.
Each Soundsuit seems to tell a different story that is as deeply concealed as the wearer. The one with the abacus for a face seems to be talking about the role of thought and the out-moded nature of the human mind compared to computers. The one with the trees and tree limbs seems to declare that all humanity is comes from nature.
These are miracle pieces, and intensely well designed. Even static as they are at The Anderson, they are performing. They are jungle gyms in an artistic playground, they do not have to move to seem to flow through everything.
A look at a piece in the Anderson that I completely over-looked... I mean saw beneath...
This sculpture is fascinating to me for a number of reasons. It's shapes do not conform to my understanding of what woodcarving is, and the fact that it is allowed to retain it's general woodiness, it's not overly colored or given an extreme staining, makes it something different for me. It's as if it was produced to confuse me, to think that this was some sort of artifact from the 19th century, a sort of piece that had some use in a mill or a livery, but whose details were lost in the transition to the exhibit. It's not what I think of when I think of Abstract Expressionism, and I don't tend to envision sculpture in that realm anyways (David Smith not withstanding) but the forms just make me think that this must have had some use and if I just think on it for a while I will find it, be able to decode it.
But it never comes, and maybe that's the most abstract expressionist experience of all: the piece you think is useful that is not.
I talk a bit about the situation in which a piece of art is encountered as being a defining matter on that work. Here, a piece that would work if it were on display at The Children's Museum or The Tech sits in a major Modern Art gallery. What's it mean? That's a big question I won't even try to answer...
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Three Minute Modernist Podcast - The Anderson Collection - Untitled Standing Figure by Manuel Neri
In this episode, I look at a statue by an artist who leaves me cold...
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This is a dangerous door. There is no other way I can see it. Perhaps it is the silver section that resembles an un-cased razor blade, or maybe that at the angle I usually encounter it at the museum gives the impression of that same area as an open door with nothing behind it.
This piece, for no good reason, is one I return to every time. When you've been to a museum more than a dozen times, you might skip a fair percentage each visit, but this one, this one is always on my viewing list. Why? Because there is something dangerous to it, and that, that will always draw the eyeballs.
Like much of Rothenberg's non-figurative work, I have no feelings for this piece.
I will just leave these here, then...
Living in 2017, this is the most powerful piece on display in the Anderson collection. Three police officers, batons in hand, on three separate panels. Done nearly twenty-five years ago, it depicts three police officers, their eyes shielded, and while not in full riot gear, they are obviously prepared for something to happen, and to appear prepared, they have to have their batons in hand, they have to appear ready to use them.
There are few things better than things that, at least somewhat unknowingly, make use of the location where they are displayed. Like the winds that rise during the perfect moments of Shakespearean productions held outdoors, a sculptural piece in a setting that perfectly allows the true enjoyment of it makes my heart soar. The San Jose Museum of Art has been amazing about that, using the skylight and vaulted space as a setting for pieces that can take advantage of such. Here, in the new exhibit of the work of Diana Al-Hadid, Liquid City, we are treated to a piece that perfectly uses its environment.
The piece Nolli's Orders, is huge, covering somewhere around 100 square feet at least. It is fibreglass and aluminium foil, and steel, and paint, and plaster, and wood, and polymer gypsum, and more. The combination of all of this gives us an illusion, as if we are looking at some great, tiered city built on the still-standing ruins of some marvelous temple complex. There are figures reclining on it, though they are only fragmentary.
Then, there is the dripping.
The layers appear to be either melting, or what I think of as the process that builds mighty stalagtites, mineral-rich droplets forming threads, threads turning into ropes, ropes becoming columns. This effect is so beautiful here, and it captured me, and the three people in the gallery with me, for almost an hour as, examining and, maybe it was only me, envisioning what mighty stories lay in each of the layers.
Christopher J Garcia - Curator, Fan Writer, Podcaster, and a guy who just loves art.