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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Whitney biennial

First, I was seized by the Marsden Hartley portrait of Madawaska, Acadian Light-Heavy, Third Arrangement 1940. I could feel the brushtokes, white and black, and heavy around the eyes. Here the massive body stares at you. then you walk through the doors the Nick Mauss has constructed, with cotton appliqué and velvet, with brass doorknobs and doorstoppers, in a reconstruction of the antechamber of Guerlain's First Institute of Beauty in Paris, designed by Christian Berard in1939.
After the doors, some remarkable drawings by the remarkable Eyre de Lanux, one yelling at you: "Consuelo! she yelled "Consuelo! "and, lower, the words "I kneel to you" alongside a feminine torso. Very wow.

And a play on Poussin's Four Seasons, with four sorts of paintings referencing them, in creating new seasons. The raw brushstrokes "question bourgeois sensibility," as in the Poussin, says the wall text. They are, says Jutta Koether, "windows onto a window..."

Most amazing, Elaine Reichek's Paint me a Cavernous White Shore (from T.S. Eliot's "Sweeney Erect," says the citation.
This tapestry-looking object was made with a digital sewing machine, looking back to Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace's 19th century plan for an "Analytical Engine, " the precedessor of computer drawing. Etc.

Oh yes, more, but these I particularly took to...
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