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Clarity, confusion + Magritte by Misha Lyuve
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Oct 26, 2013

Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist.” – René Magritte

Clairvoyance by Magritte

"Clairvoyance" by Magritte

“I want to be confused,” says no one. Instead we adamantly strive for clarity. We thirst for it in communication with our bosses, customers and spouses. We long for it looking for the direction in our lives and prioritizing our goals and aspirations. We rely on it to solve business problems and figure out the shortest most efficient paths to meet business goals. We want it all – transparent, unpacked, devoid of ambiguity or confusion – and we want it now.

Confusion, however, is an ambiguous phenomenon. One one hand, it is the state we prefer to avoid all together. We relate to it as to a flu and try to suppress its symptoms – uncertainty, disorientation and contradiction. On the other hand, it is confusion that generates new ideas, fertilizes creativity and fosters innovation. In fact, the path to clarity lies through confusion. And it is precisely the balance between clarity and confusion that is missing in our lives.

But given that we live in clarity obsessed society, let me share of a secret safe place to indulge in confusion – ART. Specifically I recently visited René Magritte’s exhibition “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

Magritte’s talent is in his ability to interrupt the expected clarity of mundane. When you look at his art, don’t worry about liking or disliking it, because it’s not the point. Instead allow yourself be puzzled, confused, stimulated. There is a mystery of our existence that can be found there; it cannot be trivialized or broken down to clarity.

"Attempting the Impossible" by Magritte

"Attempting the Impossible" by Magritte

"The Eternally Obvious" by Magritte

"The Eternally Obvious" by Magritte

MOMA’s scultpure garden by Misha Lyuve
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Jul 20, 2011

MOMA Garden: Group of figures by Katharina Fritsch

MOMA Garden: Group of figures by Katharina Fritsch

Modern art versus Modern mind by The Art Story Foundation

Apr 20, 2011
This posting is conrtibuted by The Art Story Foundation. Its mission is to make modern art more accessible and digestible to the general public by providing information that is easy to understand, professionally designed, and logically presented.

 

The Neue Galerie is currently inviting its visitors to recline on Sigmund Freud’s couch – or so it seems. In one of the exhibition rooms at the museum, a Persian rug is draped over a couch, with a portrait of Freud perched behind it.  In fact, this is one of the few interactive parts of the museum, the only object you can actually touch.    

This is the conundrum that enlivens and frustrates in the Neue Galerie’s latest show, “Vienna 1900: Style and Identity.” The exhibition brings forward works from the gallery’s own fine collections and unites them with some impressive loans, to explore how the art of the period revealed the emergence of the modern individual. But what we come to realize from the show – and from a session on the couch – is that the good doctor’s ideas didn’t so easily translate into art. Theories of the subconscious weren’t so simple to render using the tools available to the period’s artists.    

Portrait Of Karl Zakovsek by Egon Scheiele

The problem lies with the traditional portrait format that had been inherited by the generation of artists that flourished in Vienna around 1900. An old-fashioned portrait places head on shoulders, and hence, and in ways we’re inclined to miss, it glues mind to body. Yet it was Freud’s purpose to demonstrate precisely the opposite. So it is that even the portraits by Egon Schiele – long considered the paragon of period torment – don’t capture Freud’s revolution, because ultimately they are still founded on the traditional head and shoulders portrait.  What would a portrait that puts the mind ahead of the body look like? Has it been done in Vienna in 1900 or over the subsequent 100+ years of art-making? (read the full article)    

Absract portrait by V. Zunuzin, digital art work (credits to Zunuzin.com)

Undressing a guitar by Misha Lyuve

Feb 20, 2011
This posting is inspired by Picasso: Guitars (1912-1914) exhibition in MOMA.

 

(To the left: Still life with Guitar. Variant state. Paris, assembled before November 15, 1913. Paperboard, paper, string, and painted wire installed with cut cardboard box)

 

The only reason we don’t have our eyes come out on the other sides of our heads looking at Picasso’s work is because we’ve been seeing it everywhere for a while. But if we did, like our predecessors in early 1900s, see it for the first time, we would be shocked. And I am inviting you to be shocked.  

Let’s start with how we normally see: our sight gently glides across an object paying attention to at most its superficial, obvious and/or already familiar to us characteristics. Picasso’s vision of his objects is from inside out, like of a lover. He strips his guitars naked, bringing out the most striking features of the outside and the most intimate of the inside, putting them together in a way that they turn alive, move and make sound even on a two-dimensional canvas. 

Violin Hanging on the Wall. Possibly begun Sorgues, summer 1912, completed Paris, early 1913. Oil, spackle with grit, enamel, and charcoal on canvas. 25 9/16 x 18 1/8" (65 cm x 46 cm). Kunstmuseum, Bern.

 Newspaper, wallpaper, cardboard and sheet music - old and retired from their dialy duties - were not neglected and masterfully repurposed through Picasso’s vision for a new life in the world of high art. 

So yes, let’s be shocked by the creativity and vision of this man. My only problem with Picasso’s vision is that it makes me feel blind.   But also inspired.

Guitar. Paris, March 31, 1913, or later. The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Roerich: between Russia and Tibet to a hidden treasure in New York city by Misha Lyuve

Feb 3, 2011

Roerich Museum, New York city

Some place on the 107th st in New York city there is a small cottage that feels more like a cozy living space than a traditional museum. It is dedicated to the work of Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), a famous Russian painter, philosopher, writer, traveler, and public figure, who left behind over 7000 painting and 30 literary works among other contributions.   

Madonna Oriflamma with Banner of Peace. 1932

While extensively traveling in Russia, Roerich observed how ancient monuments, churches and other historic objects were much neglected and saw a need to have cultural treasures protected in an organized way. It took him many years and continents, but in 1935 this idea was realized in Roerich pact, a treaty among pan-American countries that used a flag (Banner of Peace) to mark the protected historic monuments, especially during the war times. The treaty is still in force.  

Roerich and his family have done very extensive expeditions through India, Bhutan, Tibet, China and Mongolia. And I am looking back 100 years ago, when there were no planes, paved roads, fleece or gortex – but nothing could stop these people to follow their calling to visit far lands to explore them, to learn from them and share them with others. I guess I should stop complaining about the inconveninces of modern travel.  

The works of Roerich are dreamy and rich from saints to glorious mountain views to churches to nature and full of meaning and story and spirit – see for yourself: http://www.roerich.org/wwp.html