blog > Posts tagged "MOMA"

Lesson of a new parent #3: Love the mystery by Misha Lyuve

Oct 31, 2014

Matisse at MOMA

When at the end of his life Henry Matisse, couldn’t stand up and paint, he dedicated himself to art of scissors and developed series of cutouts, currently presented at the Museum of Modern of Art in New York City. The exhibition, full of child-like optimism, reminded me that while art might have an explanation, it’s not the point – the deliciousness of art experience lies purely in art’s mystery.

In fact, I was reminded of that by my two 11-month old daughters whom I brought with me. They didn’t express any interest in headphone lectures, the neat fonts of wall explanations or even artwork titles. But you should’ve seen them: they were ecstatic; they pointed at the art work with their hands; they stared into the shapes and vocalized their excitement. Had there been an opportunity, they would’ve touched them and even ate them.

This exhibition evoked a very similar emotional reaction in me. But I was consumed with something else – I desperately wanted to understand: what exactly are they seeing? What specifically they are reacting to? What’s happening inside of their cute little heads?

I have to admit that these questions have been following me all along. Many parents find the process of child development fascinating – because it truly is. And we want to know – so we read books and consult specialists; and then we come up with questions, seek explanations and look for answers. And often that is what a good parent should do. But not always.

Some time in the middle of the exhibition I let go of my unanswerable unnecessary questions and embraced my children’s mystery. One of my daughter was sitting in the carrier close to my heart and we were standing right in front of a Matisse’s whimsical masterpiece. And this double mystery felt like heaven.

Lesson #3: Love the mystery – stop asking questions; observe and enjoy instead.

This post is a part of Lessons of a new parent cycle. (If you missed, here is Lesson of a new parent #2 – Reciprocity)

Mattisse

Photography by Laurie Lewis

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

The Artist is indeed Present by Misha Lyuve

Jul 15, 2012

 

“I test the limits of myself in order to transform myself, but I also take the energy from the audience and transform it. A powerful performance will transform everyone in the room” – Marina Abramovic 

Marina Abramovic is a performance artist that in over 40 years of her career ruthlessly pushed boundaries of physical and mental limitations in her work such that during her performances she was cut, burnt and even almost died once. Just to give you an idea, in one of her performances she prepared 72 objects (e.g. scissors, a gun, a rose, a feather, a scalpel) for audience to use in whichever way they wished while she stayed still for 6 hours (Rhythm 0). And if you were following the past few of my posts, coincidentally, Marina played out her own funeral in a play Life and Death of Marina Abramovic.

The Matthew Akers’ documentary “The Artist is Present”, that recently came out, is about Marina’s life and work. It is named after Marina’s 2010 project at MoMA. 3-month, 736-hour performance involved people sitting with Marina in publicly displayed one-on-one sessions in silence. This eye-gazing exercise overwhelmed participants with emotions, made them cry (this is a fascinating set of pictures from her performance “Marina Abramovic Made Me Cry”), created several-block long lines and drew about 700K visitors to MOMA, like no other exhibition.

I can only imagine the depth of being with Marina one-on-one, but even through watching her in the movie, I was left with an experience that I know this person very intimately. This drawing openness of Marina is no coincidence – I think it is attributed to her working-out her emotional knots and exploring so much of her inner self through her art.

Marina says that unlike theater, in performance “knife is real, the blood is real, and the emotions are real”. There is no place to hide and she made it very clear in all her work. “The Artist is Present” was just the next stepping stone in how much she could push herself to open.

I am much fascinated by the boundaries of consciousness and our physicality and I make my small steps in exploring my inner self. But I am way too terrified of pain and judgments of others to take it to Marina’s scale. I am grateful that someone is showing the way.

In case it didn’t come across – I highly recommend watching “The Artist is Present.”

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.