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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