SFMOMA

A Day at SF MOMA

Taking sketch breaks is a perfect way to to avoid the tired feet and visual overload that usually happens to me at a major art museum. The San Francisco MOMA was our destination last Thursday and the Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit. Rather than trying to head home before the rush hour, we stayed through dinnertime and benefitted from a more relaxed approach.

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Lamy Joy fountain pen and watercolor in Beta series Stillman + Birn sketchbook

If you feel a bit like you’re on a ship while looking at this, then I achieved my goal of communicating my experience of Snohetta’s architectural design for the new expanded MOMA.  There are so many interesting angles, both inside and out, that one needs to continually re-balance to stay grounded. Perhaps that’s what happened to the bronze statue, which I sketched in an effort to reconnect with gravity.

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I made it through the exhibit about five minutes ahead of my friends and got this much down before they showed up. It’s enough I think. Always better to only sketch what one sees. The mind fills in the rest.

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If you watch an Alexander Calder mobile long enough, the up and down of perspective gets lost and you no longer miss it!

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Looking up through the Occulus as the light pours down. It’s not a subject for a quick study, more an opportunity to record a tapestry of favorite visual moments.

Channeling Bruce Conner

Last Saturday we took the family to SFMOMA to finish off our Thanksgiving festivities with  a visit to the Bruce Conner exhibition “It’s All True” and others.

As you walk into the Conner exhibition you are met with his words:

MY WORK IS DESCRIBED AS BEAUTIFUL, HORRIBLE, HOGWASH, GENIUS, MAUNDERING, PRECISE, QUAINT, AVANT-GARDE, HISTORICAL, HACKNEYED, MASTERFUL, TRIVIAL, INTENSE, MYSTICAL, VIRTUOSIC, BEWILDERING, ABSORBING, CONCISE, ABSURD, AMUSING, INNOVATIVE, NOSTALGIC, CONTEMPORARY, ICONOCLASTIC, SOPHISTICATED, TRASH, MASTERPIECES, ETC.  IT’S ALL TRUE.

His assemblages, collages, and ink blots in particular evidence the kinds of techniques we explore in Muse Groups all the time. Add in the rest: the films, the photography, the music, the social commentary and explorations of identity – it all made for an intensely satisfying museum experience.

So in an effort to share it with my Muse Group on Monday we did a “channeling Bruce Conner” lesson. We got out the inks and the nylons and old lace and antique book illustrations and metallic ephemera, and it was an explosion of wonderful weirdness. The first piece here is mine.

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She’s getting her hair done and mind blown. She can’t stop thinking about the clothes she’ll wear and who will see her and what they will think. But what does she think? She struggles with this a lot. The voice of her grandmother rises up and twines around her like the ivy outside her window.

“Pay attention” says granny in her thin raspy voice. “Care for your loved ones and most of all love yourself. Take the time to find out who you really are, dear.”

conner3The tables in my studio groaned under the weight of it all.

conner2Fibrous paper encased in polymer medium. . .

conner4Layers of paper, lace and even some button and alphabet blocks.

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by Muse Bettina

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by Muse Carole

conner6muriel

by Muse Muriel

conner8diana

by Muse Diana

conner7bonnie

by Muse Bonnie

Bruce Conner is no longer alive to be either delighted or appalled by what we have done. I like to think he would smile. In any case I have forwarded a full measure of gratitude for his artistic dedication and brilliance (and all those other adjectives) throughout his long life. Thanks Bruce!