Saturday, January 07, 2012

Munich's Brandhorst Museum

Went with Angie today to the Brandhorst Museum while Tom and Sophie went bowling with the church.  Few know that Angie really likes art and has always "delighted" the children with a slew of art museums in our travels.  I think if she could do anything she liked would get an advanced degree in art history and try to teach somewhere.

It's a museum of modern art featuring individuals like Andy Warhol, Sigmar Polke, and Cy Twonbly.  I don't usually enjoy this sort of art, unless someone can explain something about it to me that is clever.  To be honest, a good deal of the museum confirmed the stereotype to me--even the audio guide explanation of some of them sounded completely goofy.  I wouldn't hang anything from Cy Twonbly in my house unless you paid me (then I would--actually, Angie was reminding we do have one of the better Twombly's already in our home from when Stacy painted her own room).

However, there were some pieces I considered quite clever and stimulating, especially with explanation.  I liked this Warhol, for example:

It's meant (so the audio guide said) to show the faded reality of the communist dream of the hammer and sickle, and the sickle handle in the bottom left has the kind of stamp you would see in a US tool store.

I liked this piece by Sigmar Polke:

It's called Liberté, Fraternité, Egalité, the cry of the French Revolution.  You can see what that turned out to mean in France.  Polke insisted that it only be bought by a French museum, but no French museum would take it. ;-)

There were a couple other things I thought were clever.  I thought clever the idea of a piece of art being a showcase with stuff in it--the showcase being part of the art rather than art being in a meaningless museum showcase. But what Joseph Beuys put in the showcase completely made the piece uninteresting.

A couple of Cy Twombly's stuff could have been clever, if he hadn't completely trivialized the spark.  I thought the idea of a piece of art being a classroom chalkboard had great potential... if it didn't have his meaningless scribble on it.  I kept thinking of the scene from White Chicks where all the paint falls on the stage and splashes the audience and one of the artists in the audience thinks it is so bold, so revolutionary.

Finally, the museum currently has a couple of exhibits by Isaac Julien.  This is video art.  The second exhibit, One Thousand Waves, had 9 screens of video going on.  They juxtaposed themes ancient and modern but what I thought was fascinating was the way the screens created a panorama.

I thought of my own friend Dan Steller and how a whole new kind of movie could be shown where you had different screens going with different parts of each scene.  Some could be background (like the background Chinese forest in Julien) or with features of the scene (like the temple on some of the screens in Julien's, taken from different distances). Some could involve the center stage, but other screens could involve side conversations or even a narrator looking on (like the goddess of safety looking on in Julien).

So there were some things in the museum that, after being explained, I thought were quite clever, at least to me.  As for the rest...

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