The Bechtler Museum of Art hosted two shows worth of art by Antoni Tapies and the Giacometti family.
Went to the Bechtler Museum to look at Picasso’s prints of bulls, pottery, and scenes adapted from an Honor de Balzac book. In comparison to the blockbuster shows one sees at the High Museum, this exhibition makes for a small show they confined to one room. On the bulls, the Toro prints have this very Japanese feel with its dark opaque shapes and light lines. Other prints show scenes of dancing nude women while old women look at them. An interesting study of contrasts. On the pottery, it left me ambivalent.
At the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, I went to see a lecture courtesy of Atlanta’s High Museum of Art’s director, Michael Shapiro. The lecture consisted of two sections. The first revolved around him building relationships with other museums such as the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York. He makes developing partnerships with these museums and borrowing their artwork look so easy. In his powerpoint, he had group photos of everyone smiling, eating cupcakes, and wearing museum brand t-shirts. Not to mention the whimsical political cartoons depicting Shapiro and his activities in a light-hearted way.
The second section promoted the High’s current exhibition of all the heavy hitters found in the Modern and Contemporary Art eras. Matisse, de Chirico, Pollock, Miro, Bourgeois, Duchamp, Picasso, Leger, Johns, and Warhol. I must admit, this part brought me back to sitting in art history survey courses, and taking in a lot of artists, but not going truly in-depth. However, Shapiro did show some interesting factoids behind the artwork featured.
Probably the easiest lecture to sit through. No incredibly dense knowledge, but a simple lecture on how much fun running a museum and collaborating with other museums.
After a lecture and a photography exhibit, I settled down to watch a concert with my mother at the Bechtler Museum. While there, I also attended the Four Artists in Ascona show. The four artists themselves? Italo Valenti, Ben Nicholson, Julius Bissier, and Rafael Benazzi. Out of all, Ben Nicholson stood out with his drawings of architecture. One can appreciate the simple, clean lines as they depict a building. On the other hand, Benazzi created lovely little figurines. Furthermore, Italo Valenti’s paintings reminded me of Jean Arp’s collage of squares.
The theme of this Music and Museum performance revolved around the Spanish arts. The Bechtler Ensemble played music from Astor Piazzolla, Manuel de Falla, Isaac Albeniz, and Joaquin Turina, while a Juan Miro painting stood next to them. Piazzolla’s Oblivion evoked a sad and melancholy atmosphere. Manuel de Falla’s Suite Populaire Espagnole had a lively spirit. Continuing on, Isaac Albeniz’s Suite Espagnola No. 1, Op. 47 went back to somber with the occasional bits of liveliness. However, it felt like the guitar and cello fought against each throughout the pieces. Finally, Turina’s Circulo ended the concert with three movements that paid tribute to the hours of the day. As usual, director John Boyer regaled everyone with information on each composer in between performances and a profile on Juan Miro. All in all, a good way to end a day of art.
Before I begin, I would like to tell you that I did not write any notes for this report. Why? My cellphone battery went low, so I turned it off. In short, I am writing what I could remember.
Last sunday, I ended my pilgrimage to the Mint Museum Uptown and the Bechtler with a concert from the Music and Museum. The composers? Johannes Brahms, Darius Milhaud, Igor Stravinsky, and Max Bruch. The artwork featured? Two works by Roger Bissiere, a member of the School of Paris that the Bechtler Museum has on display until next year. While his paintings left me ambivalent, Bissiere’s career as an art historian left me intrigued. I will find his books and review them in the future. For this concert, they used clarinet from the first piece to the last. What I have learned from this concert? When the right composer makes a song for it, the clarinet makes quite the fun instrument. For example, Igor Stravinsky’s 3 Pieces for Clarinet Solo The quirky and fun tone of the work made me want to giggle. However, I loved the Milhaud piece, Suite Op. 157b for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano. So lively and so diverse. I had a lot of fun listening to the Divertissement-Anime and Jeu-Vif sections.
Amateur Art History Reports: The School of Paris Post World War Two in the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art
After looking at the grand exhibits of the Mint Museum Uptown, visiting this museum feels so intimate. For this exhibit, they moved the walls around and added more artwork by artists by they already had. How small, you ask? Here, eight artists round out this small exhibit. Nicolas de Stael, Roger Bissiere, Alfred Manessier, Gustave Singier, Edouard Pignon, Maria Elena Vieira de Silva, Alberto Magnelli, and Pierre Soulages. While they all had the same motifs, such as painting objects that ranged from the stylized to unrecognizable, they each had some distinct style. Magnelli had a clean look while Pignon and Manessier had a very messy style to their works.
Regarding Alfred Manessier, as much as the museum has made this man their mascot, it took me a while to warm up to his work. I did find his series of paintings known as The Canticles of Saint John of the Cross. While the caption boxes wrote that each painted reflected the poems’ subject about the relationship between humans and God, Manessier’s painting represented something different for me. For me, they represented a being that constantly changed its shape. However, when I learned that he based it on the poems, I now saw them as two figures melding into one another. His manuscripts were a nice addition. One looked like a medieval manuscript, which makes sense since he spent time in churches. However, one artist stood out to me, and he went by the name of Gustave Singier. His painting, Untitled 1957, depicts a quadruped running under a strange sky. I do not know why, but this intrigued me to know end. I also liked his other paintings such as Collines and Untitled 1956. Why? I find him incredibly talented when it came to rendering lines. Now, I am aware that I have neglected in talking about the others such as Maria da Silva, but her work did not stand out to me. However, when I looked for her works online, I found some very good paintings.
Before I end this report, as I walked around the permanent exhibits and saw the tapestries by Picasso and Leger, I realized that Charlotte museums will always find a way to add textiles to an exhibit.
During the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art concert, they had four paintings out on display while the quartet played music by Shostakovich, Maurice Ravel, and Borodin. In between songs, the directors gave history lessons of what it was like to be an artist during a time of war. Like the previous concert, they put art by Alfred Manessier on display. The museum put this concert together to promote an upcoming show about the Parisian art made during World War 2. Honestly, I was not as riveted as I was during the first concert. I did love the playing of one of Ravel’s songs. I loved the way the song started out soft, then gives off a menace, then flutters like a butterfly, then returns to its menacing tone, picks up speed, then ends smooth and silky.
By Richard Maschal