New Exhibits at the Guggenhein and The Morgan
Countryside, The Future at the Guggenheim
I just saw the most interesting exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum on the changes taking place in the world’s nonurban and rural areas. It’s on until August so you have plenty of time to see it and you will want to see it more than once since there’s so much to take in. This is not an art exhibit. Neither is it a scientific exhibit. It’s an attempt to document the changes in the world’s rural areas down (or should I say “up?” through the ages through urbanization, artificial intelligence, robotic automation, economic Innovation and the like.
As the exhibition unfolds, it addresses questions about the development and role of the countryside over time. What was the countryside historically, what did the major political figures of the 20th century prepare for us, what is the current condition and what needs to be done for the future and in what ways could this take shape?
Outside the museum is a hermetically=sealed growth container for growing tomatoes. Next to it is a state-of-the-art tractor. Inside space is devoted to Japan’s attempt to counter people leaving rural areas for urban by bringing in robots. While looking at this, I suddenly saw a statue move and realized it was a robot. Another very interesting part is how rural areas have become havens for drop-outs, opt-outs, cults, sects, hippies and the like. Another very interesting part is devoted to countries’ attempts to repopulate rural areas.
I could go on and on but leave you with this: go! You will love it It’s fascinating. You will probably see me there as I intend to go often. Get the details.
The Morgan Libary features new exhibits
The Morgan Library has a number of fine exhibits now. Very interesting is the Book of Ruth: Medieval To Modern, celebrating the gift to the Morgan of The Joanna S. Rose Illuminated Book of Ruth in 2018.
This accordian=fold vellum manuscript is 9” tall and an astonishing 18 feet long. It’s presented in conversation with 12 manuscripts drawn from the Morgan’s holdings. It unfolds the Christian traditions for illustrating the story of Ruth during the Middle Ages. The gifted manuscript was designed and illuminated by NY artist, Barbara Wolff. Through the juxtaposition of the modern manuscript with with the ancient works, the exhibition brings into focus the techniques of medieval illuminators that inspired Wolff.
Also interesting is Jean-Jacques Lequeu: Visionary Architect, Drawings from the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. In 1826 Lequeu died in poverty and obscurity but just before his death, he donated his work consisting of meticulous drawings in pen and wash including highly detailed renderings of buildings and imaginary monuments populating invented landscapes. His mission was to see and describe everything systematically—from the animal to the organic, from erotic fantasy to his own visage. Solitary and obsessive, he created these imaginary worlds without ever leaving his studio. The exhibit is well worth your time.
Another exhibit is the drawings of painter sculptor and draftsman, Al Taylor (1948-1999). It explores the artist’s lyrical and witty compositions inspired by banal objects and everyday situations. He drew maps of pet stains, imagined puddles hanging out to dry and elegant drawings of cans suspended on wires. I found it highly amusing.
And don’t forget Alfred Jarry: The Carnival of Being. Jarry had an important role over a century ago in the radical upheaval of the arts. He was an inspiration for Dada and Surrealism and the Theater of the Absurd. He was also a puppeteer, a critic, a novelist and an artist. Did I leave anything out?
I leave you with his statement that “living Is the carnival of being” embodying his anti-authoritarianism and subversive theatricality.Since his death in 1907, his work continues to resonate for figures of the 20th and 21st century avant-gardes.
All of these exhibits are very interesting and I enjoyed them and think you will, too. And they’ll be on long enough for you to see them.
Miriam Silverberg is a free-lance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org