Last weekend a trip to New York City was jam-packed with museums, gallery exhibits, and a visit with Dorothea Rockburne.
Her recent body of work on astronomical stardust paintings had just come back from a show. (The attached image is called Harmonic Intervals). It was amazing to see her gigantic studios (both at least 10,000 square feet with 30 foot ceilings) and finally to chat with her. She knows Frank Stella, Raushenberg, John Cage, and many other amazing artists. She suggested that I go see three shows: the Stein collection at the MET, Frank Stella's black paintings at the Aquarelle Gallery, and Lucien Freud's drawings at the L & M Gallery. I saw all three!
The Lucien Freud exhibit was inspiring. I purchased the catalog. My husband and I spent a lot of time looking at the drawings, watercolors, and prints. I was especially drawn to the portraits for which he became famous.
At the end of the day, we traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, to see three shows there: Storytelling in Japanese Painting; Stein's Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-garde; and Printed Image in China, 8th-21st centuries. The narrative scrolls and standing screens in the Japanese painting show were extraordinary. I spent a long time looking at the way certain spatial tropes were used by these painters, whether in the scroll format or screen format. I am intrigued by the skewed perspective as well, and how narrative is incorporated.
The Chinese print show was also fabulous. It was thrilling to see the first known serial use of a woodblock in a print. It was also enlightening to discover the extent to which printmaking was so crucial for the dissemination of Buddhism beliefs, and later a conduit for socio-political and cultural commentary. The technical mastery of these prints was astounding.