TIO NYC: Textiles, Cameron,Turrell and Hopper at the Museums

TIO NYC: Textiles, Cameron,Turrell and Hopper at the Museums

Metropolitan Museum of Art: “Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade” and Julia Margaret Cameron:

GLOBE ExhPage2Set your watches back to the 16th century, a colorful time in history, when countries including Portugal, Spain, France and Holland created a virtual cat’s cradle of trade routes on the world map. This “Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500 – 1800” is the subject of a eye-dazzling, sprawling exhibition now on display at New York’s august Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Here’s how the curators described the show we were privileged to see last  week:

Textiles had been traded between Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe for hundreds of years, primarily along lengthy overland routes. In the mid-fifteenth century, the fragmentation of the Mongol Empire triggered heightened instability along the vast Silk Road. European trade with Asia also suffered after 1453, when the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople. In the face of these disruptions, Europeans set sail in search of an ocean route to the Spice Islands of Southeast Asia and found valuable exotic textiles along the way. The newly discovered sea routes directly connecting Europe to the rest of the world enabled the creation of the first truly global trading community. As Europeans found that textiles were welcome currency for other goods (including human cargo in appalling numbers), the scope of the textile trade expanded significantly.

Trade textiles, which, by definition, were produced by one culture to be sold to another, often reveal a conglomeration of design and technical features. New and exotic designs were imitated by craftsmen in the East and the West, stimulating markets and production. Trade textiles functioned as the primary objects that engendered widespread ideas of what was desirable and fashionable in dress and household decoration across cultures. They served as status symbols for their owners, advertising the wearer’s sophistication and knowledge of the wider world. Highly accessible, these popular cloths influenced the material culture of the locations where they were marketed and produced, resulting in a common visual language of design recognizable around the world.

For three centuries, the universal language  was written in silk thread. Allow the sumptuous exhibition to weave its magic. 

(Through January 5.)

Julia Jackson 1867

Julia Jackson 1867

Photography: Julia Margaret Cameron

Notably and incredibly this is photographer Julia Margaret Cameron’s first solo show at the Met – despite the fact she is one of the reasons the nascent medium, initially an art world afterthought, became elevated to the status of fine art.

One of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography, Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) blended an unorthodox technique, a deeply spiritual sensibility, and a Pre-Raphaelite–inflected aesthetic to create a gallery of vivid portraits and a mirror of the Victorian soul. This is the first New York City museum exhibition devoted to Cameron’s work in nearly a generation – and, as we said, the first ever at the Met. The jewel of a show of just 35 works is drawn entirely from the Met’s collection.

When she received her first camera in December 1863 as a gift from her daughter and son-in-law, Cameron was 48 years old, a mother of six, and a deeply religious, well-read, somewhat eccentric friend of many notable Victorian artists, poets, and thinkers.

“From the first moment I handled my lens with a tender ardour,” she wrote, “and it has become to me as a living thing, with voice and memory and creative vigour.”

According to the curators, Cameron was “condemned by some contemporaries for sloppy craftsmanship, she purposely avoided the perfect resolution and minute detail that glass negatives permitted, opting instead for carefully directed light, soft focus, and long exposures that allowed the sitters’ slight movement to register in her pictures, instilling them with an uncommon sense of breath and life.”

The exhibition features masterpieces from each of Cameron’s three major bodies of work: portraits of men “great thro’ genius,” including painter G. F. Watts; poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson; scientist Sir John Herschel; and philosopher and historian Thomas Carlyle; women “great thro’ love,” including relatives, neighbors, and household staff, often titled as literary, historical, or biblical subjects; and staged groupings such as her illustrations for Tennyson’s Idylls of the King or her Annunciation in the style of the Italian artist Perugino.

(Through January 5.)

imagesGuggenheim: James Turrell quietly dazzles (only through September 25)

Enter the museum  – if you can get in. The show is a blockbuster and unless you are a member, you will wait on a long line – and join the love in: bodies eschewing their New York insouciance, lying cheek to cheek (literally) on the floor of the central rotunda or reclining on benches, looking up in reverie.

James Turrell’s first exhibition in a New York museum since 1980 focuses on the artist’s groundbreaking explorations of perception, light, color, and space, with a special focus on the role of site specificity in his practice. At its core is Aten Reign (2013), a major new project that recasts the Guggenheim rotunda as an enormous volume filled with shifting artificial and natural light. One of the most dramatic transformations of the museum ever conceived, the installation re-imagines Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic architecture—its openness to nature, graceful curves, and magnificent sense of space—as one of Turrell’s Skyspaces, referencing in particular his magnum opus the Roden Crater Project, begun in the Arizona desert in 1979 and ongoing.

Reorienting visitors’ experiences of the rotunda from above to below, Aten Reign gives form to the air and light occupying the museum’s central void, proposing an entirely new experience of the building. Other works from throughout the artist’s career are displayed in the museum’s Annex Level galleries, offering a complement and counterpoint to the new work in the rotunda.

Organized in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, James Turrell comprises one of three of major Turrell exhibitions spanning the United States throughout the summer and into the fall of 2013.

Here’s what the New York Times had to say about the big museum ticket of the season:

New Light Fixture for a Famous Rotunda: James Turrell Plays With Color at the Guggenheim

By Roberta Smith

James Turrell’s exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum will probably be the bliss-out environmental art hit of the summer. This is primarily because of the ravishing “Aten Reign,” an immense, elliptical, nearly hallucinatory play of light and color that makes brilliant use of the museum’s famed rotunda and ocular skylight. The latest site-specific effort from Mr. Turrell, “Aten Reign” is close to oxymoronic: a meditative spectacle.

Continue reading here.

And watch this video for a preview

A study for "Nighthawks," Edward Hopper

A study for “Nighthawks,” Edward Hopper

Whitney Museum: Hopper drawings:

Edward Hopper, (1882–1967) was the Top Gun among the realists of twentieth-century America, whose alchemy transformed the ordinary into visual poetry.

Another first like the Cameron gem, the Whitney exhibition featuring Hopper’s work, another must-see, showcases the artist’s creative process, which rhymes with his drawings.

Hopper’s drawings reveal the continually evolving relationship between observation and invention in the artist’s work and his tireless interest in the spaces and motifs of quotidian subjects—the street, the movie theatre, the office, the bedroom, the road—that he would return to throughout his career.

The exhibition, which features 200 drawings, the most extensive presentation to date of the artist’s achievement in the medium, was culled from the Whitney’s unparalleled collection of Hopper’s work, which includes over 2,500 drawings bequeathed to the museum by his widow Josephine Hopper, many of which have never before been exhibited or researched.

The exhibition surveying Hopper’s significant and under-appreciated achievements as a draftsman, pairs many of the artist’s greatest oil paintings, including Early Sunday Morning (1930), New York Movie (1939, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art along with the 52 studies Hopper made for the work), Office at Night (1940), and Nighthawks (1942), with their preparatory drawings and related studies.

This show also includes groundbreaking archival research into the buildings, spaces and urban environments that inspired his work.

(Through October 6.)

1 Comment
  • Meredith Nemirov
    Posted at 07:20h, 23 September

    Really appreciate this post since I am going to NYC beginning of November. The textile show at the Met sounds fantastic.
    Any other notices would be great! Enjoy NYC!