I woke up excited today bright and early this morning because today we went to view the Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert and Jane Meyerhoff Collection Exhibit at the De Young Museum.
I was thrilled to explore the more obscure works of such infamous artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, and Mark Rothko to name a few of the artists on display. It is interesting to note that the series of works until being placed on display here in San Francisco’S De Young Museum, this collection of modern and contemporary art had never left the Washington DC/ Baltimore area before this recent move. Because of this, it is definitely is a unique and rare occasion to see such breadth in the Pop, abstract expressionism, and contemporary art movements collectively from a wide range of renowned mixed media artists..
One thing that was really intriguing about this exhibit is the imaginative materials used by the creators- everything from enamel to silkscreens to collage to silver foil were used so the exhibit boasts variety in color, texture and mediums. While “painterly abstraction” is widely seen within the exhibition, a lot of the pieces tie into the Pop aesthetic and more minimalistic/ graphic centered work as well.
One piece that had particular impact on our visit was Philip Guston’s widely criticized social commentary centered, ” Courtroom” orginally shown at his 1970 exhibition at New York’s Marlborough Gallery where the painting made it’s debut.
Orginally described as “retreating to the figurative style and political content of his art in the 1930s”, it was widely agreed later on after the legendary art show where Guston’s dark humor and the quality of the heavy handed, harmonious paint handling left the viewer questioning the semantics of such large scale, inventive social commentary. It was initially the beginning of the aptitude in the artist’s bold move back towards more figurally inclined compositions after years of committing to a more emotive standpoint. This resonates with me because largely through college, I grasped on more abstract centered-painting in acrylics. A lot of my artwork at this time was inspired by my inclination wanting to learn about textile design and later fueled my interest in surface design.
My favorite part of the exhibit were the large Frank Stella pieces= absolutely brilliant! Such great energy in the De Young today-All around a very nice visit!
If you’re curious to see what Philip Guston’s controversial “The Courtroom” looks like ultimately, I recommend/challenge you to make it out to the De Young before October 12th to view this unique body of many American artists that have paved the way to post modernism and beyond.