…I love New York City and here is one reason why:
I really love Gerhard Richter. Go and see the exhibit before January 9, 2009 (and take me with you.)
I visited the Richter exhibit at the Marion Goodman Gallery at 57th and 5th Avenue on Tuesday with my friend, Matt Reeg and enjoyed it so much that afterwards my mouth was sore from smiling. I had always been impressed by books and photographs of paintings by Richter and a few months ago I even saw (a tiny) one at the Met. But I had never seen a Richter in the flesh until a few weeks ago when I visited the Chicago Art Institute where there is a whole room devoted to really big Richter paintings.
Richter’s use of color, textures and layers excites me on a purely visceral level, but also intellectually: he’s rethinking abstract expressionism is such bold, effective and revolutionary ways. He paints these gorgeous abstracts, turns around and then paints the photographic-blurry motion paintings is such painstaking detail. I love the tension between violence and calm in both texture and timbre, and not always in the same proportions or same places: sometimes he paints pastel washes with incredible, violent textures. Other times, he paints brilliant, bright colors so placidly. I love that the abstracts seem so haphazard and violent and that the photo-motion paintings are, in contrast, so meticulously and cooly crafted.
Richter inspires me in a way that most living composers don’t.
- Prolific. We saw paintings from 2008-09: there must have been 50+
- Stylistically diverse: one might mistake the show for three different artists if you didn’t know his varied themes
- Prolific + stylistically diverse = many painting in different aesthetic categories.
This differs from the career of most composers (and especially successful American composers) who:
- Write comparatively little, maybe 1 or 2 works a year, totaling maybe 40-70 in a lifetime.
- Stylistically unified, often writing long stretches of either very similar pieces or embrace a general eclecticism that allows a number of different style that relate similarly over a number of works.
- Few works + stylistically unified = a brand.
Thus, I count Richter, the architect, Jean Nouvel and Wolfgang Rihm in my personal artistic pantheon: people whose careers I model my own after. While each has a definite voice or voices, each is prolific, stylistically all-over-the-map and, most importantly, is equally unafraid to either repeat themselves, change directions or produce bad work in transit. That’s artistic courage and to make a career of it is inspiring.
It’s days like this that make me reconsider my loveless marriage with New York. My friend, Matt Reeg organized a very nice “Welcome Home” day for me after I returned from the VCCA. We planned to go see the Gerhard Richter and he suggested we visit an exhibit of David Hockney’s, a painter I don’t know well, as well and he prepared and organized a terrific brunch as his apartment to kick the whole thing off.
Hockney’s latest works are gorgeous. Going to both exhibits reminds me that the uninitiated probably enjoy art with a more vivid, childlike wonder than those of us that practice it – or at least in a different way. I need to do that (and go to dance concerts, which do the same thing for me) more often.
After our Midtown gallery visits, we visited the Met’s Samuri exhibit thinking it was the “big show” reviewed in the New York Times. It wasn’t, so we spent an hour looking at 40-50 different sword blades…
Caroline Shaw, my former roommate hosted a caroling party in Brooklyn that ended an exceptional day – one of those days that make me give NYC another, friendlier look.