28 October 2010

What I've been doing for the last month: Color Fields at the Deutsche Guggenheim

(to the left the iconic Frank Stella painting,below our very interesting guide with "Wheelbarrow by Gene Davis)

Since my B1 class ended, I have started to take advantage of the many interesting opportunities Berlin gives, in conjunction with different groups and vereins.

My women's group offered a guided tour in the Deutsche Guggenheim of their latest exhibit, with a lunch afterward. It sounded interesting and it was. (This is a standard offering of the DG, just in this case reserved for my group.)

Color Fields art is a style that I found annoyingly navel-gazing. In a period when vastly exciting and world altering events were taken place, artists (the vast majority white males who could afford their self referential lives) played with color. In many ways, this is the type of art that people are speaking about when they say their 3 year old could produce the same art. Methods included the famous flinging paint at a canvas and holding a coffee can full of paint, with a hole in the bottom, over canvas.

Some of it is very pretty to look at (I particularly liked the two above), but others are not. Even those that are attractive can now be made easily with the aid of computers. So it's clever stuff, but not, I find, moving. And I think art should indeed be moving, or it's actually graphic design.

The guide was extremely knowledgeable, the food was lovely, as was the conversation at table. After visiting Peggy Guggenheim's home in Venice last year, I had been meaning to visit this affiliated space (they are both affiliated with the NY Guggenheim) and I am glad to have done so. The space is interesting: it's in the older section of the old Deutsche Bank, to which the Bank returned after the fall of the wall. Deutsche Bank is famous for its art collection (and its practice of "lending" it's art out to its offices and employees throughout the world) and I hope to get back for the guided tour through the offices themselves and the opportunity to see the artworks on display in the upper levels. There are also other intriguing activities available for both adults and children, so I expect I'll be visiting again.


Expats Again said...

I agree with you about color fields. I once remarked to a painting professor that this was the kind of art "anyone could do." His answer, "Yes, but he is the one who did it first." It made me realize that at one time in our history, this kind of painting was considered avant garde, edgy, and groundbreaking. To us, it has been done and redone; no longer eliciting the "Wow!," factor.

G in Berlin said...

There's a lot of truth to it- and I have a lot of respect for good graphic design like that of Frank Stella and Gene Davis (not Jasper Johns) and some Pop Art (which is also basically graphic design). I do think it has no heart, though, and can therefore be printed on bedspreads without a qualm.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea of lending art out to offices instead of being only in institutions.