April 13, 2012

a visit to the MOMA

I am going to New York in a month. To say that I'm excited would be a bit of an understatement. The last time I was there, the 2010 Biennial was on display. Now I can see the 2012. Like any dedicated, nerdy art historian, I've made a exhaustive list of every museum I would like to go to. (This also includes operating hours and days they are closed...) Then, there are the sub-lists -- all of the current exhibitions, traveling and permanent collection, that I want to see. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll get through most of the list. There is an exhibition at the Met  that struck me as interesting -- it's not my number one, but it got me thinking about a few things. Spies in the House of Art: photography, film, video is about art that uses/features art in museums in the final product. Images in a museum showing/reacting to images in a museum? I tossed this  into my brain and begin to turn it over a bit. It mixed with a couple of other things I've been mulling over --


 Yashica D imagery popping up in my current watercolors

other viewfinder designs

visiting museums in New York, VISITINGMUSEUMSINNEWYORK.

Then. Then, I got a nagging need to make these.

Visit to the MOMA, Irving Penn

Visit to the MOMA, Henri Rousseau

Visit to the MOMA, Pablo Picasso

This series was prompted by something I see frequently on museum visits -- the "trophy hunter."  This person takes digital pictures of the "greatest hits" as he travels through the museum. I've always been a little put off by photography in a museum setting -- mainly because it can be damaging to the work and disruptive to other patrons. With low levels of light designed to protect art and a "no flash photography" policy, it can be near impossible to snap a digital picture of good quality in galleries. Why bother even trying? I have to question if these people are actually looking at the art, or are just finding it, taking a picture, and crossing it off some sort of mental list.  I have created imagined viewfinders and placed them over images of notable pieces from the MOMA collection. This is what I suppose people see when they spend the majority of a museum visit with a camera separating their eyes from the actual work.

These images have been cut from an art history textbook published in the mid 1980s, and have been scanned into the computer to achieve the "off" colors that photographing in low light (and then attempting to retouch the images) can result in. Each image is roughly the same size, removing any important or remarkable differences in scale -- much in the same way digital images viewed on a computer screen would be.  See the rest of my Visit to the MOMA images here.