Friday, April 12, 2013

Museum Thursday: El Anatsui at the Brooklyn Museum

My boyfriend and I have started doing this thing we call Museum Thursdays.  It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like; on Thursdays we take a little break and hit up one of New York's many, wonderful museums.  We started this practice recently after realizing that despite having scores of beautiful art institutions at our fingertips, exhibits were coming and going right before our eyes and we were never making it to any of them. The conversation always went something like, 

Him: Oh, let's go see that Kandinsky exhibit at the Guggenheim before it disappears.
Me: Definitely. Just tell me when.
Him:  Maybe sometime next week. This one is kind of crazy.
Me: Good idea. Let's remember to do that.

...and, well, you know how this story ends.

We've seen so many awesome exhibits this month alone. I highly recommend Inventing Abstraction at the MoMa. It was absolutely outstanding.  We loved it so much that we actually went twice.  Unfortunately, they didn't allow photos so I don't have any images available from that trip. However, it's up for a few more days, so if you can catch it this weekend, go before you kick yourself for missing yet another fantastic art experience!

But about yesterday.  

Yesterday we went to the Brooklyn Museum to see Gravity and Grace: Works by El Anatsui.  If you are new to El Anatsui's work as I was until a few months ago, this radio interview from the Leonard Lopate show is a great introduction. Of course, nothing compares to seeing his installations in the flesh. As I walked through the exhibit, I found myself marveling at the extraordinary textures, colors, and vision involved in his creations. With bottle caps and bits of discarded cans and metal he creates impressively large-scale works. I can't call them sculptures because to me they felt like experiences. My boyfriend can attest to the fact that by the time we left the exhibit, my frame of mind had changed and suddenly I was seeing my own life in a different way. Just take a look at the few photos I took.  

These striking tapestry-like piece is made of flattened bottle caps. Can you believe the texture, color, and movement? My mediocre photography doesn't do it justice.

This snake-like piece I believe is called Pipe. It's made from condensed milk bottle caps. In my mind the caps took on the form of gold coins strung together, and that really got me thinking about the idea of illusion, reality, trade, market price, value, and culture.

There's so much more I'd love to get into discussing about El Anatsui and his artistic point of view which is rife with African cultural references, politics, ancestry, nature, movement, change, and humanity. However, I think it's best to let you experience El Anatsui for yourself so that you can draw your own personal inspirations. I certainly did.

Have you seen any great museum exhibits lately?

No comments:

Post a Comment