Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lust and Vice: The 7 Deadly Sins from Dürer to Nauman

Lust and Vice: The 7 Deadly Sins from Dürer to Nauman
While we were at the Zentrum Paul Klee to see a Paul Klee exhibit we also got a chance to see another exhibit sponsored jointly with the Kunstmuseum, Bern. The exhibit was called Lust and Vice. The 7 Deadly Sins from Dürer to Nauman (15 October 2010 – 20 February 2011). Part of the exhibit was at the Zentrum and part at the Kunstmuseum. From Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528) to Bruce Nauman (1941 - ) artists have been preoccupied with the theme of the sin. Christianity has thought it through and given us a short list of the sins considered deadly, the Seven Deadly Sins, usually given as wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony. The exhibit catalogs these sins in a variety of media. Some of the exhibit works and some doesn’t. It was exhausting (or maybe we were) to go through it all. Luckily, exhaustion isn’t on the list of seven. 

Seven Deadly Sins On the Kunstmuseum in NeonSeven Deadly Sins On the Kunstmuseum in Neon

Paul Klee – Farbe, Form & Linie

Zentrum Paul Klee
The exhibit Paul Klee – Farbe, Form & Linie (11.9.2010 – 16.1.2011) was an exhibit we saw at the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern. Paul Klee (1879 – 1940) was a German-Swiss painter who produced works in the early twentieth century that crossed several styles including expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. The exhibit’s goal was to “examine the way in which the oeuvre of Paul Klee addresses the elements of picture composition and design. One of its focal points is the interplay and tension that exist between the main elements of pictorial representation, i.e. line, form and color.” It’s hard to appreciate that tension, especially on the first exposure to Klee’s work beyond what you might pick up from popular culture. Klee’s shapes and colors seem simple and innocent and it is easy to dismiss them as something you’ve seen a thousand times before. Yes, you probably have, just imitations and homages and distillations. You have to remind yourself of the time he lived and worked. Not until after the exhibit, in further research, did we appreciate Klee’s struggle to master color (fabre) theory.

The building that houses Klee’s collection (about 40% of Klee’s pictorial work) is the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern (outside city center), Switzerland. The iconic, undulating building designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano is a work of art itself. We got to see it under a blanket of snow and it was a welcoming relief to enter and shed our jackets and the cold. There are some great interior views of the building at the architectural-oriented site, Here’s the entrance of the Zentrum.

Exhibit Brochure
Paul Klee - Farbe, Form and Linie Brochure
Paul Klee - Farbe, Form and Linie Brochure

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Geneva – MAMCO

One of our “snow days” in Morges with Wild Dingo was to visit Geneva’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Museum which goes by the acronym MAMCO. We remember fondly being taken to task by a Seattle gallery owner about the difference between “modern” and “contemporary”… who knew he would be so picky about semantics? The difference between modern and contemporary is that modern refers to Modernism – an art movement or practice, and contemporary refers to a time, now minus 10 to 50 years depending on who you ask, that characterizes when a piece of art was created.

So, at MAMCO, the distinction between modern and contemporary was lost on us and thankfully no one quizzed us. We walked around bewildered. We really didn’t know what to make of what we saw. We laughed, we winced, we explored, we delighted when we decoded a piece or installation, and we even relieved ourselves in an art piece. Well, let us explain. Two of the installations were bathrooms, Toilettes femmes designed by Étienne Bossut, Philippe Parreno, Stéphane Steiner and Toilettes hommes designed by Philippe Ramette, Stéphane Steiner. Well done pieces and functional.

There is work at MAMCO that we never had seen before and quite possibly may never again. For example, an exhibit on Gérald Minkoff, Un portrait and Bujar Marika, Paradox Park. So on the whole, MAMCO was an interesting and thought-provoking stop. What else could you ask of modern, uh, we mean - we think - contemporary art?

We took a train from the Morges train station to Geneva’s and then jumped on a tram to Plainpalais. From Plainpalais go west to find the 10, rue des Vieux-Grenadiers (approximate location).

MAMCO Entrance

Wild Dingo and Travelmarx Shadows

Wild Dingo and Travelmarx Superimposed – Nord 2

Robert Morris – Open Center Sculpture, 1997


Our Snowy Starting Point in Morges
We ended up taking the train.