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Posted inArt

Gods and Monsters: Cubism at the Met

“To a new world of gods and monsters” is the promethean pledge from one mad scientist to another in James Whale’s classic Bride of Frankenstein (1935), but it’s easy to imagine the same toast echoing from a Montmartre studio in 1909 as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque raise a glass to the fractured new reality they’d uncovered.

Posted inArt

Tracing a Path from Cubism to Digital Art

I first learned about Cubism in an art history class my sophomore year of college. I remember the moment of revelation, after reading a lot about but still failing to grasp what exactly Picasso and Braque were after. In the darkened lecture hall one afternoon, our teacher summed it up this way: how sparingly could you paint a face while still having the viewer understand it as a face? What was the bare minimum required for representation? As legend has it, these questions and the art they inspired changed the course of art history forever.

Is the same true of the digital revolution? That’s the premise of Decenter, an exhibition curated Andrianna Campbell and Daniel S. Palmer and currently on view at the Abrons Arts Center.

Posted inArt

Art That Thinks Inside the Box

What is it about boxes that is so fascinating? I was thinking this as I went into Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to see Pandora’s Box, a show that displays artist Joseph Cornell’s signature assemblages alongside the works of artists who allegedly were inspired by him or who were in artistic sympathy with him. I can think of historical precedents: medieval reliquaries; Victorian memento mori, which often look strikingly like Cornell’s miniature worlds. But these forebears don’t quite explain the combination of weirdness and visual beauty of something made by Cornell, nor the undoubted fascination with him since his death. His boxes frame the objects in a different way than a conventional picture frame, of course; they concentrate the viewer’s attention; but there’s something else, which finally came to me after I’d seen this show.

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