Surreal. It’s one of those words like insane or awesome that’s taken a beating from aggressive misuse. I’ve heard the term applied to both a bus driver wearing a funny hat and the sight of the second plane hitting the tower. “It was so surreal,” that long e sung out like an animal’s cry of distress, is one of the more commonplace characterizations of any even vaguely untypical experience. The show currently at the Morgan Library and Museum, Drawing Surrealism, affords an opportunity to get reacquainted with the ideas and art behind the now overly familiar adjective.
One of the standouts of the new exhibition Dürer to de Kooning: 100 Master Drawings from Munich at the Morgan Library and Museum – if not the standout – is Michelangelo’s “St. Peter (after Massaccio) with Arm Studies.” (And for an exhibition bristling with stunners by Matthias Grünewald, Andrea Mantegna, and Fra Bartolomeo — not to mention Dürer and de Kooning — that’s saying a lot.)
Of all the celebrations honoring Philip Glass on his 75th birthday, the exhibition Robert Wilson/Philip Glass: Einstein on the Beach at the Morgan Library & Museum is probably the most modest, but it is one of the most magical. It is also arguably the most in keeping with the stripped-down aesthetic that gave birth to Glass’ musical minimalism and Wilson’s experiments in durational theater.