Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Dream Team

I’m going to follow in Sandy’s footsteps and talk about a tour theme that I never got to do. For one, I could never think of a good enough title. It kept turning into “Pieces that have crazy backgrounds that no one knows about.” Pretty lame. Adrienne told me that I should call it “Past Lives”, and if it ever emerged, that’s what it would be.

Pablo Picasso, The Old Guitarist, 1903-04.

An icon of the Art Institute, and the highlight from Picasso’s Blue Period, this piece is a real crowd pleaser. With students, it’s great to talk about how color is important to the mood and meaning of a piece. But one of the most interesting parts about this painting is what’s behind it. X-Rays and ultraviolet photography show that Picasso used this canvas to paint two other pieces. You can even see a woman’s eyes in the paint above the guitarist’s head. There is also a visible seam where Picasso painted the canvas over the leaves of his kitchen table. Poor Picasso was so broke! No wonder he was blue.

Charles Ray, Hinoki, 2007
As Sandy said, the interns love Hinoki. I mean it’s a tree. In a museum. Carved from another tree. Love. It.

Egyptian Model Boat, c. 2046-1794 B.C.
I know I’ve used this before, but anything that has to do with death and mummification is a hit with any student. This boat was supposed to come to life with the person in the afterlife to guide them to safety. Using this piece also pays tribute to my favorite childhood movie, The Indian in the Cupboard. Things coming to life → always a good pick for a tour.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, At the Moulin Rouge, 1892 (right) and Equestrienne, 1887 (above).

I’ll admit it, I just really love Lautrec. The creepy faces, weird colors and all. Maya and I had a great discussion about these paintings on an adult tour. People can talk about them forever! The Moulin Rouge painting once had the green woman (presumably French dancer, May Milton) cut out because dealers didn’t think it would sell. All the figures have their backs turned to Milton because she was about to head off to America to become a big star. Lautrec even painted himself into the background! The Equestrienne painting was displayed on the wall of the Moulin Rouge as visitors walked in.

Ivan Albright, Picture of Dorian Gray, 1943-44
In the beginning of the Summer I hated this piece. So. Much. But now, I’ve grown to love it! This was painted for the 1946 movie of Oscar Wilde’s book, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Though the movie was filmed in all black and white, this portrait was the only part of the movie to be filmed in color. Creeeepy.

Felix Gonzalez Torres, "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) 1991
Who doesn’t love candy? Felix Gonzalez Torres created this portrait of his boyfriend, Ross, after he died from AIDS. The candy is set every morning at 175 lbs., Ross’s ideal weight. Throughout the day visitors are asked to take a piece of candy, causing the piece to shrink and loose weight. It shows Ross’s sweet and colorful nature, as well as the regeneration of life every morning. Plus the students get to pick out their own piece to eat! Incredible edible art.

So that's the dream tour. And hopefully one day someone can use it! This internship has been an incredible experience. I've never met a more encouraging, enthusiastic group of people, and I was actually excited about coming into work each morning. Annie from adult programs told us that we'll probably run into each other at CAA (College Art Association) conferences screaming and hugging. I can only imagine...

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