Artgasm: The Nabis Thursday, Jan 27 2011 

Georges Lacombe, "Violet Wave" 1895-96

So in celebration of my new internship, my first artgasm is dedicated to the Post-Impressionist exhibit at the De Young, which I was lucky enough to attend because the tickets SOLD OUT! I find it comforting to see that the world still cares enough about art that a museum can be completely sold out.

Now with that said, the entire exhibit was terribly overcrowded…crying children, crochety old ladies, and of course the people that have NO sense of personal space. Needless to say, the environment for viewing this amazing art was far from ideal.

Considering that French modern art was my area of focus while an art history major at UC Berkeley, I probably artgasmed at least twice before even stepping in to the exhibition.

And while the throng of people lingered and crowded around every piece that history has declared a masterpiece, I quickly got fed up with people trying to elbow me out of the way. Luckily I had the privilege of seeing the work in its original home at the Musée D’orsay in 2009, so I reluctantly rushed through the first segment of the exhibition with Van Goghs and Cezannes at every turn.

But it was in the second half of the exhibition that my artgasm peaked. The Nabis. An art movement that probably few are familiar with, just as I was unaware of them before I took a class on them. And yet surprisingly, these rooms filled with beauty went largely ignored by the general public, but I wasn’t complaining because that just meant one less wheelchair running over my foot.

Maurice Denis, "The Muses" 1893

The Nabis took a purely decorative approach to art that emphasized the continuity between art and design. Drawing influence from Japanese prints, Art Nouveau, and the Impressionsts and Post-Impressionrs, the Nabis were able to create an art that blurred the line between art and craft. The Nabis sought to break free from the constraints of canvas, and expanded their reach to large murals and interior decoration. Their intention is doing so was to not only engage the viewer, but absorb the viewer into the scene to the extent where there was no longer a separation between the the imagined and the actual world.  They wanted to subsume the viewer in the imagined world that they created, and make it a part of their daily life.

In their work, the Nabis manipulated the observable world into patterns, flat planes of color, and simplified forms to emanate both an emotive and decorative effect. They sought to match these evocative works to particular settings, thus linking each piece aesthetically, psychologically, and physically to the specific interior that contained it.

So thank you Nabis, for my very first artgasm!

Pierre Bonnard, "Grand nu a la baignoire" 1924

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Good News! Saturday, Jan 22 2011 

The De Young Museum

So as a way of attempting to feel like I am not only doing more with my life, but also getting more out of it, I applied to an internship at the De Young Museum in San Francisco.

And… I GOT IT!!!

Granted it’s only one day a week and unpaid, but it had to work around the schedule of my full time job at the gallery. I’ll be working with school groups for the OLMEC exhibition. Getting my foot in the door in a museum, especially one as prestigious as the De Young, is a dream come true!

Here’s to one day weekends and being the museum’s unpaid bitch!

 

Defriending Frenzy Thursday, Jan 20 2011 

 

The other day, I was making my daily (ok ok, I admit it…more than once a day. Hey, there are slow times at work!) time-devouring visit to Facebook to stalk people – because let’s be honest, what else is facebook really for??  And as my newsfeed popped up, I realized that I really don’t care what the guy I made out with once my freshman year of college is eating for lunch, or who that girl that I once drunkenly met at a party andnever talked to again is dating. I felt like a voyeur, looking through the key hole to these people’s carefully curated lives. And it’s not even the reallyinteresting juicy stuff anyway, it’s just the face that they want to present to the world. And honestly, who really cares about what these people WANT you to know about them.

And yes I’m talking about you…the guy I went one date with and never saw again, the girl I had one class with (who I never really liked all that much in the first place), the mutual friend of a friend who I’ve never actually met, and especially that friend who I actually have no idea who he is – I just assumed he knew me somehow since he sent me the friend request.

I’ve clung onto my number of friends without really ever taking into consideration how many of these people that I actually count as friends. So one day I did a sweep of my friends list. I admit, it was hard at first, seeing that number slowly dwindle one by one. I questioned why I had kept these people for so long as my “friends”- was it the potential for something to come in the future, a “real” friendship to emerge from the shell of the virtual one?

But nonetheless, excess is excess, and my friends list needed a spring cleaning. The funny thing was I even felt a little guilty, as if somehow every defriending required a breakup note, “it’s not you, it’s me.” It’s not that I disliked these people, I just didn’t care to know about them, and I didn’t want to care. That guilt quickly subsided when as I began defriending, I browsed for the guy who I dated in college for a couple months and whose virginity I took, only to find out that he had DEFRIENDED ME! What a bastard! Granted things didn’t end the best note, but I had genuinely hesitated in defriending him out of consideration of his feelings. Reality check.

I always wonder too how much more I know about other people’s lives than they know about mine, or if they know how much everyone else out there actually pays attention to what’s going on in their lives. Although in some way, I think we all want to know that someone out there cares about what we are doing with our lives. I think secretly all of us wish we had our very own virtual stalker.

And that makes me feel like such a creepy stalker… so I’m going to go ahead and continue defriending for awhile now…

The Art Of Existing Thursday, Dec 23 2010 

 

 

Because let’s face it…existing is hard! But it’s not only the grind of 9 to 5. It’s those moments between moments, those times when you pause between busying yourself from one thing to the next. The seconds you pause to breathe, cease to be distracted by the computer, the TV, or the phone that you realize how difficult it is to simply stand still. I’ve found that life seems fairly simple when I preoccupy myself from one task to next.

Wake up, eat, get ready, work, eat, work more, exercise, go home, eat, sleep. REPEAT.

Routine keeps me sane.

When I have that growing to do list, it seems to give purpose and meaning to my life. As though everything contained in that itemized list gives me something to strive for from one day to the next. I seem to have an ever growing list, constantly overflowing and never able to be confined to one page, and nothing gives me more pleasure than crossing a line off that list. It’s victory, it’s the sensation of having successfully completed something and somehow that lifts a weight off my shoulders. However, as line by line gets crossed off and the list slowly dwindles, the weight of that heavy burden suddenly thrusts itself back onto my shoulders. The sudden realization hits that when that list is finished, I’ve got nothing left to complete. And that’s when the difficulty of existence truly sets in.

When I find myself without anything to do, the panic sets in. What should feel like freedom feels like entrapment. Maybe its because I’m an over-achiever, but it is in those moments when I have nothing to do that my existence seems the most futile. That nothingness leaves me scrambling to put together pieces that I had though were assembled.  And no, this isn’t some existential crisis dwindling into depression. It’s not as melancholic as all that, but rather more introspective.

In our society of incessant over-stimulation, it becomes increasingly urgent to cling onto what meaning we can decipher from the diurnal drone. These moments of inaction are what make me dig deeper into myself and search for what defines me and what makes my existence worthwhile. I have to scratch at the facade of my routine to get at what really is beneath, what truly brings meaning and joy to my life. And as I scratch and scratch away at that deceivingly dense surface, I find art and creativity, and the beauty that results from the merger of these. I seem to find the source of my contentment not only in the observation of art, but in the creation of art. Yet, despite the strength of my drive to create, the follow through is often lacking and seems an insurmountable task. The irony of finding such difficulty in that which gives me the most pleasure I blame on perfectionism. The all or nothing attitude that pervades every aspect of my life, haunts my imagination and hinders my creativity the most. If I can’t complete a masterpiece, it’s almost as if I shouldn’t create at all. The daunting task of an artist is not to create something that a viewer will enjoy, but to create something that the artist herself will enjoy.

And that is why existence requires a true artist at heart…