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Media Notes

In Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, lies an empty frame that once displayed the famous Rembrandt "Storm on the Sea of Galilee". This year marks 25 years, in which the United States' largest art heist took place and a $500 Million piece of artwork was stolen.

Click here for the full article.

This is a great value at $25, even if its so crowded you can’t even find a place to go to the bathroom.

Packed with tourists, but also packed with an amazing assortment of treasures from every place and time. We’re partial to the Asian and India art, but there’s really something for everyone – and something good for everyone. The real problem is that this is such a huge place that it's easy to get overwhelmed. Check the website for current exhibitions and then make a plan for what you want to see. You could easily spend weeks here, so you need to be focused on what you find most interesting. But why, like most museums, are hours so constricted when there is such obvious demand? How about fewer new multi-million dollar acquisitions and longer operating hours?






The first two floors of contemporary wing are worthless, usual modern crap, go straight to 3rd floor for surrealists, including Albert Bloch’s Three Pierrots and Harlequin, Conrad Felixmuller’s “The Death of the Poet Walter Rheiner” which is a great depiction of the spirit of nightlife in a big city, Chagall’s “Birth”, Matta’s incredibly colorful “The Earth is a Man” and Beckmann’s “Reclining Nude”; one of the very few nudes in modern art that is actually erotic.

This museum is in a good location, just off magnificent mile near the John Hancock building. Otherwise, terrible; usual identity, gender politics. It's amusing when art that has little to with gender or race needs to throw in a few lines in the description about “tensions arising from race and gender” just to get shown in a place like this. One thing worth seeing is one of the few contemporary artists we like, Wangechi Mutu, just for aesthetic appeal, although the “message” is the same tired one about gender roles, etc., and the one pic they have from her is not one of her best. Admission is only $12, but that’s really about $9 too much for this; it’s the same stuff as NYC’s MOMA, but a bit smaller, and without the beautiful café and garden, although they do have a 2nd rate café here and a very small sculpture garden.

They can spend millions on a canvas, but they can’t keep the urinals fixed; why is that?

The food in the café is good and has a nice setting, although they miss the basics, like where the heck is the salt shaker?

There are more iconic art works here, step for step, than any museum I have ever been in. Edward Hopper’s nighthawks, Grant Wood’s American Gothic, Georgia O'keeffe’s Cow’s Skull, many pieces by Chagall, including 3 of his large stained glass windows, Caillebotte’s Paris Street: Rainy Day, Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte.

But what really makes it amazing are all the works that aren’t famous, but maybe should be, especially in the Asian collections and the European decorative arts; a drinking cup, a door, a cabinet, a trunk, a gaming case, these can all be things of almost mind boggling beauty and intricate design. Also, the collection of religious art, especially a piece done in tempera or oil on panels, are stunning. Much of it is from the Netherlands circa 1450's. Perhaps my favorite piece in the whole museum is the absolutely stunning; St. George Killing the Dragon by Bernat Martorell. Just amazing, and almost 3 dimensional due to some unusual painting techniques. There are many versions of the Adoration of the Magi, but the one here by Raffaello Botticini is one of the most amazing; how many animals can you find in this picture? This is real surrealism; the Battle of Zama is another amazing, though small, painting in this section. Hieronymus Bosch has nothing on A Witches' Sabbath by Cornelis Saftleven.

Why does MOMA exist? Hard to tell, because it offers nothing more than the clichéd version of what “modern” art was thought to be a generation ago, and not much has changed; not much in terms of the kind of art they display, in any event. This is the same tired stale vaguely left wing academic treatment of “art”. Theses on “contextualization” and violence and feminism, and the role of all “isms” in art and society, and blah, blah. It’s bad - not just because it's meaningless, empty, and shallow, but because it's so tired and dull.

Yet this point of view is, apparently, a secret. On a typical summer Saturday the place is packed, mostly with the same mix of international (read Japanese and European) travelers who always feel an obligation to go the most famous cultural institutions. So not only is there nothing important to see here, but you’ll typically be jostling with a lot of people to see that nothing. Also, paying $20, which would be fine, except for the above.

Of course, we exaggerate. With so many people cheek by jowl in a tight space there is always some decent people watching, because God knows you don’t really need to focus much attention on the art. And the garden on the first floor is beautiful, a great place to just sit and reflect.

And with this much art in any one place, there’s always something worth looking at, you just have to be very selective. Try the 5th floor. The permanent collection includes Van Gogh’s Starry Night; it's worth seeing the real version just because you’ve seen it reproduced so many times. Smaller than you might expect. But nice. We’re also very fond of a large Rousseau in the same room. The futuristic sculpture by Gambatesa is interesting. Even though they both carry on through on the same endlessly negative themes of most modern art, the work Collective Suicide (1936) by David Alfaro Siqueiros was visually interesting, as was Hide and Seek by Pavel Tchelitchew. It's interesting that in the history of man visual artists have never had more freedom to explore their own visions, and in a more supportive environment – people actually pay a lot of money for this stuff. Yet the artists view is much like the world view expressed by Woody Allen – everything ranges from horrible to miserable.

But really,the most interesting thing to look at is the view from the 5th floor café overlooking the garden. Try to get a seat on the edge of the terrace, directly overlooking the garden. This is really a beautiful view. Which is a reminder that in New York, as in many other places, the most inspiring art is the architecture and built environment. And occasionally of course the women. So while architects and nature produce plenty of ugly things, at least they diverge from modern artists with the occasional work of wonder and beauty.













Media Notes

In Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, lies an empty frame that once displayed the famous Rembrandt "Storm on the Sea of Galilee". This year marks 25 years, in which the United States' largest art heist took place and a $500 Million piece of artwork was stolen.

Click here for the full article.

This is a great value at $25, even if its so crowded you can’t even find a place to go to the bathroom.

Packed with tourists, but also packed with an amazing assortment of treasures from every place and time. We’re partial to the Asian and India art, but there’s really something for everyone – and something good for everyone. The real problem is that this is such a huge place that it's easy to get overwhelmed. Check the website for current exhibitions and then make a plan for what you want to see. You could easily spend weeks here, so you need to be focused on what you find most interesting. But why, like most museums, are hours so constricted when there is such obvious demand? How about fewer new multi-million dollar acquisitions and longer operating hours?






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