Friday, April 26, 2013

"Destroy the Picture" at the MCA

after my morning meetings yesterday, mindy and i made an impromptu trip to chicago.  we had intentions of seeing the picasso show at the art institute, but (as usual) were more interested in eating something ultra-delicious.

our first stop was gt fish and oyster.  i have been craving oysters for the past several weeks, and finally i got to indulge.  for those that enjoy oysters and don't know, GT, on the corner of grant and wells in downtown chicago, has the absolute best, freshest, and most diverse selection of oysters there is to offer in the midwest, and probably on either coast as well.  they always have 6 seasonal selections from both the east and west coast.  all are distinctive in flavor from sweet and succulent to briny and savory and are served with GTs own cocktail sauce and ponzu mignonette. hands down, this is the best the midwest has to offer in the way of fresh oysters.  period.

selection of oysters 
tuna poke with preserved mango, cucumbers and black sesame
eggplant with tofu, plum hoisin sauce, pear, cashews, and thai basil
duck confit with chickpea harissa stew, apple, frisee

we, of course, indulged in many of the other tapas style offerings.  tapas-style is a huge trend in chicago right now.  it allows the customer to sample a large section of the menu, while allowing the kitchen to waste less and send out smaller plates rather than gargantuan platters of food that only the most gluttonous amongst us can finish.  GTs menu, beyond their oyster selection, is rather diverse too, with flavors inspired by thai, japanese, irish, and french cuisine, creating an incredible seafood fusion that feels very chicago.

so after a early afternoon lunch indulgence, we headed off to check out some art.  we were of course pushing the closing time of the museums, so instead of going to the art institute to see the picasso show, we opted for the musuem of contemporary art (mca) and the destroy the picture: painting the void, 1949-1962 show.

salvatore scarpitta, sun dial for racing, 1962
detail of salvatore scarpitta's racer's pillow, 1963
salvatore scarpitta, tishamingo, 1964

destroy the picture is a collection of post-war abstraction and media experimentation work from japan, europe and the us.  neither mindy, nor i are huge fans of post-war art.  and there are many of the overly-contrived works from artists like lee bontecou and alberto burri, but there was also some stuff we'd never seen before.  everything was, of course, in a brown color palette, and made with alternative techniques and media.  the bandaged, wrapped, and belted works of salvatore scarpitta were some of my favorites.  using multiple panels and textures to create a work that expressed the healing of a war-torn world.  His works were also the most colorful, eschewing the browns for muted reds yellows and greens.  i'm never all that interested in the stories behind the works, that's more mindy.  i like to investigate the creative process.  why this mark?  how that texture?  or what was this approach?  This post-war show is laden with works whose experimentation is evident upon first glance.  and for me, that was important.  i love how these artists played with dimension and space, but also how the works relate to environment by using elements directly from the environment.  i must say that i saw a lot of what i do with my own work in these pieces.  I feel like many of the Gutai artists from japan were working with ideas that are very akin to my methods of using locally found objects, in their raw and unprocessed form.  the multi-dimensionality of many of the american works were also very inspiring to see.  i play with the spaces between panels and layers and stacks of surfaces in a similar way.  The most important thing i found with this show was media experimentation.  You can visualize the thought process and the element of discovery in trying something absurd.  i love that that process is written all over the finished product.  That element of discovery is so so so important to me.

Shozo Shimamoto, Cannon Picture, 1956
Michio Yoshihara, Sakuhin, 1959
Chiyu Uemae, Sakuhin, 1960
Alberto Burri, Plastic Combustion, 1958
Kazuo Shiraga painting
Shozo Shimamoto, Sakuhin, 1951
Francois Dufrene, (the stranger [art is theft] series), 1961
Jacques Villegle, 1961

We also peeked into a new installation that looks quite promising, but is not yet open to the public.  opens on the 27th.  can't wait to go back and check it out.

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