Monday, June 8, 2009

So how was the Modern Wing opening?

Oh, you mean the one at the Art Institute of Chicago? Well, I mean, it was ok. You know? It was pretty ok. I guess. How's that for an answer.

1) The booklet. It's ok. I realize booklets are widely considered to be gauche, but the thing to remember is that lots of people still rely on the booklet so it is important. It's the first thing you get when you walk in the door. It's a museum's chance to bring art to the greatest amount of people, even if they have seem a little theme-parky. The first page of the booklet they gave at the doors to the museum and exhibit was titled "What to See in an Hour," and yikes, that was depressing. It was like a 99-cent menu for the history of artwork. Furthermore I didn't see any coherence or harmony amongst the menu items they chose... most of them were just really average. No excitement. It at least had El Greco's Assumption of the Virgin, which is a painting that kicks ass and takes names, but that was all.

2) The flow of the space. Did you hear that rumor that the museum is like a meat processing plant? That's is so ridiculous... because it's true. You do get milled through. Then, at the appropriate place for children, the elderly, and physically unfit young people like myself, they have benches, an espresso station, and bathrooms. I presume it will be a much more pleasant experience when there aren't a shitload of people milling about. I crushed them for your enjoyment.
3) The Special Exhibition room. It is a bunch of bullshit Cy Twombly. I mean, a little bullshit Cy Twombly is ok, everybody knows that he's only famous because of that crazy lipstick incident and all. Yep, I said it. Twombs can step to me. Previously, his un-kissed"masterpiece" was probably just some weirdo painting in the collection of some trustee. Seriously- try googling it and finding a mention or a good early image of Phaedras and you will believe me. That painting was like the little awkward racehorse in the stable of champions, a wee Seabiscuit of paintings amongst a collection of War Admirals! Then someone made out with Seabiscuit, and he became everybody's favie. Anyway, Twombly's here to stay and his paintings are ok. More than ok sometimes. But there is a ridiculous damn glut of Twomblys in this giant space, and they are hung really cramped together and awful.

4) The photography collection. Meh.

5) The Contemporary Art After 1960 rooms. AMAZING! They've got some really choice pieces by Margherita Manzelli, Kerry James Marshall, Robert Gober, Lucien Freud, Bruce Nauman, and Lisa Yuskavage, whom I also crushed for you.

6) The European Modern Art section had a nice view, but the collection itself was a mausoleum of musty old penis paintings. Mostly by Picasso. Swell, moving on.

All in all, it was pretty ok. I look forward to seeing some of those paintings again. Some. I'm appreciative that admission was waived for this event... you can't beat that. I would have enjoyed more awesome paintings like those first few groupings in the Contemporary section, but I'm mostly please with the 'tute. Or as it is now spelling itself in logo, "Institvte." Nice try, guys.

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