MoMA’s celebration of the landmark year 1913 continues with the 19th installment in our series of videos highlighting important works from 1913 in the Museum’s collection. Read more
In an era when no cell phones or other digital devices existed, silence was a more common facet of everyday life. Perhaps attention spans were longer, distractions fewer, and maybe the pace of world was slower. It’s nice to be romantic about a period before communication was measured in 140 characters, when the simple act of writing a letter was a considered an opportunity to put one’s thoughts into words, often by hand, in ink on paper. Read more
I recently inherited a thin, soft-cover guide called Preservation of Historical Records, published by the National Research Council in 1986, which has, I suspect, long gone unreferenced in the Media and Performance Art departmental library. Read more
MoMA’s celebration of the landmark year 1913 continues with the 18th installment in our series of videos highlighting important works from 1913 in the Museum’s collection. Read more
Halloween at my high school was never boring. The classic 1980 movie Fame was inspired by NYC’s La Guardia HS, and was pretty accurate: you would indeed hear gospel singing in a music room above you during homeroom, see young actors heatedly rehearsing scenes in the hallways, and the art students—ah, the art students. I knew them well as I was among them. Some were mind-bogglingly prodigious, and perhaps as a result, Halloween proved to be a way to show off the skillz that would surely later in life pay the billz. Case in point: Tristan Elwell’s costume one year.
When I saw the above photo again after lo, so many years (please also note the existence of not one, not two, but three mullets behind Tristan), I felt the inevitable surge of nostalgia, and also a sense of synchronicity. The Magritte exhibition had just begun, and as such my head was full of green apples and bowler hats.
I found myself wondering what other Magritte-ian things were out there. As it so happens, Anne and Danielle, the curators of Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938, had already done their own Internet searching and found several clever and charming things like this:
Of course, people aren’t only riffing on The Son of Man.* The Treachery of Images (This Is Not a Pipe) is equally well-known, if not more so.
In fact, even the cover of the book I was reading at the time happened to reflect this beloved painting.
But I have to admit this last one, inspired by the spooky and haunting The Lovers, is my favorite of these. Not as spooky and haunting as the real thing, but not exactly a laugh riot, either, these parking lot lovers managed to create their own work of art. And as we all know, Plastic Bags Are Not a Toy. How riskily romantic of them!
And then I stumbled upon Andrea K. Scott’s article in the New Yorker, in which she declared “Magritte’s art has been hijacked…from the Beatles’ record label to a Volkswagen ad to a bowler-hat light fixture.” Hijacked is a strong word, Ms. Scott! After all, Magritte’s art isn’t the first to inspire inventive takeoffs.
See a few more Magritte tributes on our recently launched MoMA Tumblr.
* Son of Man is not on view in MoMA’s current exhibition, as it was painted in 1964, after Magritte’s breakthrough years. However, The Lovers and The Treachery of Images (This Is Not a Pipe) are.
In his polemical 1938 speech “La Ligne de vie (Lifeline),” René Magritte spoke of his “objective representation of objects,” claiming that, “In my view, this detached way of representing things is characteristic of a universal style in which the manias and minor preferences of the individual no longer play any part.” Read more
How well do you know your MoMA? If you think you can identify the artist and title of each of these works—all currently on view in the Painting and Sculpture and Contemporary galleries—please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post. We’ll provide the answers next month (on Friday, November 8). Read more
MoMA’s celebration of the landmark year 1913 continues with the 17th installment in our series of videos highlighting important works from 1913 in the Museum’s collection. Read more