Joseph Paxton (1803–1865, head gardener at Chatsworth House, the Duke of Devonshire’s large country estate in Derbyshire, England, was also the creator of the prefabricated cast-iron-and-glass Crystal Palace, which was originally erected in London’s Hyde Park to contain the Great Exhibition of 1851, a showcase of the technological wonders of the industrial revolution.
Posts in ‘Viewpoints’
Working with glassblowers is an interesting process for me because there are technical drawings that communicate the eventual use of the vessel (what size, where is the opening, what are the relationships of the opening to volume in general, aesthetic ideals, etc.), and then there is, for me, a gestural kind of communication—a type of mime: I draw the shape with my entire body through gesture while standing with the glassblower.
Getting my initial epiphany of forms for Nocturne of the Limax maximus, which will be installed in MoMA’s lobby on November 17, into its physical manifestation was a multilayered process, with each step leading to the next—and in strange ways going backward at times to maximize the potential of the previous step’s efficiency and interconnectedness with the subsequent steps of production.
A little over a year and a half ago, Ann Temkin, MoMA’s Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, asked me to consider an “intervention” in MoMA’s Fifty-third Street lobby. Of course I was very excited, knowing that no work of ambitious scale had been installed in this very populated, chaotically inhabited area of the Museum, with only a few indications of the etiquette of how to be in the space—information here, tickets there, some moving image screen projects that can be indicative of information regarding the interior exhibitions. Doors revolving, air and environmental aspects of the outdoors spilling in with the visitors. Perfect!
Those of you who have clicked through the visitor portraits in our Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present Flickr gallery, taken by Marco Anelli, probably noticed some familiar faces. Apart from a few celebrities in the mix (Sharon Stone, Rufus Wainwright, Isabella Rossellini, to name a few), there are a number of less famous faces that repeat day in and day out, almost as often as Marina herself. These Marina devotees have become micro-celebrities in their own right, at least around the Museum; the guards know them by name, and fellow visitors waiting their turn to sit with Marina regard them with an air of what may best be described as reverence.
Paco Blancas, a NYC-based make-up artist, is one such visitor. After seeing his portrait a number of times on Flickr, I found myself wondering, “Who is this mystery man? Why does he keep coming back? Why is he crying in so many of these photos?” I wanted to know his story. As luck would have it, last week I spotted him seated in the Marron Atrium, back for his fourteenth sitting with Marina. He shared a few words about his experiences with the piece and what compels him to keep coming back.
Many of MoMA’s employees aren’t just guardians of the Museum’s collection: they are artists in their own right, and have found inspiration for their own work through their engagement with artwork shown at MoMA. Our jobs do sometimes force us to hurry by breathtaking works, with no time to let their power wash over us. But at other moments—whether retouching a paint job, placing a wall label, or installing a work of art—we find ourselves alone, in empty galleries, confronted with some of the greatest works of art made in the last century. This new series of blog posts will focus on a few of MoMA’s many employee/artists, and will address the ways in which they have incorporated their daily work experiences into their own artistic processes.
As Production Manager in the Museum’s department of graphic design, Claire Ellen Corey produces various components of many of MoMA’s exhibitions, installations, and marketing campaigns. Outside of her duties at MoMA, she’s also a painter, a practice that has been informed time and again by all she has learned within the Museum. In fact, Corey combines techniques of painting and the tools of graphic design to create her multilayered paintings, ultimately producing her final image on an ink-jet printer.
We asked a number of visitors to Marina Abramović’s performance retrospective, The Artist Is Present, to share their impressions with us. Visitor participation is central to this exhibition—Abramović’s own performance for the show asks visitors to come sit with her and essentially become a part of the performance piece, while the “reperformances” in the sixth-floor galleries turn viewers into spectators and confront them in a way art objects never could. We wanted to hear from visitors about their experiences with these works.
Last week we asked you to submit your burning questions about the New Directors/New Films Festival or about MoMA’s film program in general. In addition to quite a few inquiries about how to get your film into MoMA’s collection (don’t worry I answered one of those), your curiosity covered quite a range of subjects, so I’ve done my best to answer five of your questions—as well as one irresistible bonus question—as selected by the MoMA blog editors. Thank you all for your interest!
1. What criteria do you employ in choosing films for the festival? Political, artistic, plot, cultural, etc.? [from Jules Margalit]
The essential, and perhaps only, unifying criterion for a film in New Directors/New Films is that it be innovative. This of course can manifest in many ways; often it is structurally, but my no means universally so. Our opening film, Bill Cunningham New York, is a traditional portrait doc. It is the subject himself that is sui generis. Director Richard Press has the presence of mind to allow his film to exist as an open road for Cunningham to navigate (on his Schwinn). Alexei Popogrebsky’s How I Ended This Summer, for example, is formally as well as narratively innovative, immersing us in a landscape that is brand new.
With preparations underway for New Directors/New Films—now less than a week away, the festival has been generating buzz since the lineup was announced earlier this month—and a nice write-up in yesterday’s New York Times piece about young curators making waves in New York City, Rajendra Roy, MoMA’s Chief Curator of Film, is having quite a week. That’s why we’re thrilled he’s agreed to answer some of our readers’ questions in what we hope will be an ongoing feature of our blog. Our curators are a varied and fascinating bunch, and from the looks of our comments, Facebook page, and Twitter feed, so are our online fans. Why not bring the two together and spark a conversation?
So, think about what you’ve always wanted to know about the New Directors/New Films festival or about MoMA’s film program, and submit your questions via comments to this blog post. We’ll select the five most intriguing questions, and Raj will answer them here next Friday, so stay tuned!
“The Oscars are my Super Bowl”—it’s something of a cliché in our media-obsessed world, especially among twenty-something women such as myself, but there you have it anyway. I’m not a football fan, and to me March madness refers to the stir-craziness that inevitably accompanies the last weeks before spring. But a celebration of the silver screen, of stars established and emerging, of glamorous dresses and fashion flops—that I can get behind.
So it’s with particular relish that I see the annual screening of Academy Award–nominated short documentaries at MoMA each year. Apart from being an invaluable research tool for my local, all-in-good-fun Oscar Pool, seeing the nominees in some of the smaller categories is a great way to add some interest to the ever-lengthening Oscars telecast (not to mention the serious cinematic cred it garners you among your friends).
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