When we were in Buffalo in May for my high school reunion, we visited the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Time spent with my favorite art works is always a priority on a trip home. My experience has been that the works I've seen again and again over the years are the ones that are most meaningful to me and the ones that will always be at the top of my list.
I first went to the A-K when I was in grade school and visited often as an art student in college. I saw two of my four favorites in May but half the gallery was closed for renovations and 70 major works — including my remaining two faves — were touring the country while the construction was being done. Lucky for me, they came to the Milwaukee Art Museum (below) this summer. The Milwaukee's museum's own permanent gallery is closed for renovations so the art from Buffalo is all that is currently on display.
The show runs through the end of this week (Sept. 20) and is a must see.
Here's how MAM describes the exhibit: "Vincent van Gogh to Jackson Pollock, Camille Pissarro to Andy Warhol, the 68 artists represented in this exhibition created against the tide to invent new kinds of art. They challenged convention and pushed the limits of what art was; they were rebels. Today, most everyone knows their names—they are the “superstars” of modern art.
Van Gogh to Pollock: Modern Rebels features over seventy works from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York, renowned for its exceptional collection of twentieth-century art. This survey offers one of the most cohesive and beautiful representations of modern art, a movement of constant rebellion against the past and invention of the new."
MAM had new phone like devices for those who wanted commentary as they viewed the work.
We went to Modern Rebels on the Friday afternoon of Labor Day weekend and people were pouring in.
I loved this family with Dad doing a personal art lecture.
Lots of lone art lovers . . .
The show included a few pieces of sculpture but paintings predominated.
Most of the gallery goers came with a friend. Ten percent of the works in this exhibit are by women, including Helen Frankenthaler (background), Frida Kahlo, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Lee Bontecou.
This painting, "Spirit of the Dead Watching" by Gauguin, is one of my top four favorite paintings. It was fascinating to see a such a familiar work in a very different space. The galleries in Milwaukee's Calatrava Wing are large, with high ceilings and quite bright light for an art gallery.
My other love: Motherwell's "Elegy to the Spanish Republic XXXIV". Motherwell painted over 100 works in this series that refers to the fascist takeover of Spain. He was in his early twenties at the time and considered it "the most moving political event of the time." I was a similar age when I first saw it, but I think I was less moved by the subject matter than the expressiveness of the paint itself. Today, both the politics and the paint move me equally.
I was so in love with this painting as a college art student that my best friend made me a silver ring putting its flat forms in three dimensions. Still wear it. Still love it as much as the painting.