Saturday, August 28, 2010

Matisse Radical Invention at MoMA

This exhibition did exactly what the curators wanted it to do, helped me see Matisse for the inventive genius that he is. I've gone through periods of loving Matisse but lately had kind of thought of him as a bourgeois maker of pretty pictures. This exhibition casts Matisse as a brainy genius who listened to his own voice. I couldn't help but wonder, when looking at the portrait commissions how the sitters must have felt with parts scratched out, features replaced by blocks of color and lines emanating from the neck out into space, suggesting an aura. He was similarly inventive in his depictions of space and form...all in all, this show was a winner.

A friend recommended the audio guide and I'm glad I listened, the curators are chatty and just kind of riff on their favorite elements of each painting, but mostly it forced me to slow down and really spend some time with these works

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