A day at the Walker Art Museum

8July 2012

The last time I went to the Walker was for my bachelor party (and no I am not that boring, I am just as much a filthy degenerate as the rest of mankind- we went to bars and strip clubs too).  It was cool to grease through the museum then and get a quick look.  

Yesterday I was given the entire day off, so I took advantage of it and hit the Walker Art Museum on my way home.  This will either clear my head or befuddle it farther (ever have one of those weeks where its just not going your way and you can see it is not going to anytime soon).

 The building really is pretty impressive regardless of which side you are approaching it from.  I love the dots of grass within the sidewalk.  I feel very directed and attracted to to the landscape design here, just as if I was following the directions of the one bee in the hive that knows the way.  

I think it looks like a robotic human or monkey head.  Any thought as to what you see?
I mean seriously look at it, its eating people!

This sculpture has been in front of the walker for a long time.  I do love Calder, but regrettably I have paid little attention to this work simply because it has always just been there.

Alexander Calder
American, 1898-1976
“The Spinner”
1966, Aluminum, steel, paint
 Roy Lichtenstein
American, 1923-1997
“Salute to painting”
1985-86, aluminum, paint.
Takashi Murakami wallpaper lined bathrooms…

…never tried being watched while I pee.

This was the first piece I came to that I had to stop and take in.  The security guard told me to not take photos so I waited until she wasn’t looking.  Then when she caught me I pretended that I didn’t know any better.   Bad form, yes, but this is too cool to not photo and talk about.

Marlene McCarty
“Group 8 (Karisoke, the Virungas, Rwanda. September 24, 1967. 4:30pm.)
2006, Ballpoint Pen and Graphite on Paper 

I did not pay attention to this title, as it was designed by Ernesto Neto.

Lee Bontecou
American, born 1931
1961, welded steel, canvas, wire, velvet.
An early mark Rothko.  Fun to see his younger works, as I always remember him for his fields of color.  I have always felt disappointed knowing that he slit his wrists.
Mark Rothko
American, born Russia 1903-1970
1944, graphite and oil on canvas

 Willem de Kooning
American, born netherlands 1904-1997
“Untitled XII”
1983, oil on canvas
de Kooning is one of my favorite artists.  His entire career as an artist is this graceful climb back to peace of mind (He deserves a new post all to himself).

Grace Hartigan
American, 1922-2008
“Human Fragment”
1963, oil on canvas

This sculpture is a beautiful work of art.
Bonnie Collura
American, born 1976
Fiberglass resin, paint

Mathew Barney typically just pisses me off.
Mathew Barney
American, born 1967
“Envelopa, drawing restraint 7 manual D”
1993, graphite, synthetic polymer, petroleum jelly on paper, vinyl, nylon

His materials list reminds me of Rob McBroom’s standard list.

Mark Rothko
“No. 2”
1963, oil and acrylic on canvas

I am a sucker for anything gilded.  My gold leaf texture compositions series of paintings were a serious accomplishment for me.  I love the way light dances across gilded surfaces, how it reminds us instantly of the type of fortune that doesn’t have to be monetary. 

Sherrie Levine
American, born 1947
2001, bronze gilt

Paul Thek
American, 1933-1988
1965, Beeswax, plexiglass, metal, and rubber

I have had the pleasure of viewing 4 paintings by Nerdrum.  Each time I am reminded of the classic masters like Rembrandt, Velazquez, and Goya.  Nerdrum is that master of our time, and he knows it, and plays that character out to its fullest. 
Odd Nerdrum
Norwegian, born 1944
“White brick”
1984, hand ground pigments based in linseed oil and egg on canvas on cardboard

I love her work…

Yayoi Kusama
Japanese, born 1929
“Oven Pan”
1963, paint, canvas, cotton, steel, wool.

…I always have.

I finally made my way to the garden terrace.  I was alone, not a single tourist in sight (yet) so I had a smoke, worked on a few lines for my book, and relaxed before continuing on.

At this point the rest of the city was waking up from last night’s binge fest.  And my buddy Chris texted, he lives a block away and he was on his way to meet me.  Chris and I continued on for the 80’s exhibit “This Will Have Been:” and Minouk Lim’s “Heat of Shadows” installation.

Jean-Michael Basquait
American, 1960-1988
“Hollywood Africans”
1983, synthetic polymer and mixed media
David  Hammons
American, born 1943
“How you like me now?”
1988, tin, plywood, sledgehammers, lucky strike cigarette wrapper, american flag
This installation reminded me of Scott, a buddy that lives in New York.  I am not going to explain that, if you know Scott you truly understand how cool this is.
Gretchen Bender
American, 1951-2004
“T.V. Text and Image”
1986-1990, television sets with vinyl lettering and metal shelves
These last pics are from the videos in Minouk Lim’s exhibit.  It was interesting, and it was nothing original at all.  The ideas are important and need to be communicated often, but alas it missed the mark in that it felt like trite college kids with a camera and a cause and a semester of world history.

It was a good day.  Chris and I scouted out some bike ride spots and then had a BBQ afterwards with a friend of ours from Florida who is up for a week to visit.  The Walker Art Museum lost something for a period of time.  I found myself not going there for a few years, then I would check in and see what’s going on and find myself disappointed.  They hired a new Curator a while ago, and in my opinion the Walker is exhibiting a higher standard of work now.
This was likely my last visit to the Walker for a long time…
…moving in the end of August to a land far far away.