Thursday, December 27, 2007

First Door on the Right

The Green Box, Duchamp

The Menil Collection has mixed up their Surrealism exhibit, unearthing exceptional sketches to replace work rotated away or lent to other institutions. In the room with a copy of Marcel Duchamp's The Green Box sits a new collection of early conceptualist-dadaist artists. Two abstract collages by Kurt Schwitters, two constructivist sketches (one by El Lissitzky), a machine drawing by Francis Picabia and two Max Ernst collages.

'Globetrotter (in der Zeit) [Globetrotter (in time)]', El Lissitzky

A delicate, painted watercolor, the El Lissitzky piece is a perfectly balanced composition of pink and grey geometries with an airplane's propeller threatening to swirl the rest right off the page. On yellowed paper in low light, the lightness of El Lissitzky's brush makes the impassive Russian- who wanted to strip history clean and reign over a new history of art- seem like a man sitting at a kitchen table painting offhandedly and drinking coffee with a vengeance.

Untitled, Max Ernst

The original of an often reproduced Max Ernst collage is on display and like Dali's The Persistence of Memory it is much smaller that one would imagine. He must have made it with tweezers. The other one reminded me so much of Married to the Sea...

Best picture while googling...