Thursday, April 10, 2008

Two Museum Trips; Context and Content

Who the hell would love the representational work over at the MFAH versus some abstract canvasses at the Menil?

Well, I guess it was me.

Alex Katz, Ada and Alex, 1980
in the MFAH collection is Perry and Pamela, 1977

Francesca Fuchs, Woman in Hospital, 2007

Janet Fish, Goldfish and Autumn Leaves, 1979-80

Philip Pearlstein, Two Nudes with Animal Marionettes, 1988
a similar painting is in the MFAH collection

It was just so nice to see Francesca Fuchs between some heavy hitters in the Representational Work From the MFAH Collection. Flanked by Alex Katz, Janet Fish and Philip Pearlstein, Fuchs holds her own with several different interpretations of realism, her flat colors and light brushstrokes toying at an illusion of depth (if you really want to see it). The curatorial composition in the room is dramatic.

Barnett Newman, Vir Heroicus Sublimis

Susan Frecon, Purple Forbidden Enclosure, 2005

Ellsworth Kelly, Red Blue Green, 1963

Unfortunately, putting Susan Frecon's recent work in the context of great abstractionists that the Menil Collection provides does not prevent her from falling flat on her face with muddy maroons and beige and boring color fields. The unimpressive canvasses are even more unbelievable given their 21st century date- this is not only fifty years too late, but it also make a quick jump into the hallowed halls of posterity. Where Barnett Newman and Ellsworth Kelly hold court Frecon's work pales in comparison.


John Hovig said...

You can Francesca's piece more fully on this page: Woman in Hospital. (It was also interesting to see her painting near a Jacob Lawrence work -- one so intense in color and one so muted).

My favorite part of the exhibition -- albeit a very indirect connection -- is that she's in the same room as a Morandi piece, to whom she pays triple or maybe even quadruple homage in Kitchen.

b.s. said...

thanks, john!

guess i couldn't find that. duh.