Thursday, January 25, 2007

Guggenheim Bilbao

I traveled north to the Basque country and visited the Guggenheim Museum. It was exciting to encounter this Frank Gehry building with its wild contrast to the rest of the architecture in Bilbao. The Richard Serra installation was really overwhelming. It was a little frightening to walk through if you don't know what you are getting into. The center of the circular pieces were tranquil and consuming.
It was like the Rothko Chapel in a way. Being surrounded by the color and surface of this metal was really beautiful.
The Guggenheim had some good exhibits including a color painter room featuring some of my favorites, Gene Davis, Frank Stella, Morris Lewis etc.
Sydney Pollack did a documentary called "Scetches of Frank Gehry" which shows Gehry designing this museum. It's a process involving bending and folding a bunch paper and talking about it.


Christ Washing the Feet of His Disciples
c. 1547 (click on image to view larger)

While in Madrid I visited the Museo Del Prado, where there is a great collection of Spanish and Italian art. The Goyas were plentiful and amazing as well as the Velasquez room. I spent more time with certain paintings and focused on my interest, the Venetians. There were Titians that I never imagined seeing in person but what really held my attention was Tintoretto. An apprentice to Titian who surpassed him in many ways with his radical compositions.
Christ Washing the Feet of His Disciples is a huge painting. Tintoretto explores atmospheric perspective with the dog in detail front and center and the figures less developed as they move into the background. The background changes into different indoor and outdoor environments. What I like the most about this painting is the skilled perspective work of the floor. The effect is hypnotizing as the floor stretches across most of the foreground of the painting.