Saturday, May 12, 2007

Daytrip to Connecticut

I could have spent several hours at the Yale University Art Gallery but it was just the first stop on the bus trip. I would like to return and spend more time with the European, Asian and African collections. But all of the art on display seemed of such high caliber. The Yale Center for British Art, which is across the street, has some paintings by George Stubbs, such as the zebra in the Royal Garden, that have been reproduced everywhere. Great Turners, Constables, and it seemed most of the really famous British artists from the mid nineteenth century and before were on display. Neither Museum has an admission charge.

Lunch was at a very tasty American restaurant called Zinc. The director emeritus gave a very entertaining talk about Paul Mellon, who had given his collection, commissioned Louis Kahn to design the building, and left a large endowment to the Center for British Art.

The last stop of the day was at the Florence Griswold Museum . By that time I was pretty well saturated with fine art. It was the summer home of an artist colony of American tonalists and impressionists, including Childe Hassam. Unfortunately Ms. Griswold died penniless and all of the contents of her buildings were auctioned off to settle the debts. So her house is now decorated to look like it would have circa 1910. But few of the furnishings are original. The grounds were absolutely beautiful and it was easy to imagine artists painting en plein air on the lawn.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Classic Balanchine

Boston Ballet did a pleasant and competent rendition of three works choreographed by Balanchine. Ballo Della Regina was upbeat and really fun, with the live orchestra performing Verdi. Both Valses Nobles and Sentimentales, and The Four Temperments were a little dark. Nobody stood up at the end to give a standing ovation. In fact the applause was pretty light. One of the dancers got caught in the curtain while exiting from the side. Ballerinas kindly reached in to extricate him and pull him up.

The company is offering a two-for-one special for some of next week's performances. Mention code GSBB241. Also a new subscriber special for the 2007-2008 season. $125 + $10 handling fee for five performances with side orchestra seating. That is a great deal! I am looking forward to seeing Giselle one week from today at the Wang Center. It is the final ballet of the 2006-2007 season and will run for two weeks.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Hopper at the MFA

The Edward Hopper retrospective show opens to the general public on Saturday, May 5th at the Museum of Fine Arts . It should be a big crowd pleaser . His work is now in vogue and it has a nice mix of realism and a modern approach with intense psychological implications. He touches on the existential loneliness that many of us city dwellers are all too familiar with. Furthermore much is left open for interpretation allowing us the viewers to be full participants in the creative process.

The downside is that the subject matter is rather limited. There are so many Maine lighthouses and New England wood frame houses that appreciating the subtle nuances that makes each one an important, unique statement, can grow wearisome. His oils of urban buildings were often lost on me. It was getting harder to focus by that point.

His studies of urban women including The Automat were a welcome change. The very next room had Nighthawks, New York Movie, and a third oil of a man and woman in an ambiguous office setting. Just great! The final room had his later work which seemed quite innovative. The label on the wall seemed to imply that he was running out of ideas in his later years. On the contrary, I found his later work to be full of lots of exciting departures from what he had done before.