AN EXPLORATION OF ART HISTORY
On Thursday, May 8th, Ellis and I were able to drive down to New York for a little trip to explore the NYC art scene. Both of us were pretty unfamiliar with the city, so it was an exciting and enriching experience to learn from. From New York bagels (a wonderful luxury every morning) to Central Park, I think we experienced a fairly typical (albeit touristy) NYC journey. Our main focus of the trip was art of course, so we visited five museums throughout the two day stay. On Friday we traveled to The Frick Collection, Christie’s, and the MOMA, and then Saturday we saved for the MET and the Guggenheim. We met some great professionals in the art field who discussed their passion of art and their job, which we will include in a “people profile” article later.
It was really special to be able to be in the actual presence of the art and artists that we studied in our AP textbook. I found that with my art history background, I was able to appreciate the works far more than my previous trips to museums. I have more of an understanding of artist background and techniques, and by knowing the certain art movements that evolve with time that on social, political and economic situations of the the era, I comprehend the “Why?” part of art much better. We were lucky to see art from the early BCEs to contemporary times, and Ellis and I had fun identifying the pieces with their era/artist.
Ellis and I agree that these museum trips allowed us to understand certain artists’ full range of works. In our textbook, we only got a taste for what an artist has to offer; usually I would study a brief paragraph of their backgrounds and see a painting or two. NYC has a great mix of well known and more obscure arts by super famous artists, which allowed us to see the different various types of work. I was most surprised by the sheer number of Pablo Picasso paintings we saw. The textbook we used gave us one example of his art, which was a cubist painting, so it was very fascinating to learn about his “Blue Period” and his “Rose Period”. Some paintings at that time of his life were realistic, and did not abstract the faces of his subjects. The plain strokes were smooth and graceful rather than purposeful and rigid. It was a whole different side of the famous painter that everyone thinks they know so well. For instance, if this painting was on the test, I would not have guessed Picasso. Ellis and I decided this painting was a highlight of the trip, however. It seems so emotional and somber in a subtle way.
It’s no secret that museums are possibly the most draining activity considering the movement they take to do. Looking at art in a semi-crowded area is not the most relaxing thing, which is why we liked the Christie’s gallery the best. Christie’s is an international art auction center that sells famous paintings and arts to buyers and collectors. Their in-house collections change each week, as auctions are happening constantly. Because its an auction house, rules are different and less stressful. Unlike the rest of the museums where security is staring you down, and you wait in five person thick lines to see a Picasso, Christie’s was relatively casual and relaxing. Affluent, introspective, artsy people surrounded us in the public galleries but were not overwhelming to the experience. We were lucky to land on the weekend on Post War and Contemporary art collection, which includes famous pieces by Warhol, de Kooning, and Rothko etc. Our art expert there told us that it was the best collection that we could have come seen, and by taking a couple hours to browse around, we knew she was right. So many famous paintings and alternative styles; after seeing this, I decided that contemporary art was not so boring after all.
The Frick Museum “privatized, house-like display with beautiful garden courtyard”
Christie’s “modern, hip galleries with accessible viewing even for the public”
MOMA “went on the free friday night which brings in a ton of people, overwhelming crowd but wonderful collection”
MET “absolutely huge, way too many rooms, but loved the Islamic and Contemporaries galleries.”
Guggenheim “architectural genius, modern flair and great display of current Italian Futurism”