During my spring break, I journeyed to Chicago to see a few museums and eat some delicious food. My favorite museum that I went to was the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was so glad to be in the warmth of the museum on a cold, blustery, afternoon!
On to the actual material in the museum. The MCA has several rotating exhibitions at all times, and I was lucky enough to be able to see their exhibit entitled Endless Summer. The exhibit featured 10 or so different works by artists such as Edward Ruscha, Robert Irwin, and Craig Kauffman. As a whole, Endless Summer was an exhibit that offered a glimpse into the minimalist style of Los Angeles in the 1960’s. Noticeably different from East Coast minimalism, Endless Summer was influenced by surf culture and SoCal’s famous weather. These artists used some of the most cutting-edge materials such as plastic and fiberglass in their works.
I never thought that I would be the kind of person to enjoy minimalism, but I was entranced by the smooth textures, and light patterning of the works on display at the MCA. As minimalist artists strove to break the long line of traditional academic art and eliminate the differences between painting and sculpture, I assumed that minimalism was not the style for my painterly heart. However, I was surprised by how artistic and articulate these works could be.
The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the most prominent art museums in my area. They’re known for their Asian pieces (my favorites are their pottery collection), as well as their classic and modern collection (they have a really great Van Gogh collection). However, the museum is huge and there is no way to cover the entire museum in a single blog post. Instead, I’ll be discussing a small part of SLAM’s collection. This exhibition is known as A Century of Japanese Prints.
The collection consists of works from SLAM’s modern and contemporary collection, many of which have never been displayed before. In 2016, SLAM exhibited a collection called Conflicts of Interest. This exhibition was able to be displayed due to a generous donation of 1,400 prints to SLAM. Conflicts of Interest focused on Meiji-era military art. The A Century of Japanese Prints exhibit, however, focused on civil works and creative printmaking.
The exhibit tracks the influence of the West on traditional Japanese woodblock printmaking, and how the creativity of the artists developed overtime. This mimics the shift in the modernization of the ideology after the Meiji period, which wanted to rejuvenated the culture and industry of Japan. Below, you can check out one of my favorite prints that were on display. This exhibit closes on January 28, 2018, so go and check it out while you still can!
Located in downtown Denver, I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art – Denver in late November. The three story museum was filled with an exhibit called Saber Acomodar, art and workshops of Jalisco 1915-now. Opened in September, 2017, in conjunction with the Biennial of the Americas, the exhibition investigates works created in Jalisco, Mexico, from 1915 to the present. The exhibition featured 25 artists who combined traditional techniques with contemporary ideas. MCA – Denver has a longstanding relationship with artists from Jalisco, artists including Jorge Méndez, and Eduardo Sarabia have showcased their work in the museum.
One of my favorite works in the exhibit (pictured above) is Eduardo Terrazas‘ Crecimento exponencial. Made in 1975, Terrazas’ work is comprised of 16 paint on acrylic canvases. Terrazas’ work represents exponential growth. Exponential growth is signified by adding black lines to a white canvas until the canvas becomes totally black.
Overall, the MCA – Denver was a lovely little museum with a cute cafe on the top floor with stunning downtown views. The museum wasn’t all that busy when I was there, which gave me plenty of time to examine my favorite works in relative peace. I would recommend the MCA – Denver to a visiting museum buff, or a contemporary art fan. The museum itself probably would not take up more than an afternoon, which would leave you enough time to spend exploring downtown later in the evening.