Tick-Tock Goes “The Clock”

(Pre-script: if you know the television reference I am making with this title, you are my new best friend!)

What can I say about Christian Marclay’s The Clock? Is it overhyped? Of course. Did I wait on line for an hour to see it (in front of a guy who’d seen almost all 24 hours and wouldn’t shut up about it)? Oh dear god yes. Is it enjoyable? Absolutely.

When I first heard of it, it was playing at MFA Boston on the occasion of the opening of its new contemporary art wing (with a kerfuffle about their original plan to charge a large fee to see it at the opening). I heard it described as a video collage in which at every moment the clock on screen portrays the actual time. When I heard that the lines to see it were very long, I did not think it was worth the wait.

But then I read a profile of Christian Marclay in the New Yorker, which went into detail about the how much work went into the production, and described several particularly clever moments in the film. What I hadn’t realized from the original description was that it was not just the clocks but the segments of movies surrounding the appearance of the clocks, including the moments of tension, waiting, being awoken, being late, that we come to realize make an important aspect of the tone of a movie. The article also talked about his origins as a sound artist/DJ, making clear that impeccable editing of sound and film, is what really makes his work an art.

This article made me much more curious, and with the second chance to see it at Lincoln Center, I decided this time it was worth the wait, and it lived up to expectations. I was there for 3 hours (from 3:50 to 7pm), but it never felt tedious. I wouldn’t quite call it “hypnotic:” it’s more like the kind of suspension of reality you experience watching a traditional movie, despite the fact that The Clock has no continuous plot. This engenders the realization that plot is probably only a fraction of what we see movies for; instead  The Clock makes clear that framing, color, setting, costume, our favorite stars from every movie era, and most importantly the automatic emotion provoked by crystal clear music cues are enough to entertain us. As my friend put it, it is “pure entertainment.”

And it is indeed impeccably edited. Segments from different movies blend together seamlessly, helped by the equally well-edited music, which will overlap from one clip into another, and then stop when a new character pulls the needle off a record-player.

I would love to see more off it, but not enough to wait on line for another hour.

The Jewish Museum, Part 2: Edouard Vuillard

In addition to Kehinde Wiley at the Jewish Museum, there was a much larger exhibition of Édouard Vuillard (associated with the Nabis, a subset of Post-Impressionists inspired by the example of Gauguin; they focused on flattened space and visual patterning).

When I was a first-year at Smith College (explains a bit about my feminist rants, huh?) I saw a lecture by a Nabis scholar, Katherine Kuenzli, which focused on the shy intimacy and sexual tension of small Vuillard paintings like this one, in the Smith College Museum of Art’s collection:

Edouard Vuillard, Interior with Work Table, or The Suitor, 1893

Because of the interesting lecture, and my pride in and intimacy with this work in Smith’s collection, I came to have a fondness for Vuillard. I certainly preferred him over his better-known, more pastel Nabi cousin, Pierre Bonnard.

But the Jewish Museum’s retrospective, spanning his whole career (which lasted surprisingly long, til his death in 1940), quite lessened my enthusiasm. The show was made up of much larger paintings than the Smith one (a puny 12 x 14 inches), and his style didn’t capture as much attention at a larger scale. Only a small handful, maybe 3 or 4 paintings, really appealed to me.

The most interesting aspects of the exhibition were not the paintings. Vuillard was apparently very engaged in the avant-garde theater of the time–Strindberg, Ibsen, et cetera–and designed sets for them, as well as posters and playbills that were on display in the exhibition. These lithographs hazily blended image and text, and you get a sense that this perfectly suited the moods of the plays themselves.

Interesting too were photographs on display, most of which Vuillard himself took. Suddenly the relation between the patterning of his paintings and the actual interiors and figures he was depicting becomes clear:

Vuillard photograph of the Natansons

Edouard Vuillard, Misia and Vallotton at Villeneuve, 1899


The exhibition concluded with a video about his photographs, which you can also view on the exhibition website, but the narration and presentation were too dull to inspire attention (unlike the fascinating video in the Wiley exhibition).

Also interesting was that he actually became more, not less, photorealistic over time, which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. As with the earlier paintings, there would be aspects of the painting that were beautiful, but rarely did the whole composition coalesce into something great. The colors were somehow bright and muddy at the same time, the focus at once too sharp while trying to maintain a stippled effect, the strokes too hard to be soft, but not hard enough.

Edouard Vuillard, Madame Marcel Kapferer at Home, 1916

I still love the Smith picture, but I now see it as more of an exception to his oeuvre, not the rule.

The Jewish Museum, Part 1: Kehinde Wiley

I have always loved Kehinde Wiley’s work. For those not familiar, Wiley makes large-scale painted portraits of black men, in poses and set in backgrounds that reference grand renaissance portraits or other art historical precedents. The ones I’d seen before very explicitly appropriated famous paintings, like David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps:

Kehinde Wiley, Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps, 2005

I loved this intertwining of historical and modern representations of pride and masculinity, and the subtle details meant to emphasize this: look closely, and you can almost always find sperm depicted somewhere, often on the imitation historical frames that Wiley makes to go with the paintings.

I was unfamiliar with his World Stage series, in which he travels around the world, to locations he picks for their political or cultural interest, and makes a series of portraits of the “black and brown people” (his words) around the world, and choosing decorative backgrounds that reference the local culture and history.

Appropriately, he exhibited “The World Stage: Israel” at the Jewish Museum, on the occasion of their purchase of a work from the series that used a Jewish paper cut in their collection as the background.

Kehinde Wiley, Alios Itzhak, 2011

It was a small exhibition, but showed this and many other works from the series, along with the paper cuts and embroideries from the museum’s collection that showed the sources, direct or indirect, of the imagery Wiley used, though as in the work above, Wiley’s color schemes were greatly keyed up. I walked in on a tour of the show, in which the tour guide said these embroideries were typically a feminine handicraft. Given Wiley’s focus on masculine pride, I found this an interesting juxtaposition. (I regret that I just missed his first exhibition of female portraits.)

The paintings themselves were good, but they didn’t excite me as much as the more traditionally art historical ones–call it the thrill of recognition, of “I get it! I get it!”

The most interesting aspect of the show, actually, was a short video at the end, interviewing Wiley as well as some of his models and illuminating his process (including his meticulous direction of their unnatural poses). Forgive the metaphor, but it really did bring his subjects to life, in ways that enhanced the portraits retroactively. One focal point was Kalkidan, a rapper whose songs formed the soundtrack to the video. Another great scene saw Wiley entering a nightclub in search of subjects, where he found white Israelis in dreadlocks and Bob Marley t-shirts, or Chicago Bulls jerseys.

Wiley articulated his interested in not just the diaspora of “brown and black people,” but in the globalization of African American culture, which then is reused and reinterpreted in its local context. Kalkidan explained in his own way, both in speech and in his raps, that hip hop is an expression of pride in his identity (“Father Israel and Mother Africa”), as well as a shield against those who would try to bring him down. Wiley explained that the presence of Ethiopians is deeply rooted in modern Israel, but often overlooked, and that their experience of marginality is similar to that of black Americans.

As I indicated, the story behind the paintings was a bit more interesting than the paintings, but they are still enjoyable. They’re certainly very well made, though I think the garish colors and dense patterning prevented me from wanting to inspect them closely for a prolonged period of time.

The Jewish Museum, Part 2, to come! Also coming up soon: The Clock, Boetti, and Kusama! And historical bonus: the terracotta warriors of Ancient China! Stay tuned!

“Hello, Nature!” and Hello, Maine!

Most likely if you know the work of William Wegman of the Weimaraners, you might see him as what I call a “calendar artist,” like Anne Geddes or Kim Anderson (though less saccharine): cute, clever photographs that you might enjoy seeing on a calendar, but likely don’t picture encountering in a fine art context. Perhaps like me, as a child you cracked up over his canine twist on fairy tale picture books, like Cinderella, or his video segments for Sesame Street and Nickelodeon.

However, throughout his career the fine art world as well as the entertainment world have taken notice, and he has exhibited at and been collected by major art institutions around the world. This summer, “William Wegman: Hello Nature!” at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art focuses particularly on the work he’s done in/on Maine, where he has spent summers for three decades.

The expected Weimaraners are indeed on display here, in photographs that are even more witty and whimsical than you remember. A particular highlight was a film in which Wegman’s dogs act out a Hardy Boys-like mystery in Vacationland (he calls them the Hardly Boys). Unlike most films you encounter in a museum, or even in a movie theater, it was uproariously funny; you could hear the audience laughter throughout the museum several times during the half-hour long screening.

Even more unexpected though, are his paintings, drawings and collages. Of particular note are his paintings that use postcards, real and imagined, as jumping off points for expanded landscapes that interconnect in ways that are both probable and improbable, but always compositionally harmonious.

William Wegman, “Mainer,” 2006

Similarly witty are his extrapolations from old vacation brochures, turning the kitschy into the cleverly absurd.

Art in the galleries was not (explicitly) ordered by theme or chronology, nor was there much text. This made a refreshing change: you didn’t have to think too hard about what they were trying to tell you, just enjoy, which matched the light-hearted tone of the art itself. Small, playful drawings and collages have a significant presence, works that you might normally think of as ephemera or supplemental. Some walls were accented with distinctly hand-painted drawings; even the title was hand-painted, and not so slickly that you wouldn’t know it was. These paintings didn’t need a reason or explanation, they were just there to add another level of enjoyment of the artist’s whimsical (and literal) touch.

All these things made it, in the best sense of the word, a summer show, and this was reflected in its popularity. Especially surprising given that it was a lovely summer Friday afternoon, the museum was just about as busy as I’ve ever seen a college museum when there wasn’t a special event. This demonstrated what a professor of mine told me when he gave a lecture there: the whole town seemed to show up for the reception, and they weren’t there to see him. The town seems to really take note of, support, be interested in, and attend what is going on there.

This contrasts with my previous experience at galleries at Tufts and MIT, where it seemed that the exhibitions were always critically acclaimed, but seemed badly attended, particularly by their immediate college and local communities. The context is of course completely different–they have to contend with the major Boston cultural attractions.

I’m particularly excited by the community investment in the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, because it is the site of my not-too-distant future employment! I was up there scouting out apartments; I start as curatorial assistant in mid-August.

I’m just back from Maine, and have a week in New York. Here’s my New York to-do list: Kehinde Wiley at the Jewish Museum, Christian Marclay’s The Clock at Lincoln Center, Boetti at MoMA, Yayoi Kusama at the Whitney. I will also have one afternoon to devote to art in San Francisco on Friday: please let me know if you have particular recommendations! Expect reports on all these things, and many more!

“Whistler, how’s your mother?”

says Manet to Whistler, in one of the funniest lines of Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d’Art, by Christopher Moore. Whistler responds, “She’s an arrangement in gray and black…” using the actual title of Whistler’s Mother, supposedly before he actually paints the painting. A little in-joke for American art enthusiasts.

Whistler’s Mother, or An Arrangement in Gray and Black

I had read one book by Christopher Moore before, called The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror (which is apparently going to be a movie; if it’s a quarter as funny as the book, it’ll be worth seeing.) Perhaps apart from David Sedaris, it was the most I’ve ever laughed out loud while reading a book. Here’s one scene, the rise of the zombies, that I found particularly memorable in its wry absurdity:

“Suddenly we are all gluttons, are we? Well, I have always enjoyed Danish Modern furniture for its functional yet elegant design, so once we have consumed the brains of these revelers, I feel compelled to seek out one of these furniture boutiques I have heard so much about from newlyweds in the chapel. First we feast, then IKEA.”

“IKEA,” chanted the dead. “First we feast, then IKEA. First we feast, then IKEA.”

… No one knows why, but second only to eating the brains of the living, the dead love affordable prefab furniture.

I gather this is generally Moore’s M.O., comic mysteries with a supernatural twist, but never really felt like shelling out bucks for other books of his, until I heard he’d published one about art, about the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists in particular, and more generally about the power of the color blue (my favorite). BOOM! On my Amazon wishlist. BOOM! Got it for a graduation present (thanks cousins Nina, Yash and Luca!).

I will start by saying that this was not as laugh-out loud funny as The Stupidest Angel, but I enjoyed it just the same. The enjoyment was similar to my enjoyment of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris: it’s not a masterpiece, but as an art person, I get a kick out of seeing these artists turned into characters, regardless of how accurate or inaccurate. (Adrian Brody as Salvador Dalí was an absolute riot!)

In Sacré Bleu, Toulouse-Lautrec is one of two main characters, along with his friend, a fictional baker/painter named Lucien Lessard, who plays the straight man to Toulouse-Lautrec’s clowning, wisecracking and debauchery. As mentioned above, Manet and Whistler make brief appearances, as do Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Gauguin, the van Gogh brothers, Seurat, Morisot, Michelangelo, and many more.

SPOILER ALERT! If you want to know nothing about the plot going into the book, stop reading here. The premise is that there’s a mysterious Colorman selling a powerful ultramarine blue, which in combination with a female spirit that inhabits the artists’ muses and inspires them both sexually and artistically, results in shifts in time and place, as well as sudden and tragic deaths.

Another great line from the book:

“You said Gauguin was a self-important tosser,” said Lucien.

“I did?”

“Many times.”

“Well I meant theorist.”

Moore concludes with an afterword titled, “So Now You’ve Ruined Art,” in which he distinguishes fact from fiction in his book. More is based in truth than you might think, and though the dialogue of course comes across as anachronistically contemporary, he did try to base artists’ personalities on first- and second-hand accounts. On Degas’ absence from the book, he says:

…considering him as a potential character, it seemed as if he was a miserable, unlikable guy, and I didn’t want to have to portray that. So he doesn’t get a part in my book. See, if you hadn’t been a jerk, you’d have had a speaking part, Degas, but no.

He concludes with a mediation on the commercialism of Impressionism:

There is a tendency, I’ve found, among academics and art enthusiasts, to dismiss the Impressionists, with their fields of flowers and their pink-cheeked girls, as insignificant, pablum for the masses, and once you’re seen your thousandth tote bag sporting Monet’s lilies, it’s understandable. Among museums, the Impressionists, represent a cash cow, because any show that features them will pack the museum for weeks, even months, wile it runs, and so they are often regarded with a restrained resentment, if not for the painters, for the masses who come to see their work. Out of the context of their own time, the Impressionists just seem to be producing “pretty pictures.” Yet, Impressionism represented a quantum leap in painting and ultimately art in general.

Well said. As arguably the first, or at least one of the first, dominoes along the chain of modernism, I’d have to agree.

I would recommend Sacré Bleu as a great vacation read for anyone, particularly art historians who might want to read about art, sort of, without having to digest anything too heavy.

More posts, soon, promise! And a little taste.

I know I have been a delinquent blogger. I have many new posts in the works, and will have much more time to work on them in the next few days/week. In the meantime, life is happening. More on that soon, too!

So here’s a little taste, an article that my parents alerted me to about curating as a growing, international profession. I’ve only just read it, and don’t have much to comment on–there’s nothing extremely revelatory about it, from my perspective. I guess I feel about it the way I felt years ago about New York Times “exposés” about teenage behavior, like “hook-up culture”–tell me something I don’t know! Coming from the group on which they’re reporting, it hardly seems newsworthy; if you wanted to know, you coulda just asked me!

Of course people from outside said group would not feel this way–I know my perspective is privileged. Nonetheless, the article doesn’t seem to probe very deeply or provide much insight, though of course to do so would have to be a much more extended research project. The article can’t even really settle on its focus: is it about how more and more people are choosing curator as a profession? (if so, where are the statistics to back this up?) Is it about how much more international curating is, either because of how much curators have to travel, or the diversity of places that curators come from, places that have now become more relevant to the global contemporary art world? (I wrote a bit about this in a previous post.) Is it just about this one particular curator’s training program/conference, or the growing popularity of events like it? The article touches on all these things briefly without expanding on their connections or significances.

So I guess I had something to say about the article after all! Posting about it helped me process my thoughts on it–which is really the point of all this!

What do you think?

A Yankee in Connecticut’s Art Court

Sorry for the not very good, punny title – I had to. This is the girl who once spent half a day trying to turn the title of her qualifying paper into a good Star Wars pun (I got pretty close!).

I wrote my first post about an exhibition series at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, united states, because I perceived in the promotion of the show a seeming gender disparity, in which “solo exhibitions” were all by male artists and women artists only had  “projects.” I expressed my concern to the museum and received a lovely and thoughtful response, which concluded with the hope that I could attend the opening, to which I responded, “Oh! I could actually do that!” I have my car with me and Ridgefield is just over an hour from the city (though if you don’t, they seem to run a shuttle from PS1 for openings). And I have a great friend in New Haven who could meet me there; what a lovely excuse to see her!

In terms of my concerns about the gender disparity, the whole thing was more like a group exhibition, in which certain galleries were given over to a series or several works by a single artist–the so-called “solo exhibitions.” The “projects” were just individual artworks that tended to take up more  liminal spaces like hallways and atria, but, as the exhibition director had said in his email to me, they in no way seemed subordinate to the solo shows.

That dispensed with, I very much enjoyed the exhibition opening and the art therein (as well as the company!). Hank Willis Thomas of course delivered, combining images of black athletes (wearing visible Nike and Under Armour logos) with images of cotton-picking, lynching and shackles, in large photographs with a gloss, visual language and blank black background reminiscent of advertising.

There was a video (vertical format, so the tv had to be turned sideways, which was amusing) with similar imagery. I’m not sure the video did anything that the photos didn’t, though to be fair I couldn’t hear its soundtrack, due to a performance taking place at the time.

The performance was by Jane Benson. The concept was touching: two musicians, each playing one half of a cello, one in a blue state (live in Connecticut), the other in a red state (Virginia), Skyped in. The piece they played, composed by one of the cello players, was less moving. Either because it was avant-garde music, or music as a part of conceptual art, the composition was screechy. I would have rather heard, and it might have been more interesting to see if two halves of cellos could have made, something melodic.

An artist my friend and I both really enjoyed was Erik Parker. His slick, day-glo paintings combined the sort of perverse cartooning style of Peter Saul or Carroll Dunham, with little bubbles of text referencing fraught sociopolitical events or art world luminaries, reminiscent of Maira Kalman and Rick Meyerowitz’s New Yorker cover “New Yorkistan.”

  +  = 

Jonathan Brand’s paper-made Mustang and Pedro Barbeito’s mixed media, multi-image paintings dazzled with their impeccable construction. Brad Kahlhamer’s katsina doll-like figures made of found objects and Risa Puno’s giant cooperative labyrinth game were charming and whimsical. Brian Knep’s interactive installation memorializing oft-overlooked confederate soldiers was as thought-provoking in its content as it was fascinating in its movement-capturing technology. See this video I took, with the lovely Laura B. demonstrating.

My overall takeaway was a bit of a revelation about my trouble connecting with a lot of contemporary art, particularly of a political nature. Many of these artworks had a political message, but first and foremost, they were beautifully constructed and aesthetically engaging objects, which helped make their message more relatable–an emotional engagement, as well as just an intellectual one. You didn’t have to read an essay on the political context in order to appreciate them, but you could if you wanted to.

And a bonus: though I want to and soon will be moving away from New York, because I would like to be somewhere new, it is nice to be reminded about the wonderful surprises awaiting around every corner, particularly when you get out of your neighborhood bubble. Spotted on far east 116th St.:


A woman waiting for the bus informed me that it used to be an Italian church/festival that has now been adopted by the Haitian community as the neighborhood evolved–a lovely thought.

Vacation Interlude: Shelburne Museum

Generally, these days, my first thought upon going to a new place is, “How many museums can I get to, and which ones?” So, it is really a true vacation when museums are not my top priority, and where I’m not in a place where they necessarily should be, such as Grand Isle, Vermont. I did however make an exception for the Shelburne Museum, since 1) it really is unique among museums and is therefore worth seeing while I am nearby, and 2) it’s a sort of vacation museum for me, as a large amount of it is outside, and is more history than art-y, so I don’t have to be thinking like an art museum professional.

It was, indeed, wonderful. The major highlights of its collection are all buildings or large structures – 39 of them, on 45 acres. Notable are the Round Barn, the steamship Ticonderoga, and an old private railroad car – pictured below (photos courtesy of me).

Round Barn, Shelburne Museum

Steamship Ticonderoga, Shelburne Museum

Inside the Railroad Car “Grand Isle,” Shelburne Museum

In a building that reconstructs period rooms from the museum founder Electra Webb’s swanky 740 Park Avenue NYC apartment, were hung the jewels of the art collection: an impressive suite of Monets, Manets, Degas, Cassatts and Chases – several of them portraits of Webb’s family members which included Vanderbilts and Havemeyers. It was a not unpleasant change to see these masterpieces in situ, in period rooms as many of of them would have originally been hung (of course, during the period, they were just called “rooms”).

In terms of museum practice (because I’m never totally off duty, am I?), I thought it was all very well done. Not overly text-heavy, only what was necessary, and you could skip the text but still easily enjoy what you were seeing. There was a well-done mini exhibit about conservation, where you could try different types of diagnostic light. This kind of thing often ends up hokey, but in this case was not.

Many of the buildings had staff members waiting inside who immediately stood when a visitor entered, ready to explain the building’s history and its contents. I think this is great, way better than lots of text, except when I was rushing to see as many buildings in a small amount of time, and I got held up by chatty docents because I wanted to be supportive and encouraging and not rude, and let them use their knowledge.

Similarly, several of the workshop buildings had working docents using the machinery – the print shop, the blacksmith, the weaving shop, et cetera – though they weren’t in period costume, like at Old Sturbridge Village, nor did they have to talk in period-appropriate language, as in this hilarious episode of South Park. This was informative and engaging, but could also lead to being stuck with a chatty docent.

Over all, a great experience. It’s always good to check out museums outside one’s area of specialty–something I don’t often enough make it a point to do.

And a bonus: just so you know what it is I’ve been forsaking my blogging for, here’s just one example of the view from our backyard:

Sunset over Lake Champlain, facing west towards Plattsburgh, NY, from South Hero, VT

Coming up on the art blog: William Wegman at Bowdoin College Art Museum, MetaMausSacré Bleu by Christopher Moore, and more art adventures to come, in New York, San Francisco, and elsewhere!

Brief Hiatus

I may not post as frequently – or at all – in the next week, as I am on vacation, and I am recalling that one of the best things about vacation is no longer being tied to the umbilical cord that is my laptop.

What I Saw When I Could Walk, pt. 2

And now, as promised, Cindy Sherman at MoMA and my celebrity siting!

As I mentioned, I was at home in New York to see these shows before they closed. I’d gone to the Met on Sunday, and was going to MoMA on Monday. I wanted to leave the house at a certain time, but dawdled and therefore arrived at the museum slightly later than I’d planned. Quick stop in the large gallery on the 2nd floor, to say hello to my old friend, Ellsworth Kelly’s Colors for a Large Wall, and a new friend, his Sculpture for a Large Wall.


Up to the top floor for Cindy Sherman. Surveyed the humongous wall papers of her strange characters in the atrium, then figured out which between the two entrances was the real start to the exhibition.

I lay out all these details because the timing was key. I caught the celebrity in question in the 2nd gallery, and he then went out through the first. He’d clearly gone through the show backwards, and so had I been a bit earlier or later, or done the same, I would have missed him.

First gallery, with a selection of works from different series and a few early portrait experimentations. Second gallery, with the full suite of Untitled Film Stills. I’m going through slowly and thoughtfully, trying to savor each one despite their great number and small size. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of a man, smiling knowingly at the photographs, who looks a great deal like Benedict Cumberbatch.

Right now, you’re either squealing with delight, or wondering, “who?” If you’re part of the small percentage of the general population who knows he is, you’re probably already obsessed with him. He is the star of BBC’s “Sherlock,” written by the inimitable Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss, a modern-day update of Sherlock Holmes in which the detective is an insensitive sociopath with razor sharp wit who talks a mile per minute. Check out Season 1 on Netflix, season 2 on Project Free TV (each season is 3 movie-length episodes). And don’t be fooled by the similar U.S. series coming out, “Elementary” (with Lucy Liu as Watson, seriously?????); it’s a cheap imitation.

So I’m in front of the Untitled Film Stills with a Cumberbatch lookalike. The face is spot-on, but I’m not sure about the body; this man is sporting broad, muscular shoulders in a tight t-shirt, jeans, and hipster headphones around his neck. I think of BC as quite svelte in his slim suits. So as subtly as I can I start following him around, pretending to look at art but really looking at him, to confirm my suspicion, and the more I see his face the more sure I am. Pretty soon, possibly cuz he realized I was stalking him, he left. As soon as I could, I texted my fellow Sherlock fans, with whom I’d just that day and previous night been discussing him.

Later, I had my doubts, because he was supposed to be in a play in London later that week. But I also found that he’d just been in New Jersey for some horse race. That he made it a point to get to MoMA for the Cindy Sherman in the middle of his hectic schedule, that and his knowing smiles at the Stills, shows that he’s a contemporary art fan. Swoon!

Oh, how was the exhibition, you say? Oh, yes, fine, good. I was in a bit of a tizzy after my encounter and had some trouble focusing back on the art, but after awhile I settled in. Otherwise, it was a good retrospective, progressing through her major series including some interesting ones I hadn’t seen, such as the Fashion ads in which she wears designer clothing but is otherwise completely hideous.

Generally each gallery was devoted to a series, but some galleries were a mix of works from different series with some other theme, like how she manipulated backdrops, or when she started putting multiple figures in through the magic of photoshop. These comparisons/themes seemed a little forced, and the mixed galleries seemed to break the rhythm of the show.

In my next post, Bowdoin and Buffalo, including more early Cindy Sherman!