We went on an art bender last weekend. My husband and I had been craving inspiration and without a formal plan we ended up at Art In the Orchard, Mass MoCA, and MoMA over the course of three days, travelling progressively farther each time to complete our art tour.
There were the Caution Nests at the Orchard, tidy wrapped bundles made with yellow and black caution tape that loosened at the ends. We passed peach trees, roaming chickens, and woven horse sculptures among other installations. The experience of walking through an outdoor gallery, submerged in summer evening was quite perfect.
At Mass MoCA, I discovered several artists who left me speechless. Clifford Ross’ photographs of landscapes Seen and Imagined were stunning; particularly his black and white images of arrested hurricane waves that were large enough to seemingly enter through the frame.
In Liz Deschenes’ Gallery 4.1.1, varying shades of blue pigment printed on acrylic panels spoke directly of the space they occupied as well as the physical materials used to produce them. The panels were translucent so that light passed through them depending on where you stood. They were calming, beautiful, and somber to witness and I highly recommend checking out Deschenes’ larger body of photographic works. As light passed through them overhead and through the large bank of windows, I was reminded too of Mark Rothko and Josef Albers’ color paintings.
Then there was Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971 at MoMA in New York. To say the show was mind blowing, well, that would be an understatement. The gallery was so packed we could barely move. The show marks Ono’s first official exhibition at MoMA dedicated exclusively to her work. She had an unauthorized MoMA debut in late 1971 in which she called her “one woman show,” titling it the Museum of Modern [F]art. At the time, the artist posted a sign outside the museum stating she had released flies on the grounds that visitors were invited to track as they flew throughout the city.
Fast forward 40 plus years, Ono’s official exhibition includes early text pieces, installations, performances, and films including Painting to Be Stepped On (1960/1) and her performance Bag Piece (1964). I couldn’t turn away from her film Cut Piece (1964) in which she addressed gender, class and cultural identity issues by asking views to cut away pieces of her clothing as she sat silently on stage, as well as her text-based work Grapefruit (1964) which included typed instructions taken from her notable self-titled book. Her end of the decade collaborations with John Lennon, including Bed-In (1969) and along with artwork and recordings from her Plastic Ono Band were equally arresting. I could go on about each piece but will let you hop over MoMA’s site to read more details about Ono’s work and the show.
We walked through Ono’s show as well as several other galleries during the two hours we had to spend at MoMA. I couldn’t truly appreciate what it was like to see all this work up close until several days later. I needed time to process all of it. To let it surface in quitter moments while drinking coffee or pausing over salad at lunch. Art benders are the good and necessary kind of indulgence to fit into our busy lives.
So where are you finding inspiration these days? Any art or places we should know about? If so, share them in the comments!