BWW Reviews: MOMA's Fun, For a Friday Night and More
MOMAS Fun, For a Friday night and more:
What was so hot in "The Street" when Oldenburg's Old Storefront was in Town
By Barry Kostrinsky
Two Girls dresses 1961 Braselette 1961
MOMA is hot, blame it on Global Warming.
I can't remember anytime I enjoyed such a large range of works on different floors at MOMA. Claes Oldenburg's old storefront packed up a little differently this week compared to what must have happened after its four year run in the early 1960's. You may have missed this one that has sat too long on my desktop. As recompense go to MOMA for free one Friday night from 4-8pm, tell them Barry sent you. Often we only read about exhibitions, who can schlep to so much?
Breakfast Table and Lingerie Counter 1962
You could taste the energy in Oldenburg's drawings and sculptures and feel the force from the MOMA exhibit hall. Oldenburg made palpable the street energy of the era. Claus's drawing were not coming from a Zen-like introspective searching for an outward guiding hand but from a fierce hand with a frenzied pace reaching for a similar power of the possessed. Claus removes the function of the object to make it useless as anything else but art. He tricks us and plays between the lines of the real, the faux and art.
From MOMA's greatly expanded ceilings hung screens that projected happenings from an era we are mostly removed from and are now distant from today's Sotheby's and Christies sales happenings. The cynic in me wants to mention the destruction of the temple, the ruin of the old MOMA by its older Dadas- the garden, the lone relic of the past, but I won't digress. I want to compare boards desires for bigger and better art spaces as a parallel with some other infatuation in our society for bigger and better something but the words and image eludes me and I won't do that either.
Back at MOMA, my friend mentioned he was in many such happenings like the ones we gazed mesmerized at from the well-hung ceilings. He recounted tails of happenings in pools. Nothings changed, pools are still happening. Oddly enough when we came to one of Oldenburg's seminal pieces, his shelve of solidified and splatterized dessert and ice cream treats gone mummified, it was my time to bring the work home, or better to work.
Claes Oldenburg. Pastry Case, I. 1961-62. Painted plaster sculptures on ceramic plates, metal platter, and cups in glass-and-metal case, 20 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 14 3/4" (52.7 x 76.5 x 37.3 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection. © 2012 Claes Oldenburg
I looked closely and said in almost disbelief that there is my #28 base and a #566 top in the case. My old family business made, amongst other things, silver plated banana split and ice cream sundae dishes for many 50's ice cream shops. Mr. Oldenburg had used two of my products in his case! One of the sundae dishes was polished and the silver looked great and very reflective, almost too much so. The other had lost all it's silver and the base metal, nickle silver gave the opposite effect, a flat mat lighter grey finish. The clash of the two different finishes irked me a bit as I wondered how Claus had it and what would be the proper polished presentation.
Now eat that in an hour you quick gobbling gargantuan guerillas
Oldenburg is mostly known for his soft sculptures and growing the small bigger: the mundane gone somewhat monumental. A few of these large limp alien like objects graced the grand exhibit space on MOMA's 6th floor. A few years ago I saw an exhibit that just focused on these game changers for contemporary sculptures that opened up doorways of possibilities for many young sculptures to whom Claes implies Santa. That show left me thinking Mr. Oldenburg, though critical for steering the path of art history was behind the times and his work was fading like a drawing in sunlight. I had seen other soft work, by other artists, in particular a white soft piano at the Bronx Museum, that moved me more than Oldenburg's work did. The MOMA show sets these soft oversized nonsubtleties in their proper context. They do come alive amongst the other art works cranked out from his creative and memorable though short lived storefront.