Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cy Twombly

So I have been excited about the new Cy Twombly show at Gagosian for months. I love Cy Twombly. He had cover 4 in Art in America in Feb, and I have been staring at this image since the first bound copies arrived. Yay, I thought. Finally. A big, juicy painting show in Chelsea. Just what I need.

However. Upon planning my weekend around the 'The Rose' Twombly exhibit I realized that I hadn't actually read the ad. I just looked at the picture. This show is at the Britannia Street space in London. Hot damn.

While this doesn't totally kill my weekend-- I have plenty to do and much to see-- it is a little disappointing. Kind of like the first time I was going to go ice skating at the only ice skating rink in the entire state. I already had my carefully chosen black stretch pants, over sized purple sweatshirt, and scrunchy socks on. My ponytail was skater-perfect and my heart was fully prepared to become Kristy Yamaguchi the moment I stepped on the ice.

However. Right before leaving for the big event we learned that the rink was CLOSED for the entire weekend. Okay, the Cy Twombly thing is not really all that much like the ice skating incident because having the rink closed DID kill my weekend. And my childhood. It was terrible. I didn't step on the ice until years later. But at any rate... lets take a moment and talk about Cy Twombly.

Twombly is an artists' artist. He is valued and praised within a certain sect and ignored elsewhere. I first saw his work during a painting course in college... to me he was the guy who pretended to be a preschooler with his scribbles and drips.

But when you reach a level of understanding in the Contemporary community Cy Twombly suddenly becomes the utmost of brilliant. He is Michelangelo, he is Giotto. Cy Twombly's scribbles and drips are completely unreachable. It's this irony that gets us in the end.

The easy way out is to call Twombly 'childlike.' This description annoys me. If referencing children's marks was his only purpose he wouldn't have already had a retrospective at Tate Modern and have record sales at both Sotheby's and Christie's. His paintings are in every major collection in the world, and without him there is a definite missing piece.

Twombly recalls the history of art in his marks. He nods at the High Renaissance, references the Italian coast, gracefully illustrates the four seasons. He did an entire series based on Bacchus that i love, love, love. He relays springtime in bursts of color and formulated script. In order to understand Twombly you must understand that he is intensely intuitive-- something that translates directly from brush to canvas to viewer. It's striking.

You will have to forgive any image that you find online or in a textbook... like the other greats, he should really only be viewed in person. MoMa has a few pieces up, and I'm sure the Met has one or two in that terribly dull Contemporary wing.

But the best way to see Twombly is surrounded by other Twomblys-- in a gallery show. That is why I was looking forward to the Gagosian show this weekend-- a big white room, dead silent, and fiercely intimidating.

Anyone up for a day trip to London?

1 comment:

B Butler said...

Sarah: I forgot about your skating disappointment. I learn more and more as I go along! Dad