Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Three to see.

And now, my three favorite picks from Monet to Picasso at the Utah Museum of Fine Art (UMFA).

1. Pierre Bonnard’s The Dessert, or After Dinner, 1921. OK, so I like Bonnard and the fact he was included in this show is one of the reasons I was excited to go. This work (unlike the other Bonnard in the exhibit) demonstrates why the artist is so likeable. I could stare at this painting for hours trying to figure out what’s going on. The woman, looking concerned; or is that disdain. The boy who seems lost in a daydream, or did he just disappoint. And then that dog. I like the brushwork, the colors, the subject matter. I could live with a painting like this.

2. Auguste Rodin’s The Age of Bronze, 1875-76. There are plenty of nice Rodins in this show. But this life-sized statue stops you dead in your tracks. It’s hard to communicate the emotions inspired by the young man; the clenched hand, the grasped hair, the powerful stance. You can see why people found it hard to believe that this wasn’t cast from an actual human. Ah, the magic of art. I may not know what it means. But I know it means something.

3. Salvadore Dali’s The Dream, 1931. I like Salvadore Dali. From the Lobster Phone, to time melting, to those wacky films, I’m not sure Mr. Dali gets the credit he deserves. I’m pretty sure that without him we wouldn’t get to Pop Art. And many of today’s most well-known artists like Jeff Koons seem to have a direct line to Dali. Even artists like Marc Quinn, Damien Hirst, and Tim Hawkinson seem to tip their hats at Surrealism. This painting is classic Dali; the creepy figure with no eyes or mouth; the meticulously painted ants. And is that two guys making out in the background? It just makes you want to grow a crazy mustache.

Now it’s your turn. Visit the UMFA before September 21 and pick your three favorites.

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