Sunday, July 18, 2010

American modern.

The modern galleries at the Smithsonian American Art Museum are not just beautiful, they contain a host of great, contemporary art works by some of my favorite artists.  Here are a few of the works that caught my attention.

It's no secret that I like Jenny Holzer's work.  Visitors to the American Art Museum are drawn into the modern gallery with a spectacular Holzer sculpture.  This work is perfectly installed and uses technology in an ingenious way.  It's an LED system but it's like nothing I've seen before.  Here's a quick video of For SAAM (2007, electronic LED array with white diodes).

Nam June Paik offers a spectacular view of the American dream with Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii (1995). This dazzling neon map features Paik's trademark TV screens that deliver location-related video clips from classic American works like The Wizard of Oz and Oklahoma.

Duane Hanson's hyper-real sculptures that depict every-day people are noteworthy not just for their spectacular executions, but also for their creepiness. This is Woman Eating (1971, polyester resin, fiberglass, polychromed in oil with clothes, table, chair, and accessories).

And I can't leave without noting this work by artist Deborah Butterfield.  It's not that I'm particularly fond of the work, it's just that I think I've seen more Deborah Butterfield horses than just about any other artist's work.  From art museums around the country (including the Utah Museum of Fine Arts) to airports to public spaces, Butterfield's horses are everywhere.  Here's Monekana (2001, bronze).

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