Saturday, July 22, 2017

Exhibitions | A Torrid Summer Night at the Whitney Museum

It is another hot and humid evening in NYC with heat advisory warning and I have just received a cutthroat settlement proposal in my traumatic divorce. The Whitney Museum pay-what-you-wish evening hours are a literally refreshing alternative to my hot and sweaty day—literally and metaphorically. After all, art has always offered solace during troubled times.

Two different seemingly different exhibitions are on view at the Whitney Museum. The sixth floor is filled with "Calder: Hypermobility" a display of mobile sculptures by Alexander Calder (1896-1976). The American sculptor developed in the early 1930s a new kinetic art form, the mobile—a sculptural composition of suspended elements, often made of metal, finding balance in their own relational movements.  

Calder's mobile continued on the 3rd floor with the mobiles "performative" actions activated by Whitney's staff in "Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere" a recreation of the 1932-33 installation. The hypnotic movement of the found objects composition capture the audience for over twenty, eliciting, what I experienced as meditative state, which I greatly welcomed considering the stress of my day cursed by divorce matters. 

The fifth floor instead presents "Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium" a retrospective of the Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica (1937—1980). The exhibition spans from the early geometry based drawings and three-dimensional works to film and installation and participatory art, including Parangolés (wearable layers of fabric) and Penetrables (environments). The recreation of the large-scale environments "Tropicalia" and "Eden" are opened to the museum public as walkthroughs. Oiticica’s oeuvre, much involved in a political discourse, encompassed visual art, architecture, music, poetry, theater and film and was greatly influenced by the counter-culture scene of New York in the 1970s reflecting the several years spent by the artist in the city.

Finally the urban views from the museum terrace!