On my recent visit to New York I went to MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). This post shows a few of the exhibitions, individual artworks or quotes from MoMA that have inspired me. Occasionally I have placed images of my own work which I have produced as a direct result of visiting MoMA:
‘A Trip From Here To There’
‘From draftsmen who accompanied explorers, to the romantics who roamed the countryside searching for the perfict spot to paint en plein air, to the urban wanderers who sought to capture the fashion and crush of the crowd, artists have always had occasions and opportunity to work outside the studio. Beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, as artists increasingly emphasized the process by which a work is made, road trips and other journeys became both medium and subject. Simply putting one foot infront of the other, meandering without destination, or crossing vast expanses of territory all offered a means and method for making new forms of art.
This exhibition presents works of the last sixty years whose making depends on walking, wandering and travel. For the artist here, mediums that are easily portable and mobile are essential, providing perfect complements to their nomadic activities. The analogy between wandering and art-making goes both ways: to walk is to draw a line on the landscape, natural and man-made scoring on the earth-roads, rivers, borders-are like marks made on paper or canvas; uncharted territory is a blank sheet ready to be inscribed; and creativity itself may be circular, directed of durational.’ (Storyboard, MoMA 2013)
Footprints from Traveling. Limit of Reach (1976)
Such a simple but striking process. This was displayed vertically about a foot off of the ground so the viewer had to stand over it to view.
Steps (9.11.1970) (1979)
I could experiment with this concept using my 1960’s Ordinance Survey maps however I would be back to worrying about copy rights in my work.
Following Piece (1969)
This reminds me of my hand stitched mindmaps mixed with my screen printing of maps. I could experiment with my photographic imagery of my walks around New York.
Walking A Straight 10-Line, Dartmoor, England (1970)
Walking a Straight 10-Mile Line, Dartmoor, England (1970) (detail)
A Walk of Four Hours and Four Circles (1972)
I was intrigued to see how simplistic Long documented his journeys.This is feeding into my own practice and opening me up to new posibilities. I have been reflecting on when I used to be a Munro Bagger (Scottish hill walker). My partner, who was my navigator, drew out our route onto the ordinance survay map after our walks.
While in New York my partner took on the roll of pathfinder. Once more he drew our walked routes each day however this time onto a tourist map. On some of these excursions I photographed the view from the middle of each of the roads while we were crossing. I am starting to utilise these images in my studio practice. Here is an example of the photographs, of which I have about 200.
Journey Snap Shot 1
This piece of work came about because I ordered two sets of photographs from different companies. They were both meant to be 6″ x 4″ however I had to chop one set up as they were to large. Rather than bin the scraps I created Journey Snapshot 1. I stitching the scraps onto curtain header tape then drew the cords together. (My fellow student Anne White suggested I stitch whole photographs onto the tape).Very excited about this work and plan to experiment further.
Journey Snapshot 1. (Detail)
Equals Infinity (1932)
Klee has used pointerlisum and mathematics here to express music. What I am fascinated by is the built up layers of transparent work creating a map like, which has a palimpsest quality to it’s structure. In an MA tutorial I was asked to consider how music effects my making. It is interesting how Klee has translated music into art.
Network of Stoppages (1914)
What interested me was Duchamp had turned a previous painting into a palimpsest by layering over a previous work to produce a map like structure however the original work was still visible. I want to emulate this in my experimentations.
Composition in White, Black, and Red (1936)
‘These atomized bands of stuttering chromatic pulses, interrupted by gray, create paths across the canvas suggesting the city’s grid, the movement of traffic, and blinking electric lights, as well as the rhythms of jazz.’ (story board, MOMA)
Broadway Boogie Woogie (1942-43)
This work by Mondrian is partly about the gridded system of New York City and the traffic.
Composition in Red, Blue,and Yellow (1937-42)
I am producing a grid like structure of my road crossing which have been stitched onto thin strips of paper. This is in direct response of viewing Mondrian’s work mixed with my reading of Psychogeography by Will Self. Self set out from his home in Stockwell, London and walked to Heathrow airport, boarded an aeroplane to JFK airport then proceeded to walk to New York City.
On my travels I walked around the streets of New York with little understanding of the navigation, leaving it to my partner to navagate.
Journey Installation 2 (ArtOne, The University of Chichester)
If you look closely, at the detailed photograph, you will see how the threads are left attached and they are all the same lenght. In all my previous work the threads are imbued with the meaning of text. Here this was’t happening but they were linking from one strip to another by trailing down onto the next row, creating a link. A fellow student, Gemma Green came to may aid and said ” I love the specific lengths, how they are conecting the photographs together. It also reminded me of the Hansel and Gretel story of leaving a trail” (Green, H. 2013)
Journey Installation 1
Journey Installation 1 (detail)
I am intrigued with the transparent layers creating a palimpsest in the artwork. Also the grid which has been subtly achieved. I see these connections with my work especially when I hang it, on mass, for tutorials. I alway display it with some form of gridding:
Stewart, A. (2013) Installations, The University of Chichester (2013)
This brings me onto a section in MoMa titled The Urban Palimpsest. There is a definite similarity of the grouping of the work in this section of MoMA and the way I instinctively hang my work when not conforming to a gallery setting. I have to question myself; am I arranging my work using my inherent nature or is it a previously learned conformity from previous life experiences. (I used to be a display artist for the department store John Lewis) This is something I will have to ponder on.
The Urban Palimpsest (Detail from works of various artists)
‘THE URBAN PALIMPSEST’
‘Architecture theorists Colin Rowe and Fred Koetter coined the term “collage city” in December 1973. In their 1978 book of that name (a text that is central to the postmodern critique of modernism’s urban proposals), eighteenth- and nineteenth-century ideas like “the city of collisions” and ” the city of museum” reemerged as forms of reconciliation between apparently opposing poles: the historical city and the modern city; tradition and utopia.
In this section of the exhibition, works in MoMA’s collection by artists, filmmakers, and graphic designers as well as architects demonstrate how, throughout the past century, photomontage and assemblage have been central in portraying the fragmented nature of the “collage city” in which we are immersed. The urban condition as seen here is both a palimpsest and an accumulation of signs. It is the expression of a culture context in which collage is both a process of observation and a state of mind-an instrument that, as Rowe and Koetter have suggested, demands serious reappraisal in the fields of architecture and urban thinking.’ (Storyboard, MoMA 2013)
Jacques de la Villegle
122 rue du temple (1968) Detail from: The Urban Palimpsest
4 April 1997- 4 June 1999, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin (1999) Detail from:The Urban Palimpsest