29 Nov an American Master
so while I was in New York City for the Williamsburg Independent Film Festival I had a bit of extra time on my hands. the screenings were all in the evenings, which meant I was free to explore the city during the day. last week I talked a bit about the “Discovering Columbus” exhibit. this week I’m going to talk about the George Bellows Retrospective that I visited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The MET is an immense and beautiful museum located on 5th Avenue just outside of Central Park. this was my second visit and I feel like I have only begun to scratch the surface of what they have to offer in their permanent collection.
on this visit I was there to see two special exhibits. the first was “Regarding Warhol.” it was a collection of his work and the work of others that were inspired by him. the exhibit would have been a good primer for someone unfamiliar with American “Pop Art” from the late 20th Century, but for anyone familiar with that movement – the collection was rather blasé. I had seen many similar pieces by the artist featured at other museums…and often BETTER examples of what they were trying to get across. it felt like a collection of artists “2nd best” work.
in some ways, I think this set me up for the experience I had in the George Bellows exhibit. I had just seen a pretty large where I had known enough about the artists to know that this was NOT a collection of their best work. it had reenforced my belief that I had a pretty good art knowledge. and then I walked in the Bellows gallery.
right away I was stunned.
the colors, the brush work, the subject matter.
the combinations of intensity and serenity.
the everyday folk going about their everyday lives presented in a beautiful and thoughtful manner.
I thought to myself “WHY DO I NOT KNOW THIS ARTIST?”
because his work contained so many of the styles and themes that resonate with me as a viewer and artist, I was shocked I didn’t already know of him. however, at the same time I was thrilled to be making the discovery of his work. it was like finding out that a casual friend shares so many interests with you that they are destined to become your BEST friend.
not only was I excited about discovering George Bellows – but I was also excited by the prospect of finding a “new” painter from the early 1900’s. I realized that if his work existed – then there were probably many other artists who’s work I had yet to see and appreciate. and that was a pretty great feeling. it made me thrilled to keep exploring and to keep seeking out new art and experiences.
and here are a few examples of his work.
so what have you discovered recently that has excited you?