DC/NYC 1011: What was I thinking? Hirshhorn.

It is a wonderful example of late modernist structures. The gallery area is circular over a block diameter, and two shows were aligned back to back.

“Every artist grows and Warhol is no exception. I  don’t know where he would have gone, but we don’t need to guess since we will never know. Two shows in Washington, one at the National Gallery, Warhol Headlines, the other here at the Hirshhorn give us contrast between the work of the 60s and the later work of the 80s.

It is a shame that the National Gallery did not allow photography. Two side by side images of the Headline of Princess Meg having a baby would have been nice to contrast on. The image on the left of the current show was more like Warhol’s contemporary and friend, Jasper Johns. Warhol moved from painting toward printmaking. His flowers may be the best example of a softer, more painterly style, which he actually was headed for in the later portraits of the 80s. More refined, and less harsh than the Marilyn portrait prints.

Shadows is an interesting show because it goes back to what Warhol did in film. The color is less harsh and sometime color is laid on top of color, like Matisse did. These images are repetitive, but here totally visual. They repeat and reverse. Warhol is more painterly in technique, even though the foundation is silk screen. He uses both impasto at points and metallics, which were really coming into their own in acrylic by the 80s. I was told that the linear set up was not the same as when it was shown in SoHo in the late 70s or early 80s.”

I wrote that on the plane home. I was very intrigued by Shadows because it was a late work of Warhol, when everyone thought he was just a washed up celebrity. This was an ambitious project. I walked through it twice. Upon the second time, I was stopped by a young woman, I believe a curator, who wanted to discuss the work. She gave me the information about how the work was show in continuum in a gallery, and that the images were within a rectilinear

Two separated images. See shot.

perimeter, I believe. She saw the work as music, I see it as film. I was so intrigued I went through twice, and I don’t think it was enough, for there are different displays of images repeating in 3s and 4s. The museum had it set up on half a perimeter of its circular gallery, following it was a construction in blue neon (below), which actually colored the images with a blue reflection from a David Flavin blue neon installation, which made the final images near the end take on a different look. I don’t think it was fully intended, but curious by its accidental nature.

Flavin’s bluest of blues actually turned Warhol black into blue.

And to finish off writing about the wonderful Hirshhorn, I will mention the work of Fred Sandbeck and his  Untitled  Sculptural Study 12 part vertical construction. This is one of the most deceptively simple installations I have ever seen. It’s wonderfulness comes from the fact that it is so. I have stood and tried to watch people interact with this illusionist space he has created. Serra comes to mind, in those wonderful whirling corten playgrounds he calls sculptures. Here with simple yarn, barriers are created, to walk and pass through. Endless possibilities result, especially for me to teach students space. I think it is wonderful, I am afraid a lot will deride it.

Whatever I was thinking, it was good to be back in Washington. It was good to think a little different, not just of light and color. And for free.

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