Archive for February, 2015
I saw a thrilling art exhibit last week—but not at a museum. Fathom Events, the producer of the successful MetLive HD series of operas as well as rock concerts and sporting events, has now dipped its toes into the visual arts pool. It plans to screen five museum exhibitions of famous artists, beginning with Matisse, and continuing with Vermeer, Van Gogh, Rembrandt and the Impressionists (Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Renoir). The exhibit of “Henri Matisse: The Cutouts“ had mesmerizing material, strong production values and informative commentary.
The exhibition was filmed at London’s Tate Gallery and is currently at New York’s Museum of Modern Art through February 10. It has drawn very large crowds at both museums. Tate Director, Nicholas Serota, led the tour. The 90-minute presentation featured not only the supremely lush cutouts but backstage views of the hanging before the official opening. And, best of all, no teeming crowds blocking your up-close view of these marvelous creations. Fathom’s Kymberli Frueh-Owens put the series’ appeal very well, “Art lovers will get to experience some of the very best works ever created, with access and intimacy that is simply not available at blockbuster exhibitions.”
What is more remarkable about the cutouts (known as gouaches decoupes) is that Matisse made these works during the last 14 years of his life, while suffering from cancer and confined to bed and a wheelchair. The cutouts, using only scissors and paper, are among the most admired and influential works of his entire career. You can sense the artist’s freedom and mastery of color and form in studying these creations. Among my favorites were The Snail, Blue Nude, La Gerbe, The Parakeet and the Mermaid and Large Decoration with Masks.
Matisse has always been one of my favorite artists and, for me, the best among 20th Century innovators. My first introduction to the Cutouts was at an exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum in the late 1970s. Subsequently, I’ve seen them again at Washington’s National Gallery of Art and at MoMA. I had the great pleasure to view his design, as well as worshiping at, the stunning Matisse Chapel in Vence, France in 2011 and again last year.
If you want to enhance your art appreciation about some of history’s greatest artists (plus save the airline fares to see these exhibits in person), here’s a great way to catch the remaining exhibitions in the series at a theater in your community. The next shows in the series will feature Rembrandt on February 24, 2015, Van Gogh on April 14, Vermeer on June 23 and the Impressionists on July 14. For ticket information and a list of theaters showing the series, go to www.FathomEvents.com. (Click on List Events)