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Slugs leave trails, sheep leave droppings, bees make honey, and humans leave two things: art and garbage. Where these meet is called entertainment.

Robyn Hitchcock


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Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Cuadro Escrito

I spent yesterday afternoon at the MoMA with some friends, where I found two exhibitions devoted to word-based art. Both are really engaging and interesting, although by the time I got to the second I was already towards the end of my attention span...

Tangled Alphabets is a show of the calligraphic art of León Ferrari and Mira Schendel. I was particularly taken with Ferrari's work -- Schendel's mostly left me cold, though I could see how it makes sense to exhibit the two together and how Schendel's work sometimes offers a nice counterpoint. I was sorry there was no print available of Ferrari's Cuadro escrito, which seemed like the highlight of the show to me: -- the text is a description of the painting Ferrari would compose "if I knew how to paint, if God in his embarrassment and confusion had accidentally touched me..." There is a catalog of the show, and additionally a bilingual edition of León Ferrari: Obra 1976-2008 -- this latter does not have a whole lot of the calligraphic works but does contain some really interesting texts and paintings.

Downstairs there was an exhibition of printed art and techniques of printing, The Printed Picture -- the primary focus of this was on technology used to render graphic images in printing, but what really caught my eye was a room of typography in different faces and made with different printing technologies.

posted morning of June 13th, 2009: Respond
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Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Saints and Armaments

Another set of paintings by Ferrari that I found very interesting, showed saints -- rendered in a recognizable style that I don't know the name of to search for examples, one that seemed very familiar from religious iconography -- in the foreground with armaments and explosions in the background. Along similar lines to his "Civilisación occidentale y cristiana" (1965), shown here hanging at the Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art.

Now I'm really wanting the catalog of this exhibition! Another piece from it that really captured my imagination was "Unión libre," an image of a nude woman with the opening of André Breton's poem of the same title printed over her body in braille:

Ma femme à la chevelure de feu de bois
Aux pensées d'éclairs de chaleur
A la taille de sablier
Ma femme à la taille de loutre entre les dents du tigre
Ma femme à la bouche de cocarde et de bouquet d'étoiles de
dernière grandeur

posted morning of June 14th, 2009: Respond

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