Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Norfolk: Part IV...The Chrysler Museum

It's a good thing that my parents know where I got my love of museums, especially art museums. I got it from them.....and now I sort of "torture" them by spending so much time in them while on vacation. Of course, I don't actually think of it as a "vacation". Visiting an art museum is a quest for inspiration, an intellectual pursuit of the creative spirit, a challenge to my concepts of beauty, and the best way to spend a day! (All images in this post can be enlarged! Just click on the picture!)

Norfolk is the home of the Chrysler Museum of Art. One knows the artwork is going to be GREAT from the outside. Above is Mom and Dad posing in front of Anna Hyatt Huntington's The Torch Bearers, 1957.

The place is enormous. The collections are vast. The special exhibit, Women of the Chrysler: A 400 Year Celebration of the Arts, was particularly wonderful. I loved everything about Susan Taylor Glasgow's Good Housekeeping Toaster, 2005. It's a mixed media and glass.

The statement on the sign is FABULOUS. (Click on image to enlarge and enjoy! I relate on SO MANY levels....and I type too!) Of course, I am also taken with the notion of stitching glass! Great piece!

I also liked the room sized installation called The Women Series, 1992-99, by Gwen Akin and Allan Ludwig. These 200+ silver gelatin enlargements of both known and anonymous women are intentionally hung at random. The group is engaging....because of the many decades, the physical appearances, the quest for "stars", and the ages of all these ladies. The diversity in the portraits is marvelous, especially when presented in a uniform way. It really showcases the multifaceted definition of "woman".

Above and below: Vik Muniz's Orestes Pursued by the Furies (Pictures of Junk)

In another area of the museum I was blown away by Vik Muniz's Orestes Pursued by the Furies (Pictures of Junk) after Bouguereau's oil painting (below) that hung just across the wide hallway from it.

I studied Muniz' work very, very closely and still couldn't figure out all the "junk" and the skills involved in creating this gigantic picture. It was fascinating. The sign said that the artist used a space the size of a basketball court. He directed art students with a laser pointer to position the "junk" in various locations. It took over a month to replicate the artwork before photographing it.

In another place was a Grand Harmonicum.....a very strange musical instrument that is played by rubbing the edge of a glass for its tonal effect. Mozart even wrote music for it (which I assume is now played by some sort of other instrument). There was one in the Moses Myers historic home too. Odd. I can just imagine how obnoxious it would be to listen to one practicing the same piece over and over again....but the cabinet sure was nice!

(Above and below: Tiffany Lava Glass, circa 1895.)

We had lunch in museum's excellent cafe before heading into the "glass" area. It was an overwhelming collection. The Tiffany stained glass and lamps were TO DIE FOR! There are rooms of excellent art glass and modern works by big name masters. To me, however, I was totally surprised by "lava glass". The photos immediately above and below are by Tiffany and most date to the late 19th century to the 1920s. The asymmetrical designs, the intentionally "crude" shapes, the brilliant gilding, and the age just mystified me. Most look utterly something I'd expect to have been created within the last decade or so....not over one hundred years ago!

I was also found these petite bead covered glasses very unusual.

I have no idea what these were used for, who made them, or how the netting was attached to the glass because there didn't seem to be a seam....but they were quite beautiful, very precise beadwork!

And finally, I love these glass and fiber cinerary urns by William Morris. The statement also touched my enlarge that photo to read!

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