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 Vasily Kandinsky: My Favorite Synesthete

Vasily Kandinsky. "The Seasons" Panels No. 1-4. 1914. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Vasily Kandinsky. “The Seasons” Panels No. 1-4. 1914. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Vasily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was a Russian-born painter known for his use of vibrant color and abstract techniques.  In general, abstract art has never really spoken me, that is until I first saw Kandinsky years ago at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg.  His colors seemed to dance across the canvas in weird and wonderful ways that were at once sensual and chaotic.  In that moment, I got it, or rather, I got something.  Stripped of any recognizable form, all that’s left is how the work makes you feel…significant considering that Kandinsky probably had synesthesia.

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The Beauty of Nureyev at the de Young Museum

Rudolf Nureyev rehearses for "Marguerite and Armand" at Covent Garden in Britain in 1963. Photo: Michael Peto, The University Of Dundee The Pet / SF

Rudolf Nureyev rehearses for “Marguerite and Armand” at Covent Garden in Britain in 1963. Photo: Michael Peto, The University Of Dundee The Pet / SF

When I was a kid growing up in the 70s, there were few things more magical than when my parents woke me up late at night for something they didn’t want me to miss: a lunar eclipse, a fire truck screaming down the street, or Rudolf Nureyev dancing on PBS.  Through the gauzy veil of memory, I can still picture this man leaping impossibly high and landing with such elegance and joy that I could hardly get back to sleep.  And so it is fitting that I recently accompanied my parents to the de Young Museum exhibit, Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance, in San Francisco.

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Impossible Conversations, Undeniable Influence: Schiaparelli & Prada at the MET

Exhibition catalogue, 2012, Metropolitan Museum of Art

I recently attended the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition, Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations, a beautiful collection that examines the work and influences of two iconic designers.  “Invincible female self-possession is a central theme of the joint retrospective,” so of course, I loved it.   Read More

Diego Rivera Murals at MoMA

Diego Rivera. Agrarian Leader Zapata. 1931. The Museum of Modern Art. Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Fund, New York City

This weekend I finally went to the Museum of Modern Art to check out the murals of Diego Rivera.

The exhibition includes “portable murals” that Rivera painted in 1931 for his first show at MoMA, early drawings that mark the evolution of these works, as well as the large scale sketches that guided his transfer of the images to the frescos.  Inspired by his experience in New York City, Rivera went on to paint three more portable murals highlighting the city’s economic disparity during the Great Depression (see his mural Frozen Assets below). Read More