Cartier-Bresson, Marina Abramovic, and Red

May 14, 2010

After meetings up at Columbia (I’m officially enrolled to be a dual degree masters candidate!) my mom and I saw some extraordinary art.  We began with the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit at MoMA.  Scott and I had just seen a show of his at SESC in Sao Paulo, but it was much smaller.  This was a fully blown out MoMA show, where his photographs filled room after hall.  As always, they were gorgeous.  I haven’t studied much photography, but I did take one class in college on the History of Photography.  For one assignment, we had to choose a photographer and emulate his style.  Naively–stupidly really, it was an ignorant move–I chose Cartier-Bresson.  Needless to say, I failed miserably at even coming close to his composition.  After walking through one of his shows with Scott, who’s studied photography extensively (notice his beautiful pictures in the In Pictures section of this blog), I feel a little more qualified to say that what Cartier-Bresson could capture, the way he makes your eye move around the picture, the whimsy and the freeze of magical, fleeting moments, is just extraordinary.

From there we went to the Marina Abramovic exhibit across the hall.  I had read a lot about her work before yesterday, and was intrigued to see what it was all about.  It had been written up a few times in the New York Times (here’s another article from the times and another from the Guardian, and from The Daily Beast) and I feel all of these people can be more articulately critical than I can be here. It was wild to walk through, though. I sort of like the idea of testing one’s own physical limits.  The nakedness was interesting, as was the idea that this woman, and these performers (were they actors? other artists? just people trained to do this job?) got to such a zen place where they could block out everything around them.  I think Marina Abramovic must be something of a meditation master to sit on that chair for so many hundreds of hours.

From there we went to go see Red, the Alfred Molina play now on Broadway about Mark Rothko.  It was a beautiful play, with an excellent script (I’d love to get a copy of it to read it), acted flawlessly.  It was serious about art, but funny and poignant (can you think of two blander words to describe a play? Sorry. I’ll try to think of something more descriptive.)  It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a play, and I’m so glad to have seen this one.

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