Thursday, June 22, 2017

Three Views Of China's Past Give Life To History
Part II

Jade burial suit with gold thread,  Western Han (206 BCE - 8 CE),
4,248 pieces of jade discs, 1,576 g (about 55.6 ounces) gold thread, 
L. 69 5/16 ins. (176 cm), W. (shoulder) 26 3/4 ins. (68 cm),
excavated from the tomb of the King of Chu at Shizishan, 1994 - 1995
Photo:  Courtesy of China Institute Gallery
On view in the exhibition Dreams of the Kings:  A Jade Suit for Eternity 
Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou,

The exhibit Secrets of the Sea:  A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia at the Asia Society Museum dealt with objects the Chinese made for the living (see ArtWithHillary.blogspot.com May 2017). 

Objects the ancient Chinese made for the dead are displayed in two major exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of ArtAge of Empires: Chinese Art of the Chin & Han Dynasties (221 B.C. - A.D. 220) and the China Institute Gallery, Dreams of the Kings:  A Jade Suit For Eternity, Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou. The Met and the China Institute Gallery looks into a sophisticated civilization of the distant past.    The works on view were buried with the deceased.  The intention was that the pieces would never again see the light of day.

Kneeling Archer, Qin dynasty (221 – 206 B.C.),
earthenware, H. 491⁄16 in. (122 cm),
excavated in 1977, pit no. 2, mausoleum complex of Qin Shihuangdi (d. 210 B.C.), 
Lintong, Shaanxi Province
On view in the exhibition Age of Empires:  Chinese Art of the Chin & Han Dynasties
( 221 B.C. - A.D. 220)


The ancient Chinese believed in a world beyond life.  To ensure that the deceased would have a good afterlife, tombs were equipped with every imaginable object.  These tomb items are called by the Chinese term ming-ch'i, "spirit articles."  Made of a variety of materials including wood, clay, bronze and jade, they  included models of humans, animals, weapons, transportation vehicles, buildings and more.  No other people left such a complete picture of ancient life. Mass production of ming-ch'i became extremely popular during the Han period (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.).  The Book of Han, Han-shu, a history of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.), prescribes the number of ming-ch'i  required for imperial and nobility burials. Regional workshops were set up to provide for the stipulated spirit articles.  The greatest amount and variety of ming-ch'i were made during the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). Tomb pieces became extravagant and a special government office was created to supervise all production.  By this time not only the higher ranking, wealthy class spent widely on burials but also the common people.  Ming-ch'i were discovered in the late nineteenth century. Modern excavations continue to unearth the articles of the spirit in ever increasing numbers.  

The Metropolitan Museum of Art's show explores the era of China's consolation, the Qin (221 - 206 B.C.) and the Han (206 B.C. - 220 A.D.) Dynasties.  A time when the sense of a Chinese identity - one country, one culture - came into being.  The first Qin Emperor, Qin Shihuangdi, unified the country and established the first centralized Chinese government.  Among its many achievement were standardization of currency, weights, measurements and written language.  The Qin supported a large military which is reflected in the over 7,000 life-size clay figures that were buried in the first emperor's tomb.  The practice of burying the emperor with an army began with the Qin and continued with the Han.  

Although missing their vivid colors and flesh tones, the now grayish terracotta colored burial figures continue to amaze with their life-like appearance.  Each face is individualized.  No detail is left out. as exemplified by the exhibit's Kneeling Archer from the Qin's First Emperor's burial grounds.  He was part of a combined unit of kneeling and standing archers.  He is now missing his weapon but was unearthed in a pit containing about 40,000 bronze weapons and arrowheads.  Scholars have suggested the weapons may have belonged to living soldiers.  The Archer's breast and back armor plates protected his torso; shoulder plates safeguarded his shoulders and upper arms; and, a hanging fringe covered his waist and hips.  The plates were tied together with laces and rivets.  The fringe and shoulder plates allowed for movement while the breast and back armor was fixed.  He wore a robe under the armor and his top knot hairstyle was held in place with ribbons.  

Six Niuzhong Bells, Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 9), 1st century B.C.,
parcel-gilt bronze, H. in descending order: 
95⁄8 in. (24.4 cm); 9 in.(23 cm); 81⁄4 in. (21 cm); 77⁄8 in. (20 cm); 
73⁄8 in. (18.6 cm); 61⁄2 in. (16.5 cm), excavated in 2015, 
tomb of the Marquis of Haihun (Liu He, d. 59 B.C.), 
Nanchang, Jiangxi Province
Jiangxi Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Nanchang
Photo: Courtesy Jiangxi Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
On view in the exhibition Age of Empires:  Chinese Art of the Chin & Han Dynasties
( 221 B.C. - A.D. 220)

No part of life went unnoticed by those who equipped tombs.  Luxury goods, entertainers, dancers, musicians and every type of trade was represented.  An elegant set of six Niuzhong bells is a case in point. These are chime, clapper less bells used in rituals since the Zhou period (ca. 1044 - 256 B.C.).  Two distinct tones were produced by striking either the center or side of the bell with a mallet. They would have hung from a decorative stand;  a complete set had 19 bells.  The sound is said to create an atmosphere for humans to interact with their ancestral spirits.  Such a well-crafted, elegant set with delicate designs as this was intended for the aristocracy.  These came from the treasure-filled tomb of the Marquis of Haihun (ca. 92 B.C. - 59 B.C.) excavated in 2015.  The Marquis was Liu He, grandson of the Emperor Wu  (156 B.C. – 87 B.C.).  Liu had been emperor for 27 days (74 B.C.) but was dethroned for inappropriate conduct and lack of morals.  Afterward, he was given the title of marquis and the estate of Haihun, a small kingdom in the Jiangxi Province.   The excavation report on his tomb has not yet been published.*
  

More to come.

*To learn more about the excavation of the Marquis of Haihun's tomb see NewHistorian post October 12, 2016.



Secrets of the Sea:  
A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia
March 7 - June 4, 2017
725 Park Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:
Tuesday - Sunday 11 am - 6 pm
Friday 11 am - 9 pm (September - June)
Closed Mondays and major holidays.


Age of Empires:
Chinese Art of the Chin & Han Dynasties
(221 B.C. - A.D. 220)
April 3 - July 16, 2017
1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:  
Sunday - Thursday 9 am - 5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday 10 am - 9 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, 
January 1, and the first Monday in May.


Dreams of the Kings:  
A Jade Suit For Eternity
Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou
May 25 - November 12, 2017
100 Washington Street, Manhattan
(Temporary entrance: 40 Rector Street)
Gallery Hours:
Monday - Friday: 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Saturday: 11 pm - 5 pm
Closed: Sunday and major holidays















Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Three Views Of China's Past Give Life To History
Part I

Model of a Multistory House, Eastern Han dynasty (A.D. 25–220),
earthenware with pigment, H. 68⅞ in. (175 cm), L. 34¼ in. (87 cm),
excavated in 1988, Jiaozuo, Henan Province
Photo: Courtesy Henan Museum, Zhengzhou
On view in the exhibition Age of Empires:  Chinese Art of the Chin & Han Dynasties, 
( 221 B.C. - A.D. 220)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Lucky New Yorkers and visitors to New York! China's past is currently on view.  Ancient objects fascinate and illuminate new aspects of China's history in three noteworthy exhibitions.  The venues, Asia Society Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and China Institute Gallery, together display over 300 works that include sculpture, ceramics, metalwork, painting, textiles and calligraphy.  Many of the artifacts have never before been shown in the West.


Changsha ewers trapped in a coral concretion on the top of the wreck mound
of the 9th-century vessel off the coast of Belitung Island, Indonesia.
Photography by Michael Flecker
Image provided by Asia Society, New York


Asia Society Museum presents Secrets of the Sea:  A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia.  In 1998, fishermen discovered a ninth-century sailing vessel in shallow waters, off the coast of Belitung Island, Indonesia. The discovery and subsequent excavation changed our understanding of global trade and China during the Tang dynasty (618 - 907).  


Bowl with decorative inscription in cursive script,
China, Hunan Province, Changsha kilns,
Tang dynasty, ca. 825–50,
glazed stoneware with underglaze iron- brown,
H. 2 x W. 6 in. (5.1 x 15.2 cm)
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2005.1.00580
Photography by Asian Civilisations Museum
Courtesy of John Tsantes and Robert Harrell
Image provided by Asia Society, New York


The ship, an Arabian dhow built without nails or pegs, 21 feet wide and 58 feet long,  was returning with cargo from China to the Abbasid Empire, present day Iraq/Iran and a small part of Saudi Arabia. Approximately 60,o00 ceramics were salvaged from the cargo. Originally, there may have been 70,000 pieces on board.  The majority of them were Changsha wares - bowls, jars, large jugs and pitchers. These were everyday, utilitarian items that China produced in quantity for export.  They were  boldly decorated in brown or green glazes. Some 130 to 140  were packed with straw or some other protective material in large storage jars f0r travel.  The ship was filled with these large jars.  

The enormous amount of Changsha ceramics on board attests to China's ninth-century mass production facilities as well as their astuteness in commerce.  Variety in design indicates different hands completed the decorations that were tailored to the Middle Eastern markets.   Such exchange of trade via the sea had been unexpected. This ship, and later vessels recovered, substantiate that the maritime trade routes were well-established and extensive by the ninth century. Global trade did not rely mainly on the silk route - the land route - as previously thought.  In fact, sea trade may have been even more important than the overland way.

Export wares were not the only class of goods on the vessel.  There were also high-end objects.  Some 200 celadon and about 300 white ware ceramics were recovered.  These were particularly valued in China and would have been very impressive for a Middle Easterner to own. 

Dish with floral lozenge decoration China, Henan Province, 
Gongxian kilns, Tang dynasty, ca. 825–50,
glazed stoneware with cobalt-blue pigment over white slip,
Approx. H. 1 1/4 x Diam. 8 in. (4.5 x 22.5 cm)
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2005.1.00473
Photography by Asian Civilisations Museum, Courtesy of John Tsantes and Robert Harrel
Image provided by Asia Society, New York

A surprising find were three blue-and-white dishes.  Blue-and-white wares were formerly thought to have begun production later and truly developed in the fourteenth century, the Yuan dynasty (1271 - 1378). These ninth-century examples shed new light on their evolution.  To date, they are the earliest complete blue-and-white wares known.  They also symbolize global trade at its best.  The blue color was produced by cobalt which is not found in China.  It was imported from the Middle East. The lozenge-shaped motif found on the blue-and-white dishes and other wares is a Middle Eastern design.  Thus, cobalt used for blue is shipped from the Abbasid Empire to China.  China gets it, makes blue-and-white wares and ships it back to the Middle East.  


Four-lobed oval box with deer and lion decoration,
China, Tang dynasty, ca. 825–50, 
Sliver, parcel-gilt, H. 1 x W. 3 1/2 x D. 2 1/2 in. (2.5 x 8.9 x 6.4 cm)
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2005.1.00865 1/2 to 2/2
Photography by Asian Civilisations Museum, Tang Shipwreck Collection
Image provided by Asia Society, New York

Other treasured goods include bronze coins and mirrors as well as objects in silver and gold. The Chinese used chasing and  repoussé metalworking techniques acquired from the Middle East.  Forms, such as the lobed design, were adopted from Middle Eastern sources.   Again and again the show's pieces illustrate the fusion of cultures - motifs and forms transfer and mix.


Long-necked ewer,
China, probably Henan Province Gongxian kilns, Around 830s,
glazed stoneware with copper-green splashes over white slip,
H. 40 1/2 x W. 9 x D. 10 1/4 in. (102 x 23 x 26 cm)
Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2005.1.00900 1/2 to 2/2
Photography by Asian Civilisations Museum, Tang Shipwreck Collection 
Image provided by Asia Society, New York
  
If there is a star of the show, it is the tall long-necked ewer.  It has Middle Eastern lozenge and floral decoration incised on its body and leafy fronds on its neck and pedestal base. In addition, Chinese cloud scroll designs embellish the shoulder section of the vessel's body and top part under the dragon-head stopper. Based on smaller metal prototypes, this ewer probably could not be used because of its slenderness and fragility.   It would serve as a splendid object of art.

Visitors will surely be astounded thinking about the organizational and management abilities of those involved with ninth-century maritime trade.  

Learn more about this discovery by going to the museum. Also, don't miss seeing the lecture by Stephen A. Murphy, curator for Southeast Asia at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, and curator-in-charge for the Tang Shipwreck Gallery at the museum. 

Connecting Empires: Shipwrecks, Ceramics, and Maritime Trade in Ninth-Century Asia, March 7, 2017, Asia Society, New York.  Stephen A. Murphy, curator for Southeast Asia at the Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, and curator-in-charge for the Tang Shipwreck Gallery at the museum. 
Video:  YouTube 
Courtesy of Asia Society, New York


More to come.
  
Secrets of the Sea:  
A Tang Shipwreck and Early Trade in Asia
March 7 - June 4, 2017
725 Park Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:
Tuesday - Sunday 11 am - 6 pm
Friday 11 am - 9 pm (September - June)
Closed Mondays and major holidays.


Age of Empires:
Chinese Art of the Chin & Han Dynasties
(221 B.C. - A.D. 220)
April 3 - July 16, 2017
1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Hours:  
Sunday - Thursday 9 am - 5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday 10 am - 9 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, 
January 1, and the first Monday in May.


Dreams of the Kings:  
A Jade Suit For Eternity
Treasures of the Han Dynasty from Xuzhou
May 25 - November 12, 2017
100 Washington Street, Manhattan
(Temporary entrance: 40 Rector Street)
Gallery Hours:
Monday - Friday: 10 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 10 am - 8 pm
Saturday: 11 pm - 5 pm
Closed: Sunday and major holidays

Sunday, April 30, 2017

It's Been A Long Time Coming:

Making Space For Women Artists


Installation view of Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 15 - August 13, 2017
Photo: Jonathan Muzikar  

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)'s exhibition, Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction is an eye-opener in more ways than one.  The show focuses on work produced by women artists from the mid-1940s through the early 1960s - the end of World War II through the feminist movement.  This is a period when women artists had not received much attention.  

Atsuko Tanaka (Japanese, 1932 – 2005), 
Untitled, 1956, 
watercolor and felt-tip pen on paper, 
42 7/8 x 30 3/8″ (108.9 x 77.2 cm) 
Purchased with funds provided by the Edward John Noble Foundation, 
Frances Keech Fund, and Committee on Drawings Funds, 2010. 
© 2017 Ryoji Ito

Everything on display, about 100 works by more than 50 international artists, is from the MoMA's own collection.  Nearly half of the works have never, yes, never, been on view at the museum.  Many of the artists will be new to visitors.  The pieces, in a variety of mediums, are consistently inventive, thoughtful and engaging. 

The show reflects the MoMA's efforts to increase the representation of women artists.  The museum is not alone in this undertaking but the "Making Space"  show may be the game-changer for any future presentations concerned with art produced in the modern period. Women artists will simply have to be included.  


Lee Bontecou (American, born 1931), Untitled, 1961, 
welded steel, canvas, black fabric, rawhide, copper wire, and soot, 
6′ 8 1/4″ x 7′ 5″ x 34 3/4″ (203.6 x 226 x 88 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Kay Sage Tanguy Fund, 1963. 
© 2017 Lee Bontecou

Interestingly,  many works were acquired in the 1950s and 1960s, shortly after the art was made.  The pieces were subsequently exhibited then placed in storage.  There was a drop off in the museum's collecting art by women until the last 15 years.   


First a look at what is and what has been going on recently in New York's museums with regard to women artists.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened The Met Breuer in March of 2016 with two shows. One was a survey of works by the Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937 - 1990) which was followed by a Diane Arbus (1923 - 1921) exhibit.  Presently, Marasa Merz (1926 - ) and Lygia Pape (1927 - 2004) each have major shows going on there.  


The  career of Agnes Martin (1912 - 2004) was on view at the Guggenheim from late 2016 through January of 2017.   Now, the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize winner Anika Yi (1971 - ) has her multi-part installation filling a gallery on the museum's fifth floor.  


Late last year into January 2017, the Whitney Museum of American Art mounted the long-overdue show of about 50 works by Carmen Herrera (1915 - ).  About the same time, Virginia Overton (1971 - ) reimagined the museum's sculpture garden and Sophia Al-Maria (1983 - ) had her first United States solo exhibition in the museum's first floor public gallery.  Last summer, the performance artist Jill Kroesen (1949 -) had her first show in over thirty years in the Whitney's theatre.  Coming this summer is the first museum solo show in the United States of the multi-media artist Bunny Rogers (1990 - ).  


At the Whitney's Biennial 2017, now taking place, nearly 50% of the selected 63 artists and collectives are women.  This beats the 2014 Biennial which had 32% women artists, a 6% drop from the 2012 exhibition.


The Brooklyn Museum currently has three shows featuring women: Marilyn Minter (1948 - ), Georgia O'Keeffe (1887 0 1986) and an exhibition focusing on black women artists.  Not to be forgotten is the museum's Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  The center's museum space has Judy Chicago (1939 - )'s enormous, iconic The Dinner Party (1974 - 1979).


MoMA PS1 is showing the landscape and still life paintings of Maureen Gallace (1960 - ) in addition to a site-specific installation by Cynthia Marcelle (1974 - ), her first solo exhibition in New York.  Opening in October is the first US retrospective of Carolee Schneemann (1939 - ) and the first solo exhibition in New York of the sculptural tableaux of Cathy Wilkes (1966 - ).  MoMA opens a Louise Lawler show in early May; a Martine Syms installation in late May; a film series by the Japanese filmmaker Naomi Kawase in June; and, a Louise Bourgeois exhibit in September.

The Jewish Museum presents a survey of the work of the painter, designer and poet Florine Stettheimer (1877 - 1944) also in May.  The New York Historical Society has opened a new Center for Women's History. The Historical Society's new Tiffany gallery highlights the women design team involved in the creation and making of Tiffany works


Although much "women's art" has been spotlighted, it is the MoMA's "Making Space" show that makes the most cogent case for the inclusion of women artists in the narrative of modern art, integrating them into permanent museum collections. 



Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984), Gaea, 1966, oil on canvas, 1977,
69″ x 10′ 5 1/2″ (175.3 x 318.8 cm)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Kay Sage Tanguy Fund 1977
© 2017 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), 

The 
MoMA exhibition is divided into five sections: Gestural Abstraction, Geometric Abstraction, Reductive Abstraction, Fiber and Line and Eccentric Abstraction.  The first  part has the most familiar works by female artists.  These were women up against the macho world of Abstract Expressionism.  Lee Krasner (1908 - 1984) is here with her bold gestural strokes - a feminine take on aspects of Willem de Kooning (1904 - 1997) and her husband Jackson Pollack (1912 - 1956).  She shows how the color pink can be powerful and sensual at the same time.  



Installation view of Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 15 - August 13, 2017
© 2017 The Museum of Modern Art
Photo: Jonathan Muzik

Helen Frankenthaler (1928 - 2011)'s Trojan Gates warrants a double take with its central Rorschach  inkblot-like black formation against a background that seems to be ever evolving into something recognizable.  There is Elaine de Kooning (1920 - 1989)'s Bullfight and Joan Mitchell (1925 - 1992)'s Ladybug as well as Grace Hartigan (1922 - 2008)'s Shinnecock Canal.  Colors sing out in this initial gallery. Photographs, by Lotte Jacobi (1896 - 2990), Barbara Morgan (1900 - 1992) and Naomi Savage (1927 - 2005) exhibited alongside paintings show how the reproductive medium can express abstraction.  Dorothy Dehner (1901 - 1994)'s six part bronze Encounter are animated totems - as if Dehner gave life to David Smith (1906 - 1965)'s Forgings. Dehner was the wife of David Smith. They divorced in 1950. Her work gesticulates as if the bronze pieces are abstracted figures in lively interaction. Interestingly, many of the women artists in the first segment of the exhibition were married to men who were artists.  These women are associated with their male companions.  By the last gallery, the question of who the artist was married to or involved with does not come up.  



Installation view of Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 15 - August 13, 2017
© 2017 The Museum of Modern Art
Photo: Jonathan Muzik

Illuminating juxtapositions abound.  In the Geometric Abstraction segment, the painted iron sculpture Eight Squares by Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt) (1912 - 1994), a Venezuelan born in Germany, made up of a series of of eight mesh squares, seems to be in a lively dance.  It enters into conversation with the Czech artist Běla Kolářová (1923 - 2010)'s Five by Four construction made up of twenty metal paper fastener grids against a blue background.  These two works relate to the nearby lattice-like gelatin silver print, Untitled, by Gerturdes Altchul (1904 - 1962), a German born Brazilian.  The Altchul photograph is one of a spectacular suite of abstract prints by the artist arrayed along one wall.  


Reductive Abstraction offers calm and restfulness with its simplified, minimalist surfaces.  It is a gallery for reflection with elegant works among which are the paintings by Agnes Martin (1912 - 2004) and Jo Baer (1929 - ).



Installation view of Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 15 - August 13, 2017
© 2017 The Museum of Modern Art
Photo: Jonathan Muzik

Women after World War II were able to go to universities and art schools with acceptance.  Those pursuing fine arts, however, were typically directed to crafts - weaving, textiles and ceramics.  Design and abstraction were explored.  In one small space, room dividers by Anni Albers (1899 - 1994), ceramic bowls by Gertrud Natzler (1908 - 1971) and Otto Natzler (1908 - 2007) as well as pottery by Lucie Rie (1902 - 1995) and textiles by Vera (Vera Neumann) (1909 - 1993) and Lucien Day (1917 - 2010) attest to these artists' achievements.  Not to be missed is the architect and designer Lina Bo Bardi (1914 - 1992)'s Poltroon Bowl chair.  Designed over six and a half decades ago, this great-looking seat, functional and aesthetically pleasing, can be adjusted to suit the sitter's preference. 



Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930 - 2017), Yellow Abakan, 1967-58, sisal, 
124 x 120 x 60″ (315 x 304.8 x 152.4 cm)
Gift of Mr. Walter Bareiss, Mrs. Watson K. Blair, Mr. Arthur Cohen, Mr. Don Page, and Anonymous Donor, 1974
© 2017 Magdalena Abakanowicz

Magdalena Abakanowicz (1930 - 2017)'s prodigious Yellow Abakan commands attention in the gallery devoted to Fiber and Line. Abakanowicz's hanging inspires awe.  Is it something fearsome or sheltering?  Do its appendages allude to body parts? Is it a reference to hanging carcasses - splayed animals like those seen in Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 - 1669)'s Slaughtered Ox or Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin (1699 - 1799)'s Ray or Chaim Soutine (1894 - 1943)'s Still Life with Stingray?  Abakanowicz's sculptures are always engrossing.  Other artists working with fiber or other mediums traditionally associated with craft are Sheila Hicks (1934 - ) with her hand-spun wool hanging, Mira Schendal (1919 - 1988) with her knotted rice paper sculpture and Lenore Tawney (1907 - 2007) with her linen wall piece.  



Alina Szapocznikow (Polish, 1926 – 1973), Belly-Cushions (Ventre-Coussins), 1968, 
polyurethane, five parts, each part 5 1/8″ to 7″ x 11 7/8″ x 13 1/2″ (13 to18 x 30 x 34 cm)
Promised gift of Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, 2008

The section called Eccentric Abstraction shows works made of substances not normally used in the making of art.  An example is polyurethane, first produced in the 1960s.  It is used by Alina Szapocznikow (1926 - 1973) in her sculpture Belly-Cushions (Ventre-Coussins).  Eva Hesse (1936 - 1970) employs string over papier-mâché, inelastic cord and enamel paint in her sexually suggestive, suspended 1966 Untitled. Lynda Bengalis (1941 - ) uses beeswax coupled with dammer resin as a hardening agent in her 1967 Embryo II.  Lee Bontecou (1931 - ) employs steel, canvas, fabric, rawhide, wire and soot in her menacing 1961 wall sculpture Untitled.  Bontecou did not like to title her works because she wanted viewers to come up with their own associations and not be influenced by her words.  Atsuko Tanaka (1932 - 2005) makes use of a felt-tip pen and watercolor on paper in her 1956 Untitled.  


There is a lot to take in and ponder.  Visitors will want to make more than one visit.  Go and see it.


Making Space:  Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
April 15 - August 13, 2017
11 West 53 Street, New York
Hours:
10:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Open seven days a week.
Open until 8:00 p.m. on Fridays.
(Member Early Hours begin at 9:30 a.m.)