Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tuscany Journal: Exit Morandi

"Natura Morta," 1954 (photograph by Hallie Cohen)
“Exit Morandi” is the eulogy that the art historian, Roberto Longhi, gave for Georgio Morandi when he died in l964. It’s also the title of the show at the Museo Novecento in Florence. Morandi was a super classicist, famous for what the curators describe as his “still, silent” compositions and the emphasis on “form, color and light.” Paintings of bottles which might make you exclaim “what else is there” are one of the things he’s known for. Many of his paintings include "Natura Morta" in the title and to say that still life was his medium is an understatement. It was his message too. This contravention of the expectation for a certain level of complexity is one of the most transgressive aspects of Morandi’s endeavor. He sticks to his minimalist guns. But there's also an evanescence to the work that almost makes the objects recede from you as you gaze into them. It’s a little like Plato’s “allegory of the cave," in which the world of appearances are just shadows of ideal forms. Here is Morandi himself: “I believe that nothing can be more abstract, more surreal, than what we actually see. We know that all we can see of the objective world, as human beings, never really exists as we see and understand it.”

N.B.: read Francis Levy's short story, "Pet Buddha"in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. 

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