Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Rome Journal: Time Is Out of Joint

Canova and Penone    FLevy

Lautreamont famously defined beauty as "the chance encounter of an umbrella and sewing machine on an operating table." "Time Is Out of Joint" is the current exhibit at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea. The exhibit is made up of items from the museum's permanent collection which the curators characterize as “plastic temporality that behaves like a Higgs Boson." Juxtaposition is the method but surrealism is too narrow a way to describe the organizing principle which at its best acts to expand rather than nail any obvious polarities (the meaning of the title quote from Hamlet is discountenanced by an observation from Derrida almost as soon as it's introduced). Coubet's "La Vague" lies across the entranceway from  Morandi's "Le bagnanti." However, one of the more majestic plays is between Antonio Canovas’s "Ercole e Lica" an imposing 18th century work and Guiseppe Penone's "Spoglia d’ore Su spine d’acacia." What's the possible connection between a neoclassical sculpture and a painting made from the thorns of an Acacia tree? On the surface not all that much--though that may be the point. The show starts by defying chronology and ends by pressing its own quantum theory of art history. The conceptual artist John Baldessari teaching a plant the alphabet by repeating “N” ad nauseam is matchless. Guilio Aristide Sartorio's  “Diana di Eleso a gil schiave" (1899) is sui generis, tilting it hat to the Pre-Rapaelites while anticipating surrealism in an academic style reminiscent of Gerome.

read "Rome Journal: Theory of Value" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and watch the trailer for Erotomania

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