Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Juxtapositions at the Legion of Honor

This weekend’s museum visit was out to the Legion of Honor.  We were there as the doors opened with timed tickets to catch the last weekend of Monet: The Early Years.  Greeted by a mob of people — we immediately bypassed the first room where everyone were plugged into their audio tours and were able to enjoy the show.  Knowing Monet’s work, it was fascinating to see how he got there.  Many of his early works had these clear pockets of impressionism within the paintings – particularly the harbor scenes.  As my friend commented, for Monet, water was the gateway drug.  I tend to avoid these hyped-up crowded shows, but I was glad we persevered – this was one the best curated, big shows at the Legion in long time.

Then it was time to take in the Urs Fischer installations.  It is a challenge to drop contemporary works of art into traditional galleries filled with older European art.  That the content and style of the Fischer’s works are often disturbing and challenging in themselves, adds another layer of complexity for curators.   In some cases, Fischer’s pieces work well as temporary installations.  They are well placed and make visitors take in the museum’s galleries in a new way.  The reactions of the public (or lack there of) enhance the exhibit.  I took some snapshots of some of the more successfully installed pieces.  Unfortunately, the installation, in its entirety gives the impression that everything sticking around Fischer’s studio was shipped out to California with the instructions to find a place for it.  And with many of the pieces, the reaction could be, “What is that doing here?”  The show will be there until July 2.  It is always a pleasure to visit the Legion, but prepare yourself to be delighted and at times perplexed by Fischer’s installation.

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