Art in Occluded Light

I’m back in town again after a short trip to San Antonio to do some on-site work for a client. I can always use a few more frequent flyer miles.

Susan and I managed to get to the Dallas Museum of Art this weekend without incident (the last time we tried, my car self-destructed before we could get there). The exhibit we saw was entitled Degas to Picasso, Painters, Sculpters, and The Camera. It was a collection of paintings and sculptures by Degas, Gauguin, Mucha, Rodin, Picasso, and assorted other turn-of-the-century artists along with photographs taken by them or their assistants. The idea was to show how the new technology of photography influenced their work. In some cases the artists took immediate advantage of the technology by, for example, photographing models as studies for paintings. Others collected photographs of ancient artifacts and imitated the style or form in their own art. Oddly a few claimed publicly that photography had no place in art (even more oddly, after their death, large numbers of photographs were found in their studios and it turned out they were using them secretly in much the same way other artists were). In many cases photographs were displayed beside the paintings they had influenced.

Overall it was interesting but less so than some exhibits. And, as usual, the Dallas Museum of Art did a terrible job of lighting the works – in most cases you could only view a piece by standing between the light source and the work, thus casting a shadow on whatever you were trying to look at. If you haven’t seen it yet, you missed your last chance as the exhibit ended on May 7th and Dallas was the last stop in the US.