The Fur Cup

18 September 2008
Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure), 1936

Object (Le Déjeuner en fourrure), 1936

Many of her pieces consisted of everyday objects arranged as such that they allude to female sexuality and feminine exploitation by the opposite sex. Oppenheim’s paintings focused on the same themes. Her originality and audacity established her as a leading figure in the surrealist movement.

Oppenheim’s best known piece is Object (Le Dejeuner en fourrure) (1936). The sculpture consists of a teacup, saucer and spoon that the artist covered with fur from a Chinese gazelle.


The Unexpected Answer

18 September 2008

The entrance int Magritte’s exhibition Magritte and Contemporary Art: The Treachery of Images in LA and the painting The Unexpected Answer (1933)


Walking on clouds

18 September 2008

John Baldessari’s gallery design features Magritte’s Personal Values next to Vija Celmins’s Untitled (Comb), with Jeff Koons’s stainless steel Rabbit in the right foreground.

The museum space was transformed into a surreal experience to show the artwork it contained.
The floor was a carpeted Magritte-esque sky.
The ceiling was covered with images of freeways.
The guards all wore suits and bowlers, like they’ve stepped out of a Magritte painting.
The entrance to the exhibit was a larger-than-life replica of Magritte’s painting The Unexpected Answer.
When visitors entered the exhibit, it was like walking into Magritte’s world.


La grande famille

18 September 2008
La grande famille (1963)

La grande famille (1963)

Magritte enjoys the game of juxtaposing and manipulating motifs.

An image could exercise such powers of seduction that the painter felt compelled to reproduce it many times. Rather than falling into repetitive indifference, he excels in revisiting work in this way.


Chess and Art

17 September 2008
Duchamp playing Chess

Duchamp playing Chess

The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.
(Marcel Duchamp, from Session on the Creative Act, Convention of the American Federation of Arts, Houston, Texas, April 1957.)

A playful man, Duchamp prodded thought about artistic processes and art marketing, not so much with words, but with actions such as dubbing a urinal “art” and naming it Fountain. He produced relatively few artworks as he quickly moved through the avant-garde rhythms of his time.


Magritte’s the man

17 September 2008
The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images) (1928–1929)

The Treachery of Images (La trahison des images) (1929)

Magritte completed The Treachery of Images , the famous ‘pipe’ picture in 1929.

A consummate technician, his work frequently displays a juxtaposition of ordinary objects in an unusual context, giving new meanings to familiar things. The representational use of objects as other than what they seem is typified in this painting, which shows a pipe that looks as though it is a model for a tobacco store advertisement. Magritte painted below the pipe “This is not a pipe” (Ceci n’est pas une pipe), which seems a contradiction, but is actually true: the painting is not a pipe, it is an image of a pipe – a representation of one. Magritte also first uses another technique around this time: that of representing a familiar object and given it a name other than its conventional one. Through this gallery of word-paintings, Magritte plays on the discrepancies, paradox, clarity and obscurity of common sense. The question remains as to whether the words actually represent what we think. As a result, the painting becomes a type of language.

René Magritte described his paintings by saying,
My painting is visible images which conceal nothing; they evoke mystery and, indeed, when one sees one of my pictures, one asks oneself this simple question, “What does that mean?”. It does not mean anything, because mystery means nothing either, it is unknowable.


The Creature

17 September 2008
Dorothea Tanning, Birthday, 1942

Dorothea Tanning, Birthday, 1942

Dorothea Tanning on her 30th birthday painted her self-portrait “Birthday” in 1942.

Her fascination of the endless openings of doors depicts a surrealist’s image of the labyrinth, the ‘rooms’ of the unconscious mind. The winged creature in front of her is a nocturnal animal called a Lemur from Madagascar, usually associated with the spirits of the dead and the night. The theatrical purple jacket and the human-shaped roots skirt express the conflict and contrast of nature and culture.