Thursday, April 16, 2015

Monk With A Camera

Nicky in Central Park
I had the great pleasure to see the magnificent movie, "Monk With A Camera".  Seeing Nicolas Vreeland's spiritual journey was inspiring in this intimate and honest documentary.

Nicky with the Dalai Lama
Nicholas Vreeland walked away from a worldly life of privilege to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Grandson of legendary Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, and trained by Irving Penn to become a photographer, Nicholas' life changed drastically upon meeting a Tibetan master, one of the teachers of the Dalai Lama. Soon thereafter, he gave up his glamorous life to live in a monastery in India, where he studied Buddhism for fourteen years. In an ironic twist of fate, Nicholas went back to photography to help his fellow monks rebuild their monastery. Recently, the Dalai Lama appointed Nicholas as Abbot of the monastery, making him the first Westerner in Tibetan Buddhist history, to attain such a highly regarded position.

You can watch the film on line. Click to download the film.  

Nicholas Vreeland

Nicky Vreeland's photos can be viewed. Please click to see portfolio.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Louise Bourgeois: Suspension

Louise Bourgeois LEGS 2001
76 x 34 x 22 1/2 inches
193 x 86.4 x 57.2 centimeters

I am most interested in mature artists making great works throughout their careers and especially in their later years.  Often artist’s work can be considered better as they evolve.

The recent show Louise Bourgeois: Suspension at Cheim & Read (October 30, 2014 - January 10, 2015) is a fine example of greatness in later years. Many of the art works found in this show were created when Bourgeois was 91 years young.

The sculptures in this magnificent exhibition all hang from the ceiling. Along with a group of drawings from the 1940s, in which pendulous forms are delineated in black ink, the selection of works traces the theme of suspension throughout Bourgeois’s long career. Spanning more than forty-five years – from the organic Lair forms of the early 1960s and the Janus series of 1968, to the cloth figures of the 1990s, the hanging heads of the 2000s, and the torqued spirals of shining aluminum made in the last years of Bourgeois’s life – they demonstrate the myriad ways in which she approached material, form, and scale.

Most interesting is her explanation and approach to the works. For Bourgeois, the sculptures’ suspension is an expression of the psyche; as she stated: “Horizontality is a desire to give up, to sleep. Verticality is an attempt to escape. Hanging and floating are states of ambivalence.”  In psychology, ambivalence refers to conflicting but coexisting feelings for the same person, place, or event.

I found the hanging pieces and the installation very playful and humorous in spite of the artist’s serious references. The technical execution of each sculpture is absolutely beautiful.  

It was truly a wonderful moment with a great artist, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010).