Recently, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Brentwood hosted three art exhibits with photographs ranging from magic realism and social documentation to luxurious images from fashion photographers. These three exhibits were among the many highlighted in a busy year for the art community. While some art exhibits held in famous museums and lesser-known studios were largely forgettable affairs, art lovers will remember some of them for a long time.
Tree & Serpent: Early Buddhist Art in India
Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the “Tree & Serpent” exhibition showcased early attempts to create a unique form of Buddhist art. The exhibition contained dozens of old and precious loaned art pieces from India.
It took years to create and was a rare show that showcased beauty and gorgeous artworks and induced philosophical states of mind. The gorgeous and breath-taking nature of the art on display led to the museum experiencing an unusual hush, with visitors taken in by what they were seeing.
Although there is no confirmation that the exhibit will be back next year, there is enough demand for it that we cannot rule out this happening.
Van Gogh and the Avant-Garde: The Modern Landscape
There have been hundreds of Van Gogh exhibits over the years due to the artist’s popularity. However, a recent exhibition titled “Van Gogh and the Avant-Garde: The Modern Landscape” held at the Art Institute of Chicago provided a refreshing and unique take on the artist’s work.
This exhibition placed Van Gogh in the context of other painters who were his colleagues before he moved to the South of France from his period and later.
The exhibition showcased numerous paintings created in Asnières, a suburb of Paris, not only by Van Gogh, but also by other post-Impressionist painters such as Georges Seurat, Paul Signac, Émile Bernard, and Charles Angrand. This display changed many people’s perception of how Van Gogh developed his unique style and introduced them to the brilliance of lesser-known painters.
Giuseppe De Nittis: An Italian Impressionist in Paris
Unfortunately, Giuseppe De Nittis died at a young age, but the Italian artist was very famous during his time. However, his legacy was overshadowed by more modern and extravagant artists whose styles captured the imagination of audiences much better. Today, De Nittis is mostly featured in exhibitions of other artists, including his friends.
The Phillips Collection’s exhibition named “An Italian Impressionist in Paris: Giuseppe De Nittis” was meant to change this by showcasing the work of this incredibly sensitive and talented artist. The exhibit exposed the fact that De Nittis could innovate in a world full of impressionist artists and make friendly art with wide appeal.
Although the events of the 19th century, including frequent economic upheaval and political instability, are shown in his work, they are not immediately noticeable. One has to pay close attention to find them. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people who went to this show didn’t go once but several times to take in everything the art had to offer.
The Ruth Asawa Through Line Exhibit
The Ruth Asawa drawings exhibition faced tough competition for attention because other exhibitions were being held at the same time. However, nothing in this small yet magnificent show was intended to force itself upon the audience. Asawa’s drawings are appealing because they require persistent attention and reflection, and those who know her work are drawn in by this.
The exhibition showcased her growth as an artist, from her days at Black Mountain College to her adult years balancing art with family and public service. It also provided an insight into how seamlessly she could move between two- and three-dimensional projects.
But more importantly, it offered viewers a glimpse into her personality, deep love for the world, devotion to her loved ones, and appreciation for the intricate details of nature.
Georgia O’Keeffe: To See Takes Time
Art lovers and enthusiasts have been arguing for years whether Georgia O’Keeffe was better with oil paints or watercolours. The “To See Take Time” art exhibition was meant to settle the matter, with the audience getting a better appreciation of her work after experiencing this magnificent show.
The exhibit, held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York focused on how she used brushed watercolours on paper to create different iterations of the same subjects. Her art achieved its aim by making people look multiple times, compare different pieces, and take it all in.
In many cases, the art caused visitors to look inward and at how they view the world and how different things could be if they did so through new perspectives.
The Culture: Hip-Hop and Contemporary Art in the 21st Century
2023 marked 50 years of hip-hop and the occasion was marked by numerous concerts, performances, and art exhibitions. “The Culture” was one of the most impressive ones as it was able to capture the essence of the music genre and the culture that has developed around it over the past half-century.
The Baltimore Museum of Art collaborated with the Saint Louis Art Museum for this exhibit and was able to balance critique and celebration, forcing many people to think about the connections between hip-hop and art.
Ed Ruscha/Now Then
The Ed Ruscha retrospective held at The Museum of Modern Art was an impressive exhibition of more than 200 pieces of art spanning the artist’s career from the 1950s to the present day.
Ruscha has been known as a great California artist, capturing the state’s unique light, landscapes, and psychology. However, his work goes beyond that because it channels the history of America from its high point to its current state of decline.
While some works may seem larger-than-life in isolation, collectively they create an archive of what the American empire looked like as it began moving towards obsolescence.
Although Ruscha may have repeated himself in some of his art and explored numerous tangents, his work is consistently impressive, showcasing his sophistication and graphic excellence.
The Vermeer exhibition held in Amsterdam featured 28 out of the 37 Vermeer paintings that still exist. The show was highly anticipated and sold out quickly, even with the Rijksmuseum extending its hours. Over four months it was open, and around 650,000 people from more than 100 countries visited the exhibition, making it an international phenomenon.
The Rijksmuseum anticipated the high demand for the exhibition and made a valiant effort to hang the works with ample spacing and in large galleries. The event was called a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and for most people who attended, it probably was.
All the work that was showcased is available online through PDF catalogues that also include descriptions for each piece. Art lovers who cannot view the PDF catalogues on their devices can concert them from PDF to Word using SmallPDF and appreciate every detail they contain. However, the images contained in the catalogues are not as breath-taking as those in the physical exhibit, so lovers of her work should visit one showcasing them whenever it opens up.
While many remain cynical about such popular exhibitions and Johannes Vermeer’s celebrity status as an artist, those who could focus on the works despite the crowds found it to be a revelation. Many noted that details of how he used light, reflections, and shadows cannot be fully appreciated in reproduction.
He created complex worlds of ambiguity and nuance through how he handled these elements in his paintings. His work, which is small compared to similar artists’, should be seen in person to be fully appreciated.
Art exhibits allow people to see art from different artists and periods. The year has seen numerous impressive ones held all over the world, featuring well-known artists, lesser-known ones, and works that most people would not be able to see or experience if they did not attend.