Saturday, July 7, 2007

Best of 2007 so far... and the Denver Art Museum

This is a mid-year progress report... the best of 2007 so far...

Film
1. Once
2. Knocked Up
3. Year of the Dog
4. I Think I Love My Wife
5. Waitress

Music
1. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
2. Elliot Smith - New Moon
3. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
4. Michael Penn - Palms & Runes, Tarot & Tea
5. Once - Motion Picture Soundtrack

Books
1. Henry Rollins - A Dull Roar
2. Chuck D - Lyrics of a Rap Revolutionary

It's Saturday night, it's late... This house is hot, and I've had one too many cocktails. Half of 2007 has passed us by, and it is only two months from the beginning of the NFL regular season (less than six months until Christmas). So far 2007 has been a decent year for films, but I think the best is yet to come.

Musically, many of my favorite artists (Wilco, Pete Yorn, Morrissey) have released interesting if not vital music. But there is a lot I haven't heard (yet).

Rarely do I read a lot of new books due to my backlog of old books. But being the music geek I am, I did manage to read 2007 releases by Henry Rollins and Chuck D. These aren't necessarily the best books of 2007, but their my favorites so far.

The Denver Art Museum... A review
My journey at the art museum began with the collected Japanese Art of John and Kimiko Powers. Upon entering the gallery, the most eye catching piece of art was Andy Warhol's distinctive and colorful portraits of John and Kimiko. Like many of Warhol's paintings, it demands attention, but these two "pop" portraits almost felt out of place once I digested the rest of the collection. This was an impressive collection, but I didn't find any of it particularly daring or precarious. The collection was dominated by ink on paper, ink on color and silk, ink on color and golden leaf, and basically ink on varies materials. Most appealing were the pieces that evoked a mood, often these pieces featured hazy scenery, houses, and people. One example of this was the simple yet elegant Autumn Landscape in the Style of Yosa Buson (Late Edo Period).

Next stop was the Anschutz Gallery. As soon as I entered the gallery I was staggered by the vibrant colors and exquisite mood of the art. Many of these pieces would represent my definition of art; unexplained, radical, disturbing, beautiful, and alluring. As I turned each corner I found a new favorite. Ultimately I settled on Jenny Saville's Hem, a 1999 oil painting on canvas; it struck me as warm, humanistic, familiar, and beautiful in its honesty. Another exciting piece was Love Your Neighbor, an oil and painting on canvas by Marlene Dumas. The Dumas painting displayed an amazing contrast of color, as well as being comforting and engaging. I liked many of the pieces here, and this gallery was by far my favorite.

I concluded my journey at the Dietler Gallery of Western Art. After visiting the Anschutz Gallery, this one felt very subdued and humdrum. Here, I discovered some nice Indian portraits, but being at the Dietler was like eating fast food, after dining at a five star restaurant. The oil paintings in the rustic golden frames seemed amateurish, and the Cowboy and Indian pieces were well done but ultimately seemed antiquated and under whelming. In all honesty, the Anschutz Gallery was a hard act to follow, and perhaps once I know more about this type art (Western Art), I'll have a better appreciation.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Hey, assman.

Believe it or not, I haven't heard the Elliott Smith yet. Guy's getting like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Tupac though, releasing all this posthumous stuff. I'll offer you my top fives here because, hell, even if nobody else cares (and they don't), I know you and Jason do, so here goes:

Film - I haven't seen any

Books - The only one I read that was released this year was Don DeLillo's "Falling Man" and it was decent.

Music
1. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
2. Marnie Stern - In Advance of the Broken Arm
3. The National - Boxer
4. Marissa Nadler - Songs III: Bird on the Water
5. Thurston Moore - Trees Outside the Academy