Brice Marden at the MoMA
It was almost like love at first sight, Brice Marden and me: a tiny image of one of his looping paintings in some "Fall Preview: Arts" article this year was all it took to know that we would click. Finally, I made it to his magnificent show at the MoMA a couple of Saturdays ago—our first date, if you will—and the afternoon surpassed even my inflated expectations.
I thought it was beautiful: the compositions, the energy, the emotion, the colors, the light.
I loved his monochromatic works, these large, sensual pools of incredible, rich colors. Sometimes a color stands alone, and staring at these I almost felt like I could fall right in, if only I could concentrate hard enough. Other times Marden places two or three colors side by side, creating what amounts to the biggest, most delicious Pantone chips ever on display. Often he leaves the bottom inch or so of these canvases unfinished, allowing drips and wayward brush strokes to remain as they fall, cleverly grounding the awesome, luminous paintings with a human touch.
There are plenty of his signature squiggly works here, too, spectacular creations so filled with movement and life and after-images that your eye can't stand still, and so patterns and shapes and figures continuously emerge and disappear in your peripheral vision. These are extremely active pieces of art. And the colors! One was so sunny and bright it was fairly pulsating, as if the boundaries of the canvas couldn't quite contain the energy within. All are exquisite in their palette, and remarkably emotionally evocative. And the two works which I believe were created especially for the show—six panel versions of something called "The Propitious Garden of Plane Image"—are like some super creative, supremely tasteful ROYGBIV studies.
The paintings are on the MoMA's sixth floor, and there are also Marden drawings on the third floor, which are definitely worth seeing, especially the "Muses Drawing" series, quietly brilliant loopings of blacks, whites and grays. Both exhibits will up through January 15.