Gallery Visit Notes: Tate Liverpool

May 25, 2008

DLA Piper Series – The Twentieth Century: How it looked and how it felt (a retrospective of figurative and abstract art over the twentieth century)

Duncan Grant, Bathing (1911, oil on canvas) – use of male nudes echoes classical theme in architecture, but they are more streamlined and modern, a new take on the form

Edgar Degas, Woman In A Tub (1883, pastel on paper) – candid moment in time rather than depiction of female nude as idealised goddess – was sometimes criticised as being voyeuristic

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Bathers at Mortizberg (1909/26, oil on canvas) – vibrant, relaxed. Re-evaluation of ‘primitive sources’, themes of sexual liberation and a return to the natural

Paul Cézanne, The Large Bathers (1923, lithograph on paper) – harmony between figure and nature

Paule Vézeley, The Bathers (1923, relief print on paper) – influenced by Matisse and Modigliani. Free flowing forms and linear rhythms

OMG, Pablo Picasso, Weeping Woman! (1937, oil on canvas). Shared pain of artist and model post-Guernica and their turbulent relationship – Dora Maar dark and emotional.

Alberto Giacometti, Seated Man (1949, oil on canvas). My teacher at GCSE raved about Giacometti and seeing this picture brought it all back. Tense, shifting, overworked. Isolation of the individual.

Francis Bacon, Reclining WOman (1961, oil on canvas) – actually a man, genitals thinly painted over to disguise (possible attempt to disguise the homoeroticism of the painting at a time when male homosexuality was still illegal). Highly distorted, with vivid flesh tones – physicality of the body

John Latham – Man Caught Up With A Yellow Object (1954, oil on board). Vague and obscured human form echoing anxieties of the 1950s, however Latham sees yellow object as a symbol of englightenment

Jean Bubuffet -le Spinning Round (1961, oil on canvas) – attempt to emulate simple yet frenetic style of art brut. Excitement of returning to Paris after years in the countryside, teeming humanity

Andy Warhol!

Electric Chair print series (1971 screenprints on paper) – notion of mortality, but the chairs are empty so it’s less direct. Vibrant colours as contrast to dark subject matter
Marilyn Diptych – produced not long after her death, using a publicity still to project an aura of the idolised. Fading prints symbol for decay and death
Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (1985, screenprint on paper) – added lined onto photograph portrait that suggest makeup of a Hollywood star; associating portrait with the celebrity culture of the 1980s

Bruce Nauman, a – e (1970, screenprint on paper) – photographs manipulating the body – body as object and tool. You cannot see his eyes, leaving the images somewhat anonymous, and deliberately non-autobiographical

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #97, #98, #99, #100 (1982, photographs) – posing as a nude centrefold covering up after the photoshoot. Confrontational gaze – exploitation, not glamour

Sarah Morris, Rio (With Palms) [Las Vegas] – referring back to Mondrian but with the bright garish colours of Las Vegas – reabsorbing the avant garde back into popular culture?

International Klein Blue is a very nice blue. Just sayin’.

Kenneth Martin, Seventeen Lines (1959-63, oil on hardboard) – different colours assigned different characteristics in the painting, with blue and yellow pushing in opposite directions and green and black more static

Peter Sedgley, Yellow Attentuation (1965, acrylic on board) – the combination of colours used confuses the eye and makes the surface shimmer, seem unstable

Damien Hirst, Ever Present Spiritual Guidance – uses dead butterflies’ wings in collage, creating something beautiful yet vaguely unsettling


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