Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Carrer Blasco de Garay, Poble Sec

15 November, walking up C. de Blasco de Garay on the way to Fundació Joan Miró to see the exhibition American Modern (1 Nov 2008 - 25 Jan 2009, works from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington). There was a section on photography, which, aside from documentary interest, contained many that drew attention formally. Walker Evans (Roadside Gas Sign 1929 and Farm Interior, New York State 1931), Ralph Steiner (Untitled, 1924 [Vanderbilt Garage] and Untitled (Talking picture) 1929), Berenice Abbott (Poultry Shop, East 7th St, NY, 1935 and Construction, Old and New from Washington Street, NY, 1936), André Kertész (Now the U.N. Plaza 1938 with its sculptural forms, lines, shadows and planes, the echoes and repetitions of New York. Fire Escape 1949, and the well known New York. Washington Square 1954 alongside its negative tonally, a night-time shot of a pale tree illuminated by streetlights against a background of lighted rectangles of apartment windows -- this latter is not reproduced as an image in the listing of works but is (I think) New York. Washington Square 1958), and Roy DeCarava (Windows over a garden, 1978).
At the end of the exhibition on a wall to the side was the large ilfochrome by Vik Muniz, Alfred Stieglitz (from the series Pictures of Ink), 2000, with its magnified view of globules of ink composing themselves on the macroscale into the Stieglitz self-portrait of 1907, the perception of which is modified by the unnerving instability of the liquid seen on the microscale. After pausing to follow awhile the every-varying course of Alexander Calder's Mercury Fountain* I proceeded to get lost in the permanent Miró collection.

* In 1937, Spain’s Republican government invited both Miró and Calder to create new works for the Spanish Pavilion at the World Fair in Paris. Mercury Fountain was made as a memorial for the siege of Almadén, and donated to the Joan Miró Foundation by Calder.

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