Matisse, Picasso & Beauty Reigns at the McNay

Steven, Mom and I headed to the McNay last night to see the special exhibition 'Matisse and Picasso, A Friendly Rivalry', closing August 10th.  CPS Energy was sponsoring the night, so admission was free!  Matisse's Jazz series from 1947 was displayed against the back wall, and I was surprised to see the cover art from my art appreciation book was one of the pochoir prints!  I wish the show was up through September so I could send my students to see it.  The show featured mostly paintings, linocuts, lithographs of the two artists, curated from the museum's extensive collection.   Our previous visit to the McNay was for Robert Indiana's show.  One of his iconic Love pieces now sits in the sculpture garden.  In the basement of the museum is another special collection of Paul Strand's photogravures, accompanied by a video documenting the process.

In the foyer is the large installation 'Burst' by artist Paul Villinski.  The birds are made of vinyl records from the artist's own collection.  He has been making these sculptures for a few years, first created with records he salvaged from the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans after Hurrican Katrina. 

The special exhibition room contains the large contemporary show 'Beauty Reigns: A Baroque Sensibility in Recent Painting.'  It will be on display through August 17th.  The rooms are filled with the art of thirteen painters whose enormous canvases are covered in complex patterns and saturated colors.  Pictured above is the work of Rex Ray.  The repetition & intense palette grabbed my attention; the hard edges  contrast nicely against the flat backgrounds, reminding me of vintage Christmas ornaments.  These paintings by the German born artist (now based in San Francisco) are collages overlaid with acrylic.  A large sculpture (left) by Susan Chrysler White titled Medusa looks like feathers from far away.  Upon closer inspection, it is acrylic paint on plexiglass.

My favorite part of the show was the room containing Paul Henry Ramirez's work.  The walls are painted bubblegum pink, peach & matte black with his paintings hung unconventionally at varying heights.  I liked that the paintings interacted with the space & the walls became a part o the art.  The installation of his work was incredibly thoughtful, interesting and definitely contemporary.


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