Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary

Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 at the MOMA is wonderful experience. Of course many of Magritte's paintings are overly-familiar icons, but this show includes so many works I had never seen before that I felt I got a fresher, more in-depth work of this artist whose images I have always loved.

Most of his paintings feature the recurring motifs he is famous for: clouds, facelessness, eyes, windows, mirrors, and weird grey, wobbly, metallic shapes I can't describe. Many of the paintings were browner, darker, and muddier than I expected. I was also surprised by some bloody images: the woman eating the bleeding bird and one painting of about four bleeding birds.

Some of the most dramatic and appealing paintings were the sheeted heads embracing in "The Lovers", the startling ripped faces in "The Secret Double", the sequence of paintings of parts of a nude woman ("The Eternally Obvious"), "Love Disarmed" depicting a pair of women's shoes with brow hair spilling out of it, in front of a mirror, and the creepy and disturbing "The Red Model" -- a pair of feet/boots against a wooden wall.

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