This is the last weekend for the exhibition of drawings from the collection of Jean Bonna at the Metropolitan Museum, and I finally got around to it last night. It is, as Carmen Bambach said in her curatorial talk, a pretty show with pretty pictures– not in itself a bad thing; but there’s no particular idea in it. In the first room, mostly Italian drawings, the standout for me was still the Hans Hoffman wild-boar piglet, the gasp-inducer from Carmen’s slideshow.
I reflected and smiled at a little demonstration of how we see through our own microscopes, as a couple, evidently devoted to yoga, commented on how the angel in a little Italian drawing touched “the heart chakra.” “Oh, and so does Saint Paul, very interesting!” responded her companion, looking at a neighboring image. They loved the piglet as much as I do.
In the second room, mostly seventeenth- and eighteenth-century French, my favorite was a little trois-crayons triple view of a young woman by Watteau. The third room is 19C drawings, mostly French, again, but there’s a slicing little double-sided Goya I liked, along with a Manet pastel portrait of a woman friend in her invalid’s bed and a minimal Delacroix sketch of a North African scene that holds Matisse’s striped exotic figures (which can be seen just a couple of corridors away) in embryo.
I got a quick look at Roxy Paine’s installation on the roof, Maelstrom, which opens next week. It’s spectacular. (Roxy is a man? Ken Johnson says so.) It fills and responds to its place better than any roof show I’ve seen, it’s gorgeous and threatening, and it calls into question the whole commercial drinks-on-the-roof enterprise by leaving almost no space unfilled. From the insider’s position I have to regret it, but from the art-lover’s I equally have to applaud.
Oh, and today’s Artwork of the Day is one from the Watson Library collection: George French Angas’ 1847 The New Zealanders, showing decorated stilt-houses for food storage.