Saturday, September 19, 2015

Louisiana. Louisiana. They're Tryin' To Wash Us Away

Modern art. It's all about The Me
Today is the day for an out of town adventure.  But which direction?  West?  To Roskilde, with its one-of-kind (except for the one other one in Oslo, Norway) Viking Boat Museum?  Or to the village of Humlebæk, to Denmark's world famous modern art museum, the Louisiana.

Everybody I ask for an opinion speaks with one voice:  Louisiana.  Louisiana.  They're tryin' to wash us away.

So it looks like it will six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline!

Humlebæk train station
Sorry for being deliberately obscure by repeatedly referencing Randy Newman's awesome "Louisiana 1927," far and away his best song not "Short People" or "I Love L.A."  At the Copenhagen Central Station, you can buy a combined round-trip train ticket / museum admission (at the Lost & Found, weirdly enough).  You can't do that with a Viking Boat Museum.  So off to the Pelican State I head.

At the Louisiana border
Let's get the main question everyone wants answered out of the way first.  No.  I don't know why a modern art museum in rural Denmark is called the "Louisiana."  And I didn't learn the answer on this expedition.

Still outside
Did I say this was a "modern" art museum?  I'd call it more of an "ultra-modern" art museum.  Lots of pointless weirdness masquerading as art.  There is no celebration of beauty.  The skill and talent of the artist is not confined by outdated concepts of "skill" or "talent."  It's all about successfully marketing oneself as transgressive and not confined to thousands of years of art history.  My scene!

So why visit?  Three reasons.  It has a beautiful physical location alongside the Øresund, the narrow sound that connects the Baltic and North Seas.

Closer view of the Øresund
Looking out at the Øresund
Second, despite my cynicism about ultra modern art, there are some interesting pieces.  Such as these Max Ernst sculptures.

A couple of Max Ernst statues
Third, and finally, it is wonderful fun watching the people try to impose "sense" on the works they're viewing.  Let us mosey through the collection.

They had a few obscure Warhols.

They also had this black-on-black painting.  I swear I saw this very work at the Corcoran in D.C. in the 1980s.  If you stare at it long enough, a black cross emerges from the canvas.  I had to have seen it before.  How many all-black paintings of crosses can there be out there?  Well, and still have this be transgressive?

They had etchings from the artist Freud.  No.  Not Sigmund.  Lucian.  A grandchild.

His people etchings are grotesque, ugly and bordering on hideous.  On the other hand, his etchings of his dog Pluto are beautiful, evocative and lovingly done.  What they're doing in an ultra-modern art museum I haven't a clue.

And they had some interesting pre-Columbian statuary that was just like what I saw in the museums of Bogotá and Cartagena.

But as I said, I decided it was more interesting to look at the people looking at the art.

Like the Picassos.

And definitely like the Pollocks.

Ask me someday what I think of Jackson Pollock.  You will gallons of Nature's Miracle to clean up the filth I will spew.  Although, getting back to Picasso, I do subscribe to the theory that art died the day Picasso discovered the cube,

As the art got more "ultra modern," the more fun the people watching became.

The collection rotates very frequently.  So what I'm making light of today will be gone tomorrow and replaced by something even more transgressive.

It's going to get weirder as we get deeper into the art of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama.  Her target audience is people who believe the art of Yoko Ono is too "Thomas Kinkade" for their tastes.

This one is called "Working on the Sea of Death."  Of course it is.

This section left me feeling like I just walked onto the set of "Laugh-In".

I half expected Jo Anne Worley to pop out of one of the balls screaming,

Or perhaps Judy Carne saying "sock it to me."  Is that too much to ask?

It was all so transgressively beautiful when I finally beheld the ultimate objet d'art in all of Louisiana,


I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille.

Looking more bored than a Warhol model at a Factory party, I am.

One more me of me, this time in a room that was more Dr. Seuss than Rowan and Martin.

So did I like any of the art at the Louisiana?  Yes.  They had Arp.

I have an art poster of an Jean Arp exhibit in D.C. from the mid 1980s.  I liked the above.

But that one was a little too turd-like for my tastes.  I liked this guy, whoever he was.

And as I said the grounds were awesome.

I did not go down the slide.  I'm not that whimsical.

So what was my favorite piece?

Joan Miró.  Personnage.  Seriously.  Surrounded by all this other ultra-modernist stuff, I can appreciate the talent, creativity and craftmanship in Miró.  That cinches it,  I am absolutely definitely going to the Joan Miró museum in Barcelona when I go there next week.

Second favorite?

This guy (or gal) guarding the exit.

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