Monday, August 3, 2015

summer visit to columbia museum of art

The Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC has done a nice job in recent years of bringing in good exhibits of well known artists.  I drag the family there a couple of times a year and one of those visits is usually during the summer when I'm on full time kid-duty.  It's pretty reasonable to take Blue and Violet, financially speaking, and if you take them to Bojangles they'll put up with whatever "educational" or "cultural" event I force them to do.  

The current exhibit is a collection of screenprints by Andy Warhol.  A famous artist, recognizable works and brilliant colors - what's not to like about that?  We've been looking for the right opportunity to go this summer and since we had to drive back through Columbia on our return from St. Augustine, we figured this was it.

Blue and Violet are lucky enough to have seen more Warhol prints in person than most of my college students.  They were familiar with the faces and the colors but they still learned a great deal on this trip.

 That's a photo of Andy back in the day.  

The exhibit was divided up by category.  These prints of Muhammad Ali lined one wall of the sports/athletes gallery.

 This was one of my favorites.  It's a portrait of artist Joseph Beuys, a sculptor and performance artist.  He served in the German Luftwaffe during World War II and was shot down in 1944.  He developed a very interesting story about how he survived and was nursed back to health after the crash which served as a creating myth for his artistic identity.  He was a strange guy, but very interesting.  

In 1965 he performed what he called an "action" called "How To Explain Pictures To A Dead Hare" at a private art gallery in Dusseldorf.  I've always been attracted to the raw honesty communicated in this performance.  And I couldn't help but think of it when I turned and saw the scene below...

 I call this one "How To Explain The Word Transvestite To An Eight Year Old Blue" performed by G in 2015.  This gallery featured printed portraits of transvestites that Warhol used as his subjects.  There was a description on the wall and when Blue asked what the word meant, G stepped up.

 Then Blue walked into the next room and said, "Well you can tell that that one is a man dressed as a woman."  He had mistaken Chairman Mao for a subject from the other room.  This gallery was empty except for the wall of Mao prints.  Obviously the curator wanted you to have the space to focus your attention on the series, but we all couldn't help but feel the emptiness on the other three walls.  Violet took the time to notice the subtle differences in the "scribble scrabble" lines (her words) on each print.

 The Museum did a great job of embracing the younger generation by allowing photos of the exhibit and setting up this "face mash-up" for the kiddos to play around with.  

 And they created a "selfie station" on the cow covered wall and encouraged visitors to upload their selfies to social media with a suggested hashtag.  Smart marketing.

 This was one of the kids' mash-up creations.

 Einstein with my reflection.

 Mick Jagger

 And of course, Marilyn Monroe.

The exhibit did have some spaces where more work could have been hung but it delivered what you expect when you go to a Warhol exhibit.  It even sparked some kid giggles and allowed the kids to interact with the creation of a portrait.  

The museum even gave us the added free bonus of playing in funhouse mirrors as we walked in the front doors.  The mirrors were not intended to be funhouse mirrors but they were sagging and bent which allowed Blue and me to goof around for the camera.

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