Picasso: The Classical Period and Al Taylor Wire Instruments 1989-1990
Picasso: The Classical Period, at
C & M Arts
45 E 78th Street between Madison and Park Avenues,
New York NY 10021
through December 5, 2003
Al Taylor: Wire Instruments, 1989-90
42 East 76th Street New York NY 10021-2711
Tel 212 517 9892 Fax 212 517 9894
November 13 to December 20, 2003
The classical world is continually being addressed anew in art and literature. Recently, in Anne Carson’s new translation of Sappho’s verse “If Not, Winter” Carson combines the verbal and visual by utilizing the whiteness of the page, magnifying the absence surrounding Sappho’s work. The poems, extant as scraps of text, appear on the page as bare fragments, surrounded by blankness. This is how this ancient world appears to us, in bleached, isolated shards that seem to hold traces of an ideal world of beauty and wisdom that we somehow hope can inform the present.
C&M Arts has assembled examples of Picasso’s work which addresses this world of long ago, realized after a sojourn in Rome and Pompeii. Here on display are some of his most serene works. Baigneuse a la Serviette de Bain, for example, depicts a standing female nude; her waving hair and towel picking up a wind as she walks away from the sea. The entire image, assembled with delicate flutters of gray brushstrokes, seems to float on the large sheet of handmade paper. There are also a number of Greek and Roman sculptures borrowed from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, complementing Picasso’s paintings and drawings of classical heads, drapery and bodies rendered to express a sculptural solidity.
A few streets away at Lawrence Markey gallery is an exhibition of sculpture and drawings by the late Al Taylor, his “Wire Instruments” as he called them, also seem to address the classical age. Here we are dealing with works that are quite literally lyrical; they resemble partially abstracted lyres that the ancient poets used accompany them as they sung their verses. Taylor’s sculptures are made from wood found on the street and are delicately assembled with wire. They resemble Picasso’s sculpture “Cubist Guitar” but in their elongation and the whitewashed atmosphere of the painted wood, they are also reminiscent of Greek or Roman temple architecture. One can imagine a few lines from Sappho accompanied by plucks from one of Taylor’s shakily heroic instruments.