Pivotal Event #15 Parts of the Whole (a)

Crammed into #15 are some other deeply influential art experiences, including viewing, reading, and listening. Each one has significantly improved my understanding and appreciation of art. Enjoy.

Three cheers to women in abstraction! Make that five cheers. In 2018, Mary Gabriel published a book on five abstract expressionist painters, highlighting their place in Abstract Expressionism. This book expanded my awareness and love of the contributions these women made. I was especially moved by the three artists whose work I have included above. Thank you Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler (and oh so many more!).

(Images: Frankenthaler in her East 83rd Street studio working on Rapunzel (1974), April 1974. Photo: Edward Youkilis. Courtesy Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Archives, New York; September Twenty-third, 1980, Lee Krasner, ink, crayon and collage on lithographic paper, Richard P. Friedman and Cindy Lou Wakefield Collection; Untitled (1960) by Joan Mitchell, courtesy of Wikipedia)

Every time I have been fortunate enough to see Sonny Assu’s work in person I am struck at once by the balance of beauty and the potency of the its storytelling. I still remember coming around the corner in the gallery in 2009 to first see the installation above.

(Image of 1884-1951 from his How Soon is Now exhibition courtesy of the Vancouver Art Gallery)

Even as I exited the Jewish Museum Berlin, I was aware of how profoundly altered my understanding was of the interface of art, architecture, history, contemporary action, curation, and the visitor experience. Never before had I been so deeply immersed in every single artifact, artwork, didactic, room, stairwell, and experience. Without hyperbole, this museum changed my understanding of how art can alter consciousness.

(Image courtesy of Jewish Museum Berlin. In case you’re not familiar with it, this gallery houses historical artifacts as well as contemporary art exhibitions.)

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