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WAS BRAQUE GREATER THAN PICASSO? GEORGES BRAQUE AT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
Braque and Picasso were the founders of the Cubist Movement. Braque is frequently overshadowed by Picasso, but consider this: Braque was the first living artist given an exhibition at the Louvre (1961). When Braque died at age 81 on August 31, 1963, funeral services were held in front of the Louvre.
This post will continue our look at a museum’s use of New Media Technology [link] to fulfill its mission to make art accessible. We will look at the exhibition from The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC of “Georges Braque and the Cubist Still Life, 1928–1945,” co-curator, Renée Maurer.
We’ll start with the impressive video of the exhibition where the curator, Renée Maurer, gives us an almost complete tour of the works in the show. Her delivery is friendly, precise, and jargon free. Notice that she appears nowhere as a talking head, but only as a voice over which lets the viewer concentrate on the artworks. (Have you ever found yourself looking at the talking head’s choice of wardrobe rather than listening to the presentation?) The slow camerawork and close-ups add to the appreciation and enjoyment of the works.
You can also read, and save the transcript of the audio tour.
The exhibition is the first in-depth look at the years leading up to and through World War II, a period of experimentation and transition in Braque’s career, when he used the motif of still life to synthesize cubist discoveries and hone his individual style. Forty-four sumptuous canvases, along with related objects, trace the artist’s journey from painting still lifes in intimate interiors in the late 1920s, to vibrant, large-scale spaces in the 1930s, to more personal interpretations of daily life in the 1940s.
The website allows you to enlarge the pictures in the preview to full screen, so that you may study the pictures at your own pace. It also has a brief description of the picture. For instance, of Braque’s “The Round Table” it says:
“With this work, Braque substantially expanded his color range, increased the scale of his canvases, experimented with textures and materials, and devised a more complex use of pictorial space. Pushing the table into the corner of the room, he creates an unusual perspective that presents multiple viewpoints at the same time. The result is a grand, luminous canvas in which oil has been mixed with sand over gesso to create a textured, fresco-like effect.”
The Catalogue of the exhibition is available from the Museum Shop. Catalogue . Perhaps the Museum Shop will decide to put a few preview pages of the Catalogue on the web site.
EXCELLENT USE OF NEW MEDIA
In this blog, we ofter refer to Cliff Kaung, design editor at Fast Company and the founding editor of Co.Design, winner of the 2011 National Magazine Award for best online department. He draws over 2 million readers a month. In his article in Fast Company, he points out that, “The most basic failing of so many design projects: Even as the designers go wild with the technology, they never stop to consider what anyone who doesn’t care about that technology would stand to gain. “
The Phillips Collection has met this standard. The have shown that use of New Media technology does not mean having complicated bells and whistles – the have a friendly user interface. They have also made sure that the technology does not interfere with the viewer’s enjoyment and appreciation of the art.
The exhibition runs from Jun 8 – September 1, 2013.