After spending four years starring at countless slides and replications in glossy 30 lb art books, I proposed a personal mission to visit every new art exhibit in the Philadelphia / New York vicinity. There is always a giddy sense of excitement and an overwhelming feeling of anticipation I get when thinking about seeing an art piece up close. Yes, I am the jerk with my nose millimeters away from a painting, blocking everyone else’s view (look I wear glasses and I tend to forget them…all the time, so it can’t be avoided I’m sorry). Unfortunately, as soon as I step foot into a museum my excitement immediately dissolves. Crowds aggravate me and audio tours usually bore me to tears. As a result, I’ve had to become a master at the old in-and-out.
Ok, so maybe I’m a bit (extremely) selfish in my quest to explore art on a different level, but I’m sure there are tons of people out there who feel the same way I do. I love getting lost in a painting and reflecting in my own time which is extremely difficult to do with 30 people crowded around the same painting listening to some British guy drone on about how Picasso perfected his brushstroke for 20 minutes. But I also like being able to show non-art enthusiasts that art can be intriguing.
So our esteemed editor and I have decided that it’s time to make the art experience a little more interesting and a lot less aggravating. At the risk of sounding like a commercial, HAHA’s audio tours will not only get you away from the crowds, but will be informative in a different kind of way. If you can’t make it to an exhibit you can experience it here. If you’re turned off by the snobbish atmosphere of big museums, you’ve come to the right place… get educated and enjoy it. You won’t get the same up close and personal experience with a real art piece, but hopefully you’ll leave with a completely different perspective.
MP3 Audio Tour Excerpt
I really wanted to do something I was relatively familiar with for my first audio tour, and when I found out the Guggenheim was having an exhibit on Kandinsky and Malevich I literally jumped for joy and did a dance in my kitchen. Needless to say, I love Russian art. But, I don’t know how many times people have told me that they just don’t get it. That kind of statement always confuses me. What’s not to get? Russia’s visual history is so distinct and crisp it is hard to understand where the confusion sets in. And then I’ve got to stop, and quietly remind myself that not everyone majored in history and subsequently did a history of Russia through its art accompanied by a miniature art exhibit as their final paper. More importantly, I have to remind myself that not everyone is a total nerd.
The thing about Russian art is, if you step away from it and put the aesthetic aspect aside, you are literally getting a history lesson. Every change in style, taste, imagery and even brushstroke comes down to the distinct political and social changes Russia experienced. You can trace the origins and the fall of communism through Russia’s art (how cool is that?). You can pin point the moment Stalin died, you’ll know without hesitation that Khrushchev made his secret speech denouncing Stalin precipitating the thaw, and you’ll see that Gorbachev has come to power and any minute now that wall is coming down and Russia will be scrambling to create a new history…
The Geometry of Kandinsky and Malevich runs at the Gugg until September 7, 2010
Click here to download your Kandinsky_Malevich Audio Tour
Your Handy Package includes: MP3s, Photos, Intro to Audio Tour, and a trusty map
photo granted by micaela from her great Flickr account (we love CC)