Friday, May 27, 2011

A detailed look at Cubism at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth


By Madelyn Miller, the TravelLady

One of the joys of being a journalist is you sometimes get into preview events with extra insight and experts. And then it is our job to share it with you.
Recently, that happened at the Kimbell Museum.

I had a chance to preview the Picasso and Braque exhibit. Along with other lucky journalists, enjoyed an introduction and tour of this exciting exhibition by Eik Kahng, chief curator at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and Malcolm Warner, deputy director at the Kimbell Art Museum. Harry Cooper, curator of modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

The High Touch Addition

Visitors to the upcoming Kimbell Art Museum exhibition Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912 will be able to use a specially created iPad application to delve more deeply into Cubism. “Advances in digital imaging and the convenience of an iPad provide new ways to look at and understand the processes, relationships, and stylistic developments of the revolutionary art form now known as Analytic Cubism,” commented Eric M. Lee, director of the Kimbell Art Museum. “I’m thrilled that the Kimbell is able to provide this unique opportunity to Museum visitors.”
The Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Kimbell have been working with MegaVision, a digital-imaging company based in California, to capture spectral images of select pieces in the exhibition. The quality of spectral imaging surpasses that of normal professional photography, and it allows options for ultraviolet and infrared, which can reveal features invisible to the human eye.
Affectionately titled iCubist, the app was designed specifically for the Picasso and Braque exhibition. It will showcase the spectral images along with three other original activities and will be made available to exhibition visitors, free of charge, on 40 preloaded iPads.

The iCubist activities allow users to:
• View and study works with a level of detail and precision never before possible for museum audiences. Users will have the ability to manipulate a succession of digitized spectral images that show the artworks at different light frequencies (ultraviolet and infrared), revealing the most minute details. Such fascinating views of the paintings uncover important decisions made by the artists in developing their compositions.

• Deconstruct a Cubist composition and attempt to put it back together. By rebuilding these composite reproductions, visitors learn first-hand about the intellectual and creative processes employed by Picasso and Braque in their paintings. The physical act of moving visual elements emphasizes compositional choices made by the artists to create, for example, a sense of balance or movement. It also highlights recognizable elements and describes their significance.

• Compare digital reproductions of paintings by the featured artists, Picasso and Braque, by clicking on markers that pop up to explain key aspects of their individual styles. This interactive activity will help visitors exercise connoisseurship to distinguish between the artists’ hands, despite their close similarity during the Cubist years.

• Explore the history of Cubism by means of an illustrated timeline that includes vintage photography of the artists and their friends and reproductions of key works of art.

The iCubist app was designed and produced by Reza Ali for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Kimbell Art Museum. Picasso and Braque: The Cubist Experiment, 1910–1912 is on view at the Kimbell Art Museum from May 29 through August 21, 2011, and at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art from September 17, 2011, through January 8, 2012. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

**Pablo Picasso, Man with a Pipe, 1911, oil on canvas. Kimbell Art Museum. Photo © MegaVision. © 2011 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Madelyn Miller is a travel and food writer who took art lessons at the Chicago Art Institute as a child. A painting I did was chosen to hang in the museum.. She still draws like an exceptionally talented fourth grader.
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