Earlier this week, I spent some time at the SFMOMA, taking in their new exhibits featuring Cindy Sherman and Naoya Hatakeyama. I wasn’t in the respective galleries two minutes before I was completely enveloped in their respective worlds. And what incredible places they were!
First, there’s just not enough words to describe Cindy Sherman’s talent. I’ve seen some of Sherman’s work in the past (the MAC campaign and the Balenciaga work for Fashion’s Night Out), but never up close in a gallery. The scale is just impressive. While walking through the different rooms, I found myself utterly pulled in by her gaze, color and subject matter. These images demand your attention, and I found myself going through a range of emotions as I looked at each photo. You don’t just idly stroll by and look at the paintings, you experience them. My favorites in the collection were the black and white Untitled Film Series, which reminded me of Italian films of the 50s and 60s, as well as her homage to European portrait paintings, History Portraits, which is in glorious color.
My reaction to the Naoya Katakeyama exhibit was markedly different, but no less emotional. The Japanese are masters at minimalism, so while Sherman’s work jumps out and demands a response, Katakeyama’s does it in a quieter way, through light, shadow, geography and disruption. His talent is found in his ability to find and capture beauty in natural chaos. Photographs feature quarries, mines, construction sites, abandoned subway tunnels and the devastation of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Looking at landscapes through hsi very focused lens, Katakeyama invites the audience to view the world quite differently. On the one hand, you see the power of machinery and human intelligence at work on the land; but the very dramatic flip side of that coin is the power of nature itself and how small, helpless and inspired it can make us all feel. The exhibit is Katakeyama’s first solo show in the US and something truly special and thought provoking.
The Cindy Sherman exhibit runs through October 8. You have a little more time to catch Naoya Hatakeyama, which will wrap on November 4.
Until next week (and my next obsession)!
- My Latest Obsession: Man Ray and Lee Miller
- Female Trouble: The Camera As Mirror and Stage of Female Projection
- Flash Back Friday: The Jeffersons
- Art HERstory: Cindy Sherman
- Art Radar: 8.4.11