Monday, June 17, 2019

WHITMAN, SENDAK, HOGARTH, PHOTOGRAPHERS at The Morgan: Review By Polly Guerin

Phillips & Taylor, Photo of Walt Whitman, 1873
Summer Museum hopping leads the way to Exhibition Summer at The Morgan Library and Museum; showcasing  four exhibitions all summer long and some well into September/October. On the agenda: Walt Whitman: Bard of Democracy, Drawing the Curtain: Maurice Sendak's Designs for Opera and Ballet,  Hogarth: Cruelty and Humor and Among Others: Photography and the Group.
     THE MORGAN CELEBRATES THE DEMOCRATIC SPIRIT OF WALT WHITMAN'S POETRY AND LIFE through September 15, 2019.  In celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of Walt Whitman's birth, The Morgan exhibits the work of the beloved American poet.
      In a notebook in 1859 Whitman wrote, "Comrades! I am the bard of Democracy," and over the seventy years (1818-1892), he made good on that claim.  Right: Phillips & Taylor photograph of Walt Whitman, 1873, Prints and Photographs
Department, Library of Congress. 
     From humble beginnings in Long Island and Brooklyn he earned a global audience that never stops growing. As he bore witness to the rise of New York City, the Civil War, and other transformations in American life, his prolific reflections on the events of the times bore witness through his poetry. 
Whitman's prolific body of work included the most celebrated texts of American literature--LEAVES OF GRASS (1855) which continues to speak to new generations of readers and eventually earned a global audience that has never stopped growing .  On display among the artifacts is the famous letter written to Whitman by Ralph Waldo Emerson commending that book.                   The exhibition includes Whitman's response to the Civil War and displays the great poem that he wrote in honor of the martyred president including, "O Captain! My Captain!"
    Also on view are letters and documents from Oscar Wilde,
Hart Crane, Frederico Garcia Lorca and Alan Ginsburg, that trace the writer's influence on the twentieth century.  Programs include Walt Whitman's World, June 26 and Reading: Poets on Walt Whitman: Susan Howe and Shane McCrae, July 11.
     
Maurice Sendak (1982-2012) Ship Nutcracker (1982-4)
Get ready to channel the child in us all. A new summer exhibition DRAWING THE CURTAIN: MAURICE SENDAK'S DESIGNS FOR OPERA 
AND BALLET through October 6, 2019, celebrates an extraordinary bequest of the acclaimed and illustrator of children's books Maurice Sendak (1928-2012). Best known for his 1963 Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak was an avid music and opera lover. Beginning in the late 1970s, he embarked on a second career as a designer for opera. Drawing the Curtain brings together nearly one hundred and fifty drawings and more than 900 by Sendak in the Morgan collection, including storyboards, finished watercolors, and painted dioramas.
     At the entrance of the exhibit in the Morgan Stanley Gallery West be invited by colorful prop characters and nearby a TV wall screen features scenes from operas and ballet. Image Right: Maurice Sendak (1982-2012) Ship Nutcracker (1982-4), gouache and graphic pencil on paper (c) The Maurice Sendak Foundation. The Morgan Library & Museum, Bequest of Maurice Sendak, 2013, 107 289 . Photograph by Jenny Chu,  Also on view are a number of earlier works by Sendak on loan from theMaurice Sendak Foundation, and a number of props and costumes. THIS IS THE FIRST MUSEUM EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO SENDAK'S SET AND COSTUME DESIGNS OFFERING NEW INSIGHTS INTO THEARTIST'S INSPIRATION, CREATIVE PROCESS AND EXCEPTIONAL SKILL AS A VISUAL STORYTELLER.  The exhibit presents a wide selection of works from five of his most important productions: Mozart's The Magic Flute,' Janacek's Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev's Love of Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky;s Nutcracker and an opera based on Where the Wild Things Are. 
     Sendak's drawings for the stage embody his singular hand, a fantastical mode of storytelling, a keen, sometimes bawdy sense of humor and his profound love of music and art history.  Programs include Lecture/Performance: /Behind the Scenes: Maurice Sendak's for Opera, September 27th. Check listings for June and August at The Morgan website: www.themorgan.org.
    TA TA DARLINGS: The rich and entertaining summer exhibitions at The Morgan make it a pleasure to stay in town in air-conditioned splendor.  Fan mail welcome: pollytalknyc@gmail.com. Visit Polly's other Blogs at www.pollytalk.com and click in the left-hand column to the link to
visionary men, women determined to succeed, fashion or poetry.

1 comment:

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