Monday, February 3, 2020

ALFRED JARRY: The Carnival of Being at the MORGAN: Review by Polly Guerin

Alfred Jarry
An artist who would play a seminal role in the radical upheaval in the arts, more than a century ago, ALFRED JARRY stands on Terra Ferma as a exceptional artist who worked beyond the bounds of restraint and carved an important place in art history.  He was an inspiration for Dada and Surrealism and a touchstone for the Theater of the Absurd. 
        Alfred Jarry's remarkable and innovative body of work is presented in the first major United States exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum though May 10, 2020. Jarry was a multifaceted creative force unto himself. He was a puppeteer, a critic, a novelist, an artist and a bicycle fanatic. His works suggested that technology, popular imagery, and the performance of everyday life could constitute works of art.  Jarry's statement that "living was the carnival of being," embodies his anti-authoritarianism and subversive theatricality expressed in being larger than life itself in excess, wordplay, alter egos, and the unfettered imagination. Since his death in 1907, Jarrry's eclectic works and ideas have continued to 
Les minutes de sable memorial
for figures of the twentieth- and twenty-first avant-gardes. Image: Alfred Jarry, ca. 1894-96. Attributed to Nadar. Photograph courtesy of Thieri Foulc. ALFRED JARRY: The Carnival of Being celebrates the gift to the Morgan Library and Museum of the books and manuscripts in the Robert J and Linda Klieger Stillman Pataphysics 

Collection. 
       The exhibition considers some of Jarry's many innovations by his engagement with printed matter and the graphic arts.  On of the first writers to experiment with visual typography, Jarry forged new relationships between image and text in the experimental approaches to book and magazine design.  His use of assembling anachronism, collage, and appropriation are bellwethers of modern and contemporary practices. Image: Alfred Jarry (1873-1907). Les minutes de sable memorial (Paris: Mercure de France, 1894). The Morgan Library & Museum gift of Robert J and Linda Klieger Stillman, 2017. PML 197917 . Photograph by
Janny Chu. Drawing primarily on the Stillman's collection, the exhibition is contextualized with other objects in the Morgan's collections as well as loans from private and institutional lenders, comprising manuscripts, drawings, photographs and ephemera. Paintings and prints by figures in Jarry's circle, such as Henri Rousseau, Pierre Bonnard, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec are also featured. 
       
Alfred Jarry" Ubu roi"
JARRY is best known today for his revolutionary play Ubu Roi (1896). With only one legendary  performance recorded it remains one of his most significant works. The final portion of the exhibition points to ways in which Jarry's writings have inspired pataphysical organizations and visual artists at particular historical moments, featuring works by Marcel Duchamp, Mary Reynolds, Joan Miro, Dora Maar, Max Ernst,  Thomas Chimes, and William Kentridge, among

others. Gallery Talks, Readings and Performances including a Symposium, Alfred Jarry: Paraphysicist and Prophet on Saturday, April 25th. For more information about the exhibition visit www.themorgan.org.

        Ta Ta Darlings!!! Alfred Jarry accomplished an astonishing body of work in his short life.
THE CARNIVAL OF BEING will jolt your creative juices, visit the Morgan's  celebration of the iconoclast Alfred Jarry.  Fan mail welcome at pollytalknyc@gmail.com.

1 comment:

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