Barcelona & Modernity exhibition at CMA is stunning!

Submitted by Evelyn Kiefer on Wed, 10/11/2006 - 22:40.
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"Barcelona & Modernity: Picasso, Gaudi, Miro, Dali" -- one visitor called it the most ambitious show she has ever seen at The Cleveland Museum of Art. I think she is right!

The exhibition does not officially open until October 15th, but I had the chance to attend a special preview "Fiesta" complete with tapas and Spanish wines. New Director Timothy Rub and Curator William Robinson were there to introduce the show to the 300+ attendees who were all eager to have a look inside the Museum again.  No one seemed disappointed that there were plenty of works by artists other than the big four included in the title. Though the names of many of the artists in the show were unfamiliar to most of the visitors, their works were so extraordinary they fit seemlessly with the works of the famous masters.

Three hundred and fifty objects, an exhibition that large might be overwhelming, but somehow its not -- its dazzling! When you enter the exhibition one of the most prominent works is a painting titled "Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem (End of the 19th-century) (1897), Nearly life size, the double portrait/self-portrait announces that in Barcelona both art and lifestyles are modern. When you turn around and scan the first galleries you realize you are surrounded by  large scale masterpieces. The galleries are organized chronologically and thematically and this works very well to tell the incredible story of the art scene in Barcelona from 1868-1939. When looking at the Modernist furniture in one gallery a woman commented that she had been to Barcelona and seen the exterior of many of the great buildings there, but this exhibition gave her a better sense of what the original interiors looked like. On this opening night the surprise hit was the architectural models, nearly one in each gallery, visitors seemed to gravitate to them. Antoni Gaudi's puzzling upside-down string and sandbag model for the Sagrada Familia church inspired the most questions.

Don't put off seeing Barcelona & Modernity because you will want to see the show more than once to take it all in.

Barcelona & Modernity exhibition at CMA is stunning!

Just a few days before it closes (tomorrow) I finally got my distracted self over to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see the Barcelona & Modernity exhibition and Evelyn is absolutely right - it is stunning. I love all the art in the show - from what I knew to what I didn't know before, and the structure of the exhibition was excellent - so well curated. Most powerful was seeing the work of some of all time's greatest artists over time. The life of Picasso. An early Dali, and later work. The influences of one artist on the other. The furniture, doors and brass fittings of Gauri. The best. This is one of the finest exhibitions I've ever seen... some of the finest art I've ever seen.

Also stunning was that on a rainy day I was surrounded by 1,000s of arts lovers who not only braved bad weather but a very inconvenient museum under construction - parking is a pain... dangerous for my elderly parents... and there is nothing to see but the exhibition (they may want to do a bit more to art-up the common spaces - but we lined up, paid up, and dug in. The space was poor, but it did not matter AT ALL. Fantastic. If you missed this, you missed a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed. That is Cleveland at its best!
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Today was too late...

Evelyn tried to take her parents to the last day of the Barcelona show and she said there were like 10,000 people there - madhouse - and they couldn't get in. So glad I went earlier in the week, and that people in NEO can sell out an ART exhibition on its last day. Next time, they'll go before it is too late. WOW.

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Barcelona & Modernity in NYC

Exhibition moves to MoMa March 7 - June 3, no Mondays, museum closed on Tuesdays. Worth a trip to see this triumph in such an appropriate venue. Notice how Franco's bombing of Barcelona looked like modern day Bagdhad, the Nationalists sought to derail democracy and preserve their theocratic fascism. Nothing new under the sun.