December 12th, 2014


Matisse's "The Swimming Pool"


I'm back to posting on this journal because it is now Christmas break and I have some time.  I will try--again--to make posting a regular thing. Maybe I can post on Saturdays?  Anyway, I'm here becasue I was listing to Slate's Culture Gabfest podcast and heard a really interesting segment about a new MOMA exibit of Henri Matisse's works.  Now, you all know I am not much into modern art, but I was really captivated by the story behind "The Swimming Pool".  Apparently, late in life, the artist was using a wheelchair and dependent on others for transport--I so relate.  One really hot summer day, he wanted to go to a public pool [an outdoor one] and watch people swim--again I really relate.  I love to swim and looking at water calms me.  Anyway, when he got there, it was so hot, nobody was actually swimming!  So, he said something along the lines of "Fine!  Take me home.  I'll make my own pool."  He then created (with the help of a cadre of female assistants) a mural around his whole dinning room in blue and white that basically submerges the viewer--to quote one of the gabfest-ers--in a kind of underwater playground of swimmers, divers, sea creatures and stars.  MOMA owns the piece now and it has been lovingly restored and put on display.  I looked at pics and am just transported.  I really think I'm going to try to write a poem about it.  It's just so lively and evocative!

So, that's the news from here.  Modern art is fun.  Who knew?

PS:  Actually, I think Simon Schama's Power of Art BBC series went a long way toward helping me appreciate all art more, but especially the modern stuff.  The episode on Rothko was especially helpful to someone with no modern art experience.
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