Yesterday was Sunday and I thought an appropriate day on which to visit the Museum of Biblical Art (MOBIA), expecting to see some brooding Renaissance paintings of saints and sinners, the cousins of which I remember seeing there a year or two ago on Broadway and 61st Street. Yes, it’s been that long, but it won’t be in the future.
Actually I went for a presentation by Mary Temple of light images which turned out to be way beyond what was expected. These are strangely beautiful shadow paintings, images of the outlines of leafy trees cast against sides of buildings and interior walls, often with no light source at all, but deceptively realistic. And that’s what the artist is after -the trompe l’oeil effect. It’s quite lovely, extraordinarily painstaking work.
That is what is great about Manhattan – the unexpected bonus that comes with a casual visit to a not very well known (at least in the local art community) museum that has been around quite a while. The unexpected continued with the exhibition in the main gallery of “Back to Eden,” where the work of some of the art world’s better known practitioners was on display.
It was Eden all over the place, as interpreted by Jim Dine, Barnaby Furnas, Fred Tomaselli, Pipolotti Rist, Alexis Rockman and Adam Fuss, among several other artists who had taken on their personal interpretation of what was really going on when Eve bit into the apple while the serpent smiled.
No, there are no photos of this exhibition. I was so taken aback by the show that I was three-quarters of the way to the Museum of Art & Design before I realized my mistake and my feet insisted I keep going.
I do have three photos from that show – well really shows, plural – since there are five floors of exhibits to wander through. One floor had selections made by the Director David McFadden from his 16 years as head of the museum. There was a tremendous amount of material to see, but frankly, it’s more than a little confusing to figure out who did what. The accompanying booklet didn’t really help and I didn’t see many people using it anyway. Perhaps some minor changes will be made to clarify the viewing when the MAD Biennial continues its series of exhibitions examining “cultures of making in urban communities.” Cultures of making? Does that mean creative work in various media? I think that’s what I saw.