Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Brand New Boise Opens!

Last night was the Opening for my latest show: A Brand New Boise.  Check it out - a very good conversation-after-the-show production.  Circle Theatre, Fort Worth.

I made the day of it visiting around Dallas and in Fort Worth.

First was the ribbon cutting, here in Dallas, of the new addition to Woodrow Wilson High School.  I liked the new architecture - modern, yet sympathetic with the historic Elizabethan-Revival original.  (Well, loosely Eliz-Revival, I'd say the gorgeous auditorium leans a bit more Classical.)  There's a particularly interesting new glass entry/linkage piece where old building meets new.  And the restoration of parts of the old fabric is welcome and respectful, like restoring the handsome Art Deco-ish chandeliers in that auditorium.  Nice job!

After that, drive to Fort Worth and spend some time in the Kimbell Art Museum's Bernini exhibit.  It's particularly interesting because it focuses on Bernini's clay "sketch" models for his marble final works... with many, many sketches and both small study models and larger modelos. The sketches are beautiful, often in red chalk on gray/beige paper.  The clay sculpture are terracotta and often breathtaking.  Full of vigor and personality.

Bernini's terracotta model for the "Moor" Fountain in Rome - Kimbell Art Museum

The evidence of the great artist as craftsman and human are fascinating and sometimes touching - as when,  more than two hundred years later, you see his fingerprint in the clay.

You can also see where Bernini was thrifty with paper: there's often another sketch on the back of  the sheet or sharing it.  The sketches themselves are clearly working drawings and studies.  One rather beautiful drawing of a saint's legs shares its paper higgle-piggle with what are almost on-the-telephone-doodles of different ways to treat an architectural detail.  Bernini's drawings are sometimes formal presentation renderings in ink and wash, but are most often fast chalk sketches of fragments or of the whole composition, made as he thought his way through the design.

On the terracotta models you can still see the marks of measuring (in order to increase the size of the next sculpture) or of inscribed lines (as Bernini figures out how to divide the stone version into individual blocks) or where one sculpture was actually sawed into pieces in order to mock up that process.  Like the sketches, there are even a fragmentary models: the surprising and beautiful study model of just the hind end of a horse.

There are saints, whole rafts of angels, fabulous fountains, (love the River Gods!), and a gorgeous lion.

Gathered from museums all over the world, this one of a kind exhibit is a Must See.

(Be sure to visit Clodion's terracotta  study, The River Rhine Separating the Waters, downstairs too... made about a hundred years later.)

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