Friday, June 28, 2013
Spirituality Beyond Belief
SFMOMA recently shut its doors for three years so that construction on its huge new addition can begin. In the meantime, the institution has initiated its partnerships in exile (or on-the-go, as they are branding it) at the Contemporary Jewish Museum a block away on Mission Street. The exhibit, culled from the SFMOMA permanent collection with art from 1911 to 2011, is called Beyond Belief and has something to do with "spirituality," Jewish and otherwise.
Though some pieces deal with the subject directly, such as Nam June Paik's 1989 closed-circuit TV Buddha above...
...others are highly abstract in their relationship to the spiritual, such as Brice Marden's 1991 Cold Mountain 6 (Bridge) which according to the wall signage was inspired by the 8th century Buddhist monk Han Shan.
The most charming aspect of the exhibit is its manageable size, which evokes memories of the old SFMOMA when it was situated on two floors in the Veterans Building in Civic Center.
The show is also refreshingly rich in the work of female artists such as Georgia O'Keefe's small 1994 Black Place 1...
...Jay DeFeo's huge 1957 The Veronica...
...and Fire, a 2005 sculptural installation by Teresita Fernandez.
I was also taken by California painter Lorser Feitelson's Post Surrealist painting from 1934, Genesis First Version, created before the artist went rigorously abstract in the 1940s.
And if you are in the mood for sitting in front of a large Mark Rothko painting (No. 14, 1960), there is a bench helpfully placed right in front of the work. Be sure to color coordinate, though, like the lady above.