Monday, September 1, 2014

Texas State Capitol in Austin

One of the hard to miss landmarks in Austin was the domed neoclassical structure of the Texas State Capitol, which can be seen as far as from the Blanton Museum of Art at University of Texas.  The Texas Capitol site informed us that
The Texas Capitol is an extraordinary example of late 19th century public architecture and is widely recognized as one of the nation's most distinguished state capitols. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986 for its "significant contribution to American history.

The 1888 Texas Capitol is the largest in gross square footage of all state capitols and is second in total size only to the National Capitol in Washington, D.C. Like several other state capitols, the 1888 Texas Capitol surpasses the National Capitol in height, rising almost 15 feet above its Washington counterpart.
DSCN1025 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN1070 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN1026 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN1027 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

One evening, after a wonderful dinner at Driskill Café, I chanced by the huge compound and learned that I would visit it even at that late hour so I zipped through the ground, stopped by some sculptures briefly, then entered the building, which was guarded only by two policemen each at the front and back entrances.

DSCN0440 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0442 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

The exterior of the building was classical, elegant and full of details to admire.

DSCN0446 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0453 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0451 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

When it grew darker, the brightly lit pale structure glowed against the deep blue night sky.

DSCN0556 - Texas Capitol, Austin Texas - 500

DSCN0550 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0544 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0539 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014
DSCN0545 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0544 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014
DSCN0443 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0448 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014
DSCN0552 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0553 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

Due to the relative late hour, there were only a handful of visitors and I was able to roam around for most of the time leisurely and had some wonderful sights, such as the dome seen through a translucent ceiling in a long corridor, which led to a delightful little courtyard.

DSCN0517 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0514 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0513 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

Back to the main part of the building, under the dome, where I saw chambers of Texas State Supreme Court, Appeal Court, Governor's Office, Senate and House Chambers; due to time, security or renovation issues, however, I was only able to tour the quite grandiose House Chamber.

DSCN0487 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0465 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0466 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0474 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0469 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0478 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

Naturally, one would encounter many important politicians in Texas history or with roots/connections to the state, such as the busts of Lyndon Johnson and George H. W. Bush and the official portrait of former governor Ann Richards:

DSCN0520 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0519 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0463 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

In the center of the circular space directly below the dome, there was the state seal, above which there were several levels of circular galleries, adorned with official portraits of politicians, including that of Ann Richards, leading all the way up to the soaring yet rather restrained dome.

DSCN0493 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0459 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014 DSCN0480 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0492 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0481 - Texas State Capitol - 500

DSCN0460 _ Texas State Capitol, Austin, June 2014

DSCN0502 - Texas State Capitol - 500 DSCN0454 - Texas State Capitol - 500

DSCN0457 - Texas State Capitol - 500



More on Austin, Texas Trip, June 2014

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Modernism from the National Gallery of Art in De Young Museum, San Francisco


DSCN0358 _ Modernism from the National Gallery of Art The Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection, De Young Museum

Last weekend, I visited De Young Museum to see the special exhibit: Modernism from the National Gallery of Art: The Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection.

DSCN0378 _ Modernism from the National Gallery of Art The Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection, De Young Museum

DSCN0015 _ NGA at De Young

DSCN0040 _ Modernism from the National Gallery of Art The Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection, De Young Museum

The exhibition included many important modern masters, with works in the styles ranging from almost realism to schematic abstract and cartoonish.

DSCN0092 _ Modernism from the National Gallery of Art The Robert & Jane Meyerhoff Collection, De Young Museum

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To me, the most astonishing offering was a series of paintings by Barnett Newman, titled The Stations of the Cross: Lema Sabachthani, created from 1958 to 1966. Spartan and aesthetically pleasing, the group paintings had an otherworldly beauty and spirituality.  The scope of the paintings was vast; and despite the long period of the creation, this series never veered away from the clearly defined concept, and these canvases could be appreciated individually or as a whole:

DSCN0403 _ The Stations of the Cross_ Lema Sabachthani, 1958-66, Barnett Newman, NGA at De Young

DSCN0400 _ The Stations of the Cross_ Lema Sabachthani, 1958-66, Barnett Newman, NGA at De Young  DSCN0402 _ The Stations of the Cross_ Lema Sabachthani, 1958-66, Barnett Newman, NGA at De Young

DSCN0070 _ The Stations of the Cross_ Lema Sabachthani, 1958-66, Barnett Newman, NGA at De Young

DSCN0404 _ The Stations of the Cross_ Lema Sabachthani, 1958-66, Barnett Newman, NGA at De Young

DSCN0002 _ The Stations of the Cross_ Lema Sabachthani, 1958-66, Barnett Newman, NGA at De Young



DSCN0065 _ The Stations of the Cross_ Lema Sabachthani, 1958-66, Barnett Newman, NGA at De Young

DSCN0062 _ The Stations of the Cross_ Lema Sabachthani, 1958-66, Barnett Newman, NGA at De Young

Similarly, I found this Rothko's abstract piece, in very subdued palettes, exceedingly beautiful.  It surely made a stark contrast to his more vibrantly painted pieces, particularly his red and purple pieces.  It is a very meditative piece:

DSCN0381 _ Untitled, 1969, Mark Rothko, NGA at De Young

DSCN0041 _ Untitled, 1969, Mark Rothko, NGA at De Young
Untitled, 1969, Mark Rothko

The Bradley Walker Tomlin painting was definitely vibrantly colorful and also amazingly beautiful, and even orderly, despite the deceptive chaos:

DSCN0399 _ Maneuver for Position, 1947, Bradley Walker Tomlin, NGA at De Young
Maneuver for Position, 1947, Bradley Walker Tomlin

Hans Hoffmann's piece included was a typical Hofmann - strong color contrasts, geometric pattens seemed ever moving on the canvas. Very dynamic:

DSCN0395 _ Autumn Gold, 1957, Hans Hofmann, NGA at De Young

DSCN0396 _ Autumn Gold (detail), 1957, Hans Hofmann, NGA at De Young
Autumn Gold and detail, 1957, Hans Hofmann

Other pieces with similar complexities and contrasts are these pieces below, in turn subtle, bold, schematic, and chaotic:

DSCN0392 _ Essex and Hester (Red), 1958, Grace Hartigan, NGA at de Young
Essex and Hester (Red), 1958, Grace Hartigan

DSCN0384 _ Desert Landscape, 1951, William Baziotes, NGA at De Young
Desert Landscape, 1951, William Baziotes

DSCN0012 _ Perilous Night, 1982, Jasper Johns, NGA at De Young
Perilous Night, 1982, Jasper Johns

DSCN0007 _ Souvenirs, 1980-84, Howard Hodgkin, NGA at De Young
Souvenirs, 1980-84, Howard Hodgkin

The following group included the most representative and visually complex offerings, intricate in patterns and meanings:

DSCN0038 _ La round des images, 1977, Jean Dubuffet, NGA at De Young
La round des images, 1977, Jean Dubuffet

DSCN0032 _ Saigon, Minnesota, 1985, Eric Fischl, NGA at De Young
Saigon, Minnesota, 1985, Eric Fischl

DSCN0004 _ Archive, 1963, Robert Rauschenberg, NGA at De Young
Archive, 1963, Robert Rauschenberg

DSCN0025 _ Courtroom, 1970, Philip Guston, NGA at De Young
Courtroom, 1970, Philip Guston

The following group paintings were the most schematic and purely abstract, and some of them were quite lovely, such as those by Ad Reinhardt:

DSCN0010 _ Graphics Tablet, 1998, Terry Winters, NGA at De Young
Graphics Tablet, 1998, Terry Winters

DSCN0036 _ Picasso's Skull, 1989-90, Brice Marden, NGA at De Young
Picasso's Skull, 1989-90, Brice Marden

DSCN0390 _ Untitled (Yellow and White), Untitled (Red and Gray), 1950, Ad Reinhardt, NGA at De Young

DSCN0049
Untitled (Yellow and White), Untitled (Red and Gray), 1950, Ad Reinhardt

DSCN0387 _ 1951-N, 1951, Clyfford Still, NGA at De Young
1951-N, 1951, Clyfford Still

DSCN0383 _ Study for Homage to the Square_ Light Rising, 1950, altered 1959, Josef Albers, NGA at De Young
Study for Homage to the Square_ Light Rising, 1950, altered 1959, Josef Albers

DSCN0386 _ First Theme, 1964, Burgoyne Diller, NGA at De Young
First Theme, 1964, Burgoyne Diller

DSCN0033 _ Untitled #2, 1981, Agnes Martin, NGA at De Young
Untitled #2, 1981, Agnes Martin

And lastly, there were some Roy Lichtenstein's cartoonish paintings - certainly there was no denying that there was some beauty in them, but they just didn't speak to me, as to some other absorbed patrons:

DSCN0089 _ Painting with Statue of Liberty, 1983, Roy Lichtenstein, NGA at De Young
Painting with Statue of Liberty, 1983, Roy Lichtenstein

DSCN0091 _ Entablature, 1974, Roy Lichtenstein, NGA at De Young
Entablature, 1974, Roy Lichtenstein

The exhibit was in the Herbst Special Exhibition Galleries of De Young Museum and it ran from June 7, 2014 to October 12, 2014.  Highly recommended.

DSCN0084

DSCN0093

And you can tweet about it:

DSCN0379


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