Yesterday, Telluride Inside… and Out was on the move again, this time to visit old friends and former Telluride locals Sidney and Monique Lazard in Philadelphia. Our rendezvous was set for the Philadelphia Art Museum.
In the 17th century century, the period known as the Golden Age of the Netherlands, the Dutch Republic reached unprecedented economic, political and cultural heights and saw a flowering of artistic talent to rival the tulip crop. The Holy Trinity of that period was Frans Hals, whom we talked about in a recent post about a show of his work at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Johannes Vermeer, and Rembrandt van Rijn (1606 – 1669). Ever ready to embrace synchronicity, turned out Philadelphia was featuring Rembrandt.
"Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus," a collaboration among the Louvre, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Philadelphia Art Museum, focuses on Rembrandt as the Stephen Jobs among Dutch artists of the period: a bold innovator whose gutsy re-imagining of the biggest name in the news, Jesus Christ, was nothing short of revolutionary. Until Rembrandt, the image of Christ had been defined by Mandylion of Edessa, a piece of fabric thought to contain a direct impression of his face, a Byzantine icon, and, from apocryphal sources such as the Lentulus letter:
“His hair is the color of a ripe hazelnut, parted on top in the manner of the Nazirites, and falling straight to the ears but curling further below, with blonde highlights and fanning off his shoulders."
The Byzantine Christ radiated other-worldliness, moral clarity and authority.Rembrandt followed that conventional model until the late-1640. HIs remix of Jesus, most likely based on the face of a young Sephardic Jew from his neighborhood, emphasized Christ's humanity – and the fact Jesus was a Jew. Historians agree that it is highly likely the first time in the history of Christian art that Jesus 's Jewish roots are in sharp focus. In fact the linchpin of this mini-blockbuster are six heads of Christ, all executed between 1648– 1656, all depicting young men with coarse, dark-brown hair parted in the middle, a generous beard, broad cheekbones and wide-set, puppy dog eyes. In Rembrandt's (and other's) earlier renderings of Jesus, his radiance is on the surface. In the new narrative, the glow comes from inside. You have to get up close to see it.
What's Rembrandt's message? The Divine comes from the inside. Sounds like Yoga to me.
The Perelman Building, part of the impressive Philadelphia Museum complex, houses modern and contemporary design. Its current show, a knockout, puts the spotlight on Zaha Hadid.
Hadid, easily one of the most innovative architects of our time and the first woman to receive the renowned Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004, has advanced the language of contemporary architecture and design through the exploration of complex, fluid curvilinear geometries and the use of cutting-edge digital techniques and manufacturing technologies.
The Philadelphia's Museum's exhibition, "Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion" (September – March), is the first of its type in the country to feature the artist's product designs. The show is all-encompassing sculptural environment for the display of objects ranging from space-age furniture and lighting to jewelry such as Swarovski crystal-encrusted necklaces and bracelets, footwear such as stripy rubber wedges for Melissa and reptilian boots for Lacoste, and automobiles, including a foam prototype of the artist's three-wheeled Z-car 1.
In "Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion," the emphasis is on the continuous nature of Hadid's work. You can watch the wheels turning as she continually reinvents the balance between furniture and space in an interior landscapes of folds, recesses and protrusions.
If you thought biomorphism reached its ascendancy in the works of artists such as Miro and Klee, think again.
With "Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion," the "Z" for Zorro becomes sooo yesterday.