Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Previewing: Picasso at the Nasher

I was invited to the press preview today for the "Picasso and the Allure of Language" exhibition at Duke's Nasher Museum of Art. Moi, the press? Yup. Turns out the good people at the Nasher were willing to expand their definition this year to include local folks who use social networking tools, so as a renowned (cough!) Durham blogger I got the call. And yes, I took pictures -- there are plenty below after all the verbiage.
More about the meta-experience later. The exhibition itself is really well done. It's an attempt to not do "just another Picasso exhibition" as one speaker put it, but to really examine the ties between his art and language. This included things such as correspondence from his friendship between Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (note the collage above) to the way that his doodles in his art became like handwriting at times. My friend Xan always refers to his cultural reflections as "Unsophisticated Art Reviews" and in that vein I will share that I can't always define what a good exhibition is but I know one when I see one -- and this was it. In fact, my only questions came when I saw pieces that were fabulous but just seemed to be great works of art; in some sculptures and paintings I failed to see how they really tied to the theme of "the allure of language" but for most it was quite clear. So should you see this? Absolutely. It's worth the $10 admission charge (tickets here) or you can wait until the free community and family days this fall (very nice move, Duke!).

Now to the experience of the press preview. First, I was delighted to strike up a lovely conversation with the delightful Blue Greenberg of the Herald-Sun before the event began. Second, I enjoyed hearing the curators speak about the themes they found in the works (conversation, inscription and fiction). Third, it was nice to be greeted by Wendy Hower Livingston of the Nasher who invited me to be there and in addition to providing me with a nice press kit also made sure I used the appropriate hashtag (#nasherpicasso, FYI). So when I was listening to the curators and the other introductions I pulled out my iPhone and sent off a couple of tweets about what I was hearing. (I would've sent more but the vaunted 3G network disappeared after ten minutes. Shrug.)

But the most fun was yet to come. As I was walking out Wendy stopped me and asked if I was Mr. Jones and if I had been tweeting -- oh, she means @mistajonez, I realized! -- and that some people wanted to meet me. Wha? It turns out that the delightful @10ch who I had exchanged some direct messages with about the Museum of Life and Science was there and she wanted to meet me! She'd seen my tweets with #nasherpicasso and so had @negaratduke, a Duke professor who was there. It was delightful to meet them in such a, um, social manner. I got to talk to @10ch for a while and not only did I enjoy our conversation but I got to see her amazing sketches of what she experienced at the exhibit. I will link to them both here but you should click through to Flickr to see them both larger -- they're amazing!

So, to sum: exhibit GOOD Picasso GOOD social networking GOOD. Pictures below.

1 comment:

allison said...

you met my friend becky! she's cool. and it's very cool that you're now officially press. you should get a fedora with a "press" label on it.