Louise Nevelson. North Floral. 1976.
Wood painted black, 1061⁄4 x 168 x 171⁄4 inches
The Ovitz Family Collection, Los Angeles
Photo Courtesy PaceWildenstein, New York
©2007 Estate of Louise Nevelson/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
I haven’t been good about blogging recently– and I’ll admit it’s because I haven’t seen anything lately that really made me feel great about the state of the arts (or, at least, visual art) in Tampa.
Not that I’ve been able to catch absolutely everything that’s been on view recently—but, you know, when USF CAM goes into student shows during April and May, things get rough around here. Factor in the absence of the Tampa Museum of Art from downtown (even though it’s just a stone’s throw away in West Tampa), and life gets a little less interesting. I still haven’t been to the MFA’s new wing since they hung the artworks—maybe that’s what I need for a morale boost.
Despite these rather wan feelings, I got an unexpected treat Saturday when a friend and I drove up to Winter Park to see a few things and stopped by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College.
I love, love, love, love, love Louise Nevelson. Her assemblages—carefully constructed of intricate wood parts and painted black—send a little chill down my spine. At the Rollins CFAM, about a dozen of them occupy a pair of spacious galleries painted pale gray-blue for the exhibit Nevelson By Night. Silently facing each other, the sculptures become long-dead queens of Egyptian antiquity (each one enchantingly beautiful and frighteningly powerful in her own way) locked in a glassy-eyed gaze-off. To me, Nevelson’s assemblages will always be conduits for some profoundly inscrutable feminine potency, along the lines of what Luce Irigaray describes as a uniquely feminine language with access to the emotions and cognitive operations that our culture tries desperately to suppress. Medea. Lady Macbeth. Wonderfully scary shit.
Also lovely: Corps Exquis, The Human Form: ca. 1605-2005, which included a great Vanessa Beecroft video, a Rembrandt etching and a pair of arresting Ida Applebroog images on Gampi– among many other drawings, paintings and prints, all hung salon style in a single room. In separate galleries, two ultra-contemporary installations by emerging artists Orly Genger and Gandalf Gavan rounded out an adventurous and deeply fulfilling range of great work.
Unfortunately, the Nevelson show closed today. On the bright side, the other exhibits run a bit longer, and an exhibit of contemporary Japanese painting opens later this month.
Check it out: Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College.