Sunday, January 31, 2010
Giving me the finger?
We spent Saturday afternoon and evening at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg with the Friends of Photography, a small group of folks with a passion for photography. While there we had the pleasure to explore three really huge bronze sculptures that are part of the exhibition, The Baroque World of Fernando Botero. Botero, born in Columbia in 1932, created The Hand in 1985. The position of the middle finger is particular revealing and pointed and must have some meaning for the artist that I could not uncover. It weighs approximately 2,500 pounds!
Botero explains his use of these "large people", as they are often called by critics, or obese figures and forms thus: "An artist is attracted to certain kinds of form without knowing why. You adopt a position intuitively; only later do you attempt to rationalize or even justify it."
You would instantly recognize his paintings and sculptures as they feature unusually large, tremendous, XXX-plus sized women and even some men. Big. Rotund. As in three seats on a commercial jetliner.
A Latin American painter, sculptor, and draftsman, Botero depicts the "comedy of human life—moving or ironic, baroque in expression, sometimes with a mocking observation, and sometimes with a deep, elementary emotion. He has created a world of his own with a particular blend of violence and beauty." In 2005, Botero produced a series over 80 paintings and drawings which depicted the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The current show in St. Petersburg is the first retrospective of his work in North America since 1974. Included are 100 paintings, sculptures, and drawings selected from the artist’s private collection. Many works have never been exhibited in public. (The exhibition is organized and circulated by Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia. Dr. John Sillevis from the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, curated the exhibition. ) This show at the MFA runs through April 4th.
Botero's works are collected by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, The Hermitage Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn and others.