A day at the Albertina Museum
A few days ago I took the opportunity to break away from my office and once again see a few exhibitions. Especially the long-awaited one by Jean-Michel Basquiat. When I first saw an image of one of his works some 20 years ago, it struck me like a lightning bolt. Shortly after that I was in Venice with my son, who was very young at the time, and there was a Basquiat exhibition, but I was afraid it wasn’t suitable for a toddler, so I didn’t. And now the time had finally come: a Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition in Vienna’s Albertina.
There are exhibitions that give me impulses and make me want to paint myself. However, Basquiat is of such greatness that afterward, I ask myself whether it makes any sense at all to continue painting.
In case anyone missed it: In May 2017, a painting of Basquiat was sold at Sotheby’s for US$110 million, making it the most expensive modern painting.
In short, it is a highly recommended exhibition, reflecting various phases of his life and work, well-curated, documented and hung, and accordingly impressive. It never ceases to amaze me how artists like him – he was only 27 years old – can create so much great art in their short lives. His drug use, which was ultimately his undoing, can only partially explain this.
I was particularly impressed by his self-portraits, which reflect his artistic ability in a concentrated manner.
In the same museum, there are 2 other exhibitions at the same time and one is something extraordinary – pictures from the Impressionists such as Monet to Cezanne, Giacometti, Blaue Reiter, Max Ernst, and his Surrealist circle to Picasso. They come from a private collector (Herbert Batliner collection) and some of the work is outstanding.
A question that has plagued me for ages, however, is why, not only with the Impressionists but even with Picasso, such pompous, totally inappropriate frames are used.
It is said that one can argue about taste and that is certainly true, only in this case can I not recognize the taste.