Boca Raton Museum of Art
501 Plaza Real, Boca Raton, FL 33432
In Mizner Park
T: 561.392.2500 F: 561.391.6410


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Monday, March 28, 2011
Artist Sam Messer's Mother and Child at the Boca Raton Museum of Art

Artist Sam Messer is associate dean and adjunct professor at the Yale University School of Art but may be better known as friend to famous writers Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and Paul Auster (The Invention of Solitude, The New York Trilogy).  Messer recently created a cycle of paintings that depict Paul Auster’s typewriter and have earned him even more credibility among the art world set. 

Although Messer declines to put labels on his work his Mother and Child (1985) exemplifies one of the more popular styles from the 1980s, that being Neo-Expressionism. Neo-Expressionism dominated the art market in the early 1980s and was basically a backlash against the sterile, cold, minimal aesthetic so popular throughout mid-century.  Neo-Expressionism’s formal elements are characterized by a visceral treatment of paint and bright palettes aimed at generating an emotional reaction from the viewer.  Neo-Expressionism depicts recognizable subject matter, mostly figures and symbols, or even icons, like the Madonna and child. 

But Messer’s work is not a retread of an ancient religious theme.  The figures’ bodies, those parts that are discernible, are strangely dissociated from the two main portraits.  If paint can be considered an inherent part of the content in a painting, then here it has become the content itself, oozing and sliding the figures’ bodies across the picture plane. Messer’s intent is blurred and hard to decipher.  What’s your read on this painting?
Mother and Child can be found in our second-floor New Acquisitions gallery. 

Posted by: Kelli Bodle, Curatorial Assistant @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
65 Years Ago This Week…
IRVING PENN (American, born in New Jersey 1917- 2009), Frederic Franklin and Alexandra Danilova, New York, March 12, 1946, vintage gelatin silver print, 9 ½ x 7 ¼ inches. Permanent collection 2007.5.111. Bequest of Isadore and Kelly Friedman

On March 12, 1946, ballet dancers Fredric Franklin and Alexandra Danilova were captured on film by eminent fashion photographer Irving Penn (1917 - 2009). One of a series of photographs from this shoot is on display in our second-floor photography galleries.

Irving Penn defined a new look for magazines, beginning in the 1950s. As a photographer for Vogue Magazine, he was the first photographer to place his models against plain backdrops, thus erasing space and scale, which made the models the sole focus. Here, we see Alexandra Danilova against the silhouette of Fredric Franklin in a soft-focus vintage gelatin silver print. Very ethereal.

Sixty-five years later, visitors can marvel at the two world-class dancers’ strength and grace. Each dancer commands an impressive résumé. Franklin began dancing in 1931 with Josephine Baker at the Casino de Paris, an institution that continues to present grand ballets and musical acts to this day.

This legendary partnership between the Russian-born prima ballerina and her dance partner Fredric Franklin is part of Penn's early work that helped to usher in the minimalist look of fashion photography during the modern era.

Posted by: Kelli Bodle, Curatorial Assistant @ 12:00:00 am  Comments (0)
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