Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Modern Art: Prague

On Saturday, I went to the Museum of Modern Art Museum on Kampa Island. Kampa is a small island next to Charles Bridge that has museums, a park, restaurants, and the Lennon memorial. I heard it described once as the “Venice” of Prague though I am not sure why. Although it is an island, I have never seen a gondola or anything that reminded me of Italy. Regardless, the island is very interesting and has a culture of its own.
The museum surprised me. Although it had some examples of the modern art outside, the actual art differed greatly from what I expected. There were three exhibitions at the time: a permanent collection of Stálá Sbírka, a temporary exhibit of Kupka Mondrian and a temporary exhibit of Andy Warhol. I went for the Warhol, but left feeling dizzy.
I decided to do Andy Warhol first. The theme was Disaster Relics and it was quite sad. There were portraits of Jackie Kennedy, Elvis and Marilyn Monroe as well as car accidents and prints inspired by racial unrest. I am not sure what I expected, but all the quotes on the walls were very depressing and set the mood for the rest of the museum.
After the Warhol exhibit, or výstava as it is known in Czech, I went upstairs to the permanent Stálá Sbírka collection. These black and white photographs were the best part of the entire museum and a lot more comprehensible. There were some photographs that I would love to have in my apartment, but I am sure they would be very expensive.
The final section focused on Kupka and Mondrian. Kupka is a Czech artist, and his work is somewhat hard to understand. They were very modern, and quite beyond me. However, some of his works in black and white would have looked very nice as tiling in a bathroom; I’m not sure if that is what he intended. Mondrian was a bit more impressionist than Kupka and at first I liked his art. However, as he progressed through life, it became more complex and abstract.
All of this modern art was making me a little queasy and I was glad that there was one section in the museum that was located on top of the smaller building in the open air. Visitors are allowed to walk out and look at the weather resistant art. My favorite piece was on the roof; it was a bunch of tainted windows attached to a larger metallic structure, but when two windows were at the right angle, it would create a mirror effect. This led to some brilliant pictures, which were quite fun to produce. Although I didn’t understand most of the art, this final piece was both entertaining and beautiful (in a very strange way).

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