Art That Makes You Say Hmm, Ooo and Aaah

 There’s a giant thumb in the middle of the cafe at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. It’s standing upright as if to hitch a ride to some unknown place. Abstract animals with large square heads lurk in the garden and a curvy nude, in a Picasso kind of way, reclines at the edge of the sea. The Louisiana mixes whimsy with some seriously thought-provoking exhibitions. The current exhibition of its main collection is focused on landscapes. A circle of rocks in the middle of one room denotes a rocky landscape. A bright oil painting of the Grand Canyon is a great interpretation of the place. Roy Lichtenstein, the American whose works always have a comic book feel, presents figures in a landscape with his same large scale comic figures and a few hints of green. Another piece by a Danish and Jewish artist named Tal R, features an abstract landscape in Israel of painted and drawn tanks moving up and down pastel yellow hills.

It is easy to get enveloped in the expansive museum with wood floors and at times open glass walls that look out onto the garden and seascape. In these spaces, I realize that I really like a sculptor named Alberto Giacometti. His bronze walking figures are lithe and fluid despite the fact that they are metal and immovable. I took a few pictures.

Sadly, I couldn’t take pictures of David Hockney’s exhibit, “Me Draw on iPad.” A dimly lit room displays 20 iPads and 20 iPhones along with larger slide shows of Hockney’s iPad and iPhone portraits and stills. They are so colorful and just lovely. There are mostly stills of flowers and other mundane objects like cups, scissors and shoes. If I had an iPad or iPhone, I would love one of these as my background. A film shows the artist in the act of creating an iPad masterpiece. He paints the red Calder mobile outside the Louisiana cafe.

But the most thought-provoking exhibit at the museum was the final installment of its Living: Frontiers of Architecture series on how we live, where, why and with whom. It basically asked the question, “What is home?” in a variety of ways. It explored home as community and offered the Burning Man Festival where thousands flock to the Nevada desert to form a community around art, trade and the ability to be free to express yourself with clothes or without. Conceptual artist Arne Quinze created a stilt house in the Louisiana garden as his definition of home and also burnt one of his creations at a recent Burning Man gathering. Second Life, the virtual community was another example of a place that became home for some. There was the concept of home being where the heart is as seen with mobile homes or homes that you could easily move. There were homes as defined by politics, where communism created block apartments and when viewed via Google Earth, they all look exactly the same in uniform patterns.There were examples of communities first choosing like minded people they wanted to live around and then building homes together with communal space. A Japanese architectural firm is building homes based on what’s most important to its owners, so married writers get a massive library attached to their home where they can work and neighbors can enjoy the books, too. The exhibit closes with the homes of the future. Could the apartment be re-imagined as houses stacked on one another, in what looks like helter-skelter fashion. Could we reclaim the environment by growing trees inside our homes? But one thing that could actually happen is that a 600-unit pyramidal living space created a big Danish design firm could spout up next to the Hudson River in New York in the not so distant future  of 2015. The building will be green and provide green space, but it looks more like something from space.

I close out my tour of the museum with one of its permanent art installations, “Gleaming Lights of the Souls.” I enter a room full of small hanging light bulbs and close the door behind me. The lights dim and change colors. There are mirrors all around and I appear to be standing in infinity, bathed in blue, then green, then yellow and orange light. It was pretty darned funky and a fabulous way to spend a rainy day in Denmark.



About Robin

Robin Bennefield is the author of the blog Robins Have Wings, which is not just a blog; it is a travel manifesto, reminding her—and maybe you—to take flight and embark upon unexpected journeys near and far.

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