Monday, 11 July 2016

Christo and Jeanne-Claude Floating Piers at Lake Iseo

Lake Iseo with Floating Piers - June 25, 2016

Floating Piers - crowd not accessing smaller island, June 25
In October 2015 I saw an article in the New York Times that the artist Christo was constructing an installation on Lake Iseo in Italy. Having visited several Italian Lakes, but having only a vague idea of where Lake Iseo is, I thought it would be interesting to visit Iseo and see the installation. Now, having been there, and having read a little more about the project, I’m still exploring exactly what this work is about. Christo has said that the process of getting a project approved, designing it, raising the funds, and doing the construction and deconstruction are all part of the work of art. Walking among the crowds, mostly Italian, on the Floating Piers, I thought it only became an art work when people experienced it. Now I’m wondering if my own, and each other viewer’s process of getting there is also part of the work of art. Christo himself said that waiting in line was part ofthe experience, so I imagine he would agree. The anticipation of seeing the installation, the challenge of arranging to be there, both in planning the trip from the United States and getting there from our hotel near the lake, the physical experience of walking to it, walking on it, and finding our way back, plus the drive into the hills so we could see it from above, and even the challenge of finding the museum in Brescia where there was a Christo exhibition could all be part of the work, since all those are what we talk about when we tell people we were there. And they are all part of our experience of the art. Contemporary works of art are not necessarily only ‘things,’ but they can also be experiences and this one engaged us far more than most of the painting and sculpture we saw in the numerous museums we also visited in Europe.
So while our experience started around January, it began to take shape in April, when I was wondering if it was conceivable to include the Floating Piers in a trip to Scandinavia. We were going to Norway and Sweden for two weeks. I found a Ryanair flight from Stockholm to Bergamo, and we could fly from Kansas City to Oslo and back from Milan, so it was possible. But the only hotels in any town I could identify near the project cost between $450 and $4000 a night. We were planning to meet Italian friends there, and I considered just going to Brescia or Bergamo, but I wanted to be at Lake Iseo. Finally I found the Hotel Conca Verde, located in the hills above the lake in a town called Zone, at a very reasonable price. So we booked it. And our friends Tom and Bruna from Padua agreed to meet us there.
On June 23 we flew to Bergamo and rented a car and a GPS. By that time we were hearing that there were 40,000 people a day at Lake Iseo, that the trains weren’t stopping there, and that the roads were blocked. I realized that the installation would be more of an event than I’d anticipated and wondered if people would fall off the pier from the crowding. Following our GPS in the dark, we went through several long tunnels, caught glimpses of the lake below, and snaked up the hill to the hotel, not sure if we were going the right way and only vaguely conscious of the vertiginous drops from the narrow road. The Conca Verde turns out to be in a lovely location with very helpful staff and good food.
The hotel staff told us that 90,000 people a day were visiting and that many had succumbed to the heat and crowd, causing multiple emergency calls. All the roads approaching it were closed, the trains were not stopping at Iseo, and the traffic was at a standstill. Nino at the Conca Verde advised us how we could get to the Christo, by taking a taxi to a ferry stop, taking the boat to Monte Isola, walking three kilometers to the Christo, crossing the lake on the bridge, and having the taxi pick us up at the end. That plan worked. We set out in the morning, but started thinking that we should have waited till the cool of the evening, so Adele, the most accommodating taxi driver, offered to take us back to the hotel and picked us up again at 6.
On the boat we talked with a local man who was making his second visit to the installation. He and his friends were very impressed to hear that it had such international coverage. He was taking his dachshund again because the dog had enjoyed walking on the structure, which he said was kind of like a mattress.
Floating Piers from Monte Isola shore, June 24, 2016
I heard many questions from my companions about how the Christo could be called art, how original it actually is, and what makes it interesting. While there is detailed information about how the piers were constructed, the effect was not very different from a pontoon bridge or, even a large boat. The pier was made up of large plastic cubes connected together, so it undulated with the waves and from the people walking on it. The orange tarps that covered it were wrapped loosely so I kept tripping on the folds, making me walk very carefully.
Floating Piers toward Monte Isola

Floating Piers toward Sulzano
On the pier I was particularly aware of how lovely Lake Iseo is and of the natural beauty of its surrounding hills, as well as of Monte Isola itself, a small island with villages and almost no cars. Sulzano, the town on the mainland, also looked delightful. The crowd on the piers did not seem to be full of art aficionados, but mostly locals and mostly Italians. There were baby carriages and people in wheelchairs, people with pets, families, couples, groups. All of them were smiling.
Lake Iseo, June 24, 2016
     What really struck me was not so much the object itself or the personal experience of “walking on water” as the p.r. put it, but my more comprehensive response. Christo’s art is as much about the process of getting a project designed, approved, and built as the final product and in that sense it is highly conceptual art.  In many cases it takes hundreds or even thousands of people to construct the project, hundreds more to maintain it when it is built, and many again to take it down. The Floating Piers involved many thousands of people, giving pleasure or at least an emotional response to all of them.
Color change where the fabric is wet

Sulzano from Floating Piers, June 24, 2016
Although the drawings for the Floating Piers show only three or four people on them, I think the final product required the people experiencing it: the happy crowds finding their way to this rural location and wandering across the installation, taking pictures of themselves, the pier, and the landscape around, complete the work of art. Like other Christos, the work makes the viewer aware of his surroundings, but also creates a shared experience for a large number of people. I found it joyous, communal, challenging, and thought provoking on a lovely warm evening.
Crowd on Floating Piers, looking toward Sulzano, June 24, 2016

The next day we drove into the hills above the town of Sulzano where the pier starts and caught views of the Christo from above. Each time we found a viewpoint, drivers of other cars and motorcycles were also stopping to look. We passed the huge traffic jam of people coming to find the Christo, wandered into the hills beyond the lake, discovered an amazing restaurant for lunch and found our way back.

Floating Piers, June 25, 2016
 Visually, especially from the hills above, or perhaps from the helicopter that offered rides to see the installation, it’s a minimal form, linear and geometric, variously connecting the mainland to Monte Isola and Monte Isola to a smaller island next to it. It’s a surprise to see the structure from above, marking an orange track on the water. The crowds were barely visible from this distance.
Our friends told us there was an exhibition of Christo’s work in Brescia, so on our last day we went to it, struggling to find the Museo di Santa Giulia in the maze of the medieval part of town. Curated by Germano Celant, it is an extremely well-presented retrospective of Christo and Jean Claude’s work from early Dockside Packages in 1961 and a Wall of Oil Barrels: The Iron Curtain of 1961-62 through wrapping the coast of Australia, the Pont Neuf, the Reichstag, the gorgeous Surrounded Islands  and several lovely projects I had not known, to end with some lobbying for Over the River, the much contested endeavor to hang fabric over the Arkansas River in Colorado. The exhibition included very substantial drawings for each project as well as photographs of the completed work and models for some. The collages are monumental and beautifully drawn. Exhibition labels were very instructive and the catalogue is lovely and useful.

Drawings for Wrapped Coast, One Million Square Feet Little Bay, Sydney, Australia, 1968-1069

Since we returned home, I’ve learned a bit more. Reminded that some of the support for theproject came from the Beretta family, I see that the smaller island at the end of the extension from Monte Isola is owned by that family and a family mansion occupies it. Having seen the exhibition about Christo, with the early installations referring to the Iron Curtain and other political issues, I wonder if he purposely intended that visitors end their walking on water with thoughts about the wealth created by the manufacture of weapons for death. I can say I’ve been thinking about the beauty of the area, the pleasure of the crowds, our own odyssey to get there and the political ramifications of the work since we first arrived. 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Mexico beach


Troncones beach
In January we spent 10 days at our favorite Mexico beach. It's about 3 miles long, tan sand, constant surf - sometimes gentle, sometimes not - with some rocky areas that provide refuge for tiny fish, crabs, sea urchins and other life. Snowy egrets, whimbrels, sandpipers and yellowlegs forage along the shore. Royal terns, seagulls, magnificent frigate birds and brown pelicans coast by or dive for fish.
snowy egret
Each night volunteers roam the beach and collect turtle eggs, re-burying them in a protected area. In season, which is January, there is a baby turtle release on an evening each weekend. Visitors and locals at Roberto's Restaurant to watch the tiny creatures race to the water.

Baby turtle release
baby sea turtle

reaching the water
Across the recently-paved road the land rises to hills. One hike leads to a bat cave. On morning walks up the dirt road near our guesthouse we spotted many regional birds, including flycatchers, orioles, tanagers, golden-cheeked woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and a Mexican gray squirrel. Bats nest in the palm trees and in the eaves of our room. Lizards and iguanas occasionally turn up.
Troncones beach, house, hills
One day I counted 100 people on the beach. About 90 of them were gathered in the area fronting the small town; the other 10 were scattered across two miles of beach.

There are no high-rise hotels on this beach but there are several lovely small hotels, guests houses and houses for rent, all tucked into the vegetation and on or near the beach. The lovely place we stay, Casa de la Sirena (House of the Mermaid), has no restaurant, but each room has a full kitchen. And at least five breakfast places are a short walk, across the street or on the beach. The town has so many fine restaurants that we never get to them all in one stay. They offer excellent, fresh seafood, steaks, Mexican standards and some remarkable fusion dishes.
View from a Casa de la Sirena mini-villa
 Casa de la Sirena has five double rooms in two structures and a house with three double rooms. Most of the rooms have additional beds to accommodate families. Our room, called a mini-villa, has a king bedroom, nice bath, and large front room with kitchen and a full view of the ocean. Cooking onsite is encouraged, although we just kept a little fruit, coffee and tea and enjoyed the restaurants nearby. Supplies of fish, fruit and vegetables come by regularly in trucks and other food and drink acan be purchased in town. Casa de la Sirena has a lovely pool as well as palapas on the beach, so there's always somewhere to read, rest, walk, swim, and chat with the other visitors.
Cafe Pacifico, nice breakfast and other meals

View from Costa Brava restaurant
In town there are a couple of small shops, surf board rentals, kayak rentals, beachwear and crafts. Or you can just wait for the vendors to stop by. This time I got a colorful ceramic bowl, two baskets, and a silver ring from passing vendors. You can also schedule a horseback ride directly from guides on the beach, or through your hotel.
Orbe wrapping bacon around shrimp stuffed with cheese
Troncones downtown
This place is called Troncones; it's on the west coast of Mexico about a half hour from Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo.
Sunsets like this every day

After about three days we felt ready to explore.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Robert Zakanitch at the Nerman Museum, Overland Park, Kansas

When the Pattern and Decoration movement came into being in the late 1970s I was an enthusiastic follower of Robert Zakanitch, whose overall paintings of patterned flowers were simply beautiful. I lusted after his Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart poster but could never afford it (It appears to be available on Ebay for $32 now; I was just out of graduate school.) Pattern and Decoration lasted a very short time as a movement and I stopped seeing or hearing much of Zakanitch's work.Sometime in the early 2000s I was on an NEA panel and could not figure out why a young curator on the panel was so entranced with a new artist who was painting flowers all over the walls and floor of a room. At lunch I mentioned that I thought it looked like "Neo P&D" and she said "What's that?" so us geezers on the panel explained it. But that's how lost the movement had become.

So it was a surprise, in a way, to discover that the Nerman Museum at Johnson County Community College was announcing an exhibition of Zakanitch's work. The Nerman shows a lot of colorful, cheerful contemporary painting, and what I remembered of Zakanitch would fit well into that context. I wanted to see what has become of his work. Now I discover that of course he has been working and exhibiting all along, and much of the Nerman show was had been displayed recently at Nancy Hoffman Gallery in New York and Samuel Freeman Gallery in Los Angeles. The Nerman show included work from three series by Zakanitch. Unfortunately, photographs were not allowed but most if not all the images, and more, can be seen on the internet, if not to the full advantage of seeing them at scale. They do not have the same impact on the screen or the page, where both scale and texture are diminished.

The opening room had three of the five enormous paintings on unstretched canvas from his "Big Bungalow Suite." All five paintings are reproduced on his website, often with him standing next to them to indicate scale, since they are huge, 11 by 30 feet! They're quite a stretch from that Mostly Mozart poster, but very consistent with the architectural commissions he has done for curtains, wall decorations and flooring, specifically for the Miami Cultural Center's Ziff Opera House. The huge canvases are covered with repetitive flowers or ornamental objects, with other objects or images interjected. According to the label, they are recollections from his childhood in Rahway, New Jersey (where, by the way, my aunt and uncle and cousins lived), and objects from his grandmother's house. For me the most striking composition was a black and white pattern with flecks and splashes of orange, yellow, green and gold. On the left side is a huge staffordshire spaniel.

The second group is from a series called "A Garden of Ordinary Miracles," exhibited at Samuel Freeman Gallery in 2010 and joyously reviewed in the LA Times. These very large gouaches (opaque watercolor, for short) on double sheets of paper combine large bold imagined flower arrangements with small drawings of animals, birds and insects as sort of marginalia, sometimes with humorous inscriptions, like "I'm not late" above a white rabbit, or "madame bug" over a ladybug. The combination of fanciful flowers and quite accurate animals with fanciful inscriptions suggested to me that the works might have been meant to inspire children, or inspire childlike responses in adults.

The third group was five images from a series called Hanging Gardens, shown at Nancy Hoffman Gallery in 2013. I spent the most time with these works, especially the two paintings of wisteria. These are overall images of hanging lavender wisteria flowers below a cartouche drawn in graphite. At first the flowers look to be all the same, but the colors range from blue to pink through lavender , with bright green vertical stems and above a dark green background. The paint texture and colors are mesmerizing and one senses the artist's pleasure in creating this actually fairly complex floral image. The other three paintings are Blue Bottles, Snow White, and Fireglow all with similar variegations of color.

Writers about Zakanitch talk a lot about joy and beauty, of course. I also notice, though, that his paint texture is rich, his handling controlled but loose and free, and his floral and patterned images abstracted. I enjoy the idea of nature in his work and take pleasure in his process of transforming it into painting. What a delight to rediscover him. And I see online that he has a new show at Nancy Hoffman opening January 28!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Glasstress 2015 Gotika (2)

British artist Mat Collishaw's Jewel Slot Empire, 2015, completely engaged Tom, a cathedral model with images of slot machines glowing on all its walls. I suppose one could think of religion as a game of chance.















On Murano his work, titled A Different Self, is an elaborate oversized black Murano-glass-framed video of a slightly animated version of Georges de la Tour's famous painting of Mary Magdalen in front of a mirror with a skull on her lap and a candle on the table in front of her. Unfortunately it seems to be impossible to photograph this image without getting oneself in the picture too; maybe that's intentional. 
I was very struck by two cases of bizarre marionettes by the artist Wael Shawky, titled Cabaret Crusades, The Secrets of Karbalaa, 2014. Only when we returned home did I learn that  Shawky used these marionettes to make videos of conflict that were on view at the MOMA PS 1 in New York. They are bizarre and fascinating creatures, both human and animal. And to know that the artist used them to call attention to centuries of conflict connects them with both the Gothic theme and issues of life today.




A pair of extra long glass crutches hanging from on high by Turkish artist Erdag Aksal seemed quite decorative from a distance, but the title, Crescent Disabled, 2015, and the details of grenades etched into the glass clarified its, and his purpose. 

Another aspect of the Glasstress show is the fascinating venues. The Istituto Veneto is a gorgeous building and many of its rooms have significant Murano chandeliers. Petah Coyne took advantage of one to hang long strings of glass beads from it. On the table full of glass mirrors I found a few candles, referencing the wax I usually associate with her work.

Petah Coyne, Mirror, Mirror, 2015, detail
On Murano the rugged remains of a glass factory create a completely different environment, where Maria Grazia Rosin's strange green creatures, Gothik Mechanical Meateaters, 2015, seem right at home.

There are 53 artists represented in the two-part exhibition; I have learned about a few of them in writing this essay, and shared some images. But I haven't mentioned the inventor of the video game Syberia, Benoit Sokol and his glass mastodons, or Ernst Billgren's Duck Cathedral, or the Chapmans glass skulls, The Same but in Glass, or Karen van Mednelen's eerie Siren, 2015, made from glass and crowfeathers, or Hila Amram's Still Glass, 2015, antique glass with video projections. It's a very rich and varied exhibition, the work connected both by its medium and by its connection to the concept of the Gothic seen in the contemporary world.

Glasstress 2015 Gotika (1)

For the last four Venice Biennales we have made a point of visiting Glasstress, the exhibitions initiated by Adriano Berengo, with the purpose of consecrating "glass as a noble material, one of the most innovative in contemporary art," as Berengo states in the introduction to the exhibition brochure. Each exhibition focuses on artists not usually associated with glass, and often the artists are invited to make new objects using the facilities of Murano glass studios.

This Glasstress was possibly the best, and was also one of the very best things we saw in conjunction with the Biennale. The show is in two parts, one at the Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti in the Palazzo Franchetti, very near the Accademia Bridge on the San Marco side, and the other at the Fondazione Berengo on Murano.
Istituto staircase with Penny Byrne, Hurt Locker, 2015, at right
In this instance I would recommend the Istituto half much more enthusiastically than the Murano one, unless you really want to see the camel (Koen van Mechelen has participated in all the Glasstress exhibitions, with his ecologically based installations and objects, this time expanding from chickens to diversity in plants and animals.). Other times we have found the Murano section particularly engaging.

The Gothic theme was enhanced by loans of Gothic and neo-Gothic objects, most of them in glass, rock crystal and gold, from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, precious objects displayed in cases along the walls, but without identifying labels, as far as I could tell.

Glass and metal objects from the Hermitage, Glasstress
 I was drawn, and still am drawn, but a section of the introductory label, where curator Dimitri Ozerkov compares the "magic rituals" of contemporary daily routines - checking email, charging devices, deleting spam, online chatting, instagraming, tweeting, gaming and reading news online - to the laborious tasks of medieval monks copying manuscripts. He suggests that we see the internet as comparable to a medieval amulet to ward off evil. And with that he celebrates the craft involved in creating objects for this exhibition.

Glasstress has always involved contemporary artists not usually know for their work in glass. This year a few of those I know best are Tony Cragg, Olafur Eliasson, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Jaume Plensa, Petah Coyne, Qiu Zhijie, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Bernar Venet, Joana Vasconcelos, Mimmo Paladino, and Zhang Huan. But those by artists I did not know were at least equally engaging.

Although very few people read my blog, I find writing it a great learning opportunity. The Glasstress exhibition was fascinating in and of itself, but in order to write about the objects, I do a certain amount of research and am amazed at what I find about the artists whose work interests me, but who are unfamiliar. It's a great learning opportunity, and I try to share it through images and links. These artists are amazing.

"Gothic" suggests stained glass, and several works capitalized on that idea. At first I found Belgian artist Wim Delvoye's stained glass images of the muses Melpomene and Calliope, 2001/2, merely interesting. Then I looked closer and saw the x-ray images that make up the two figures, combining multiple body parts, chains, rings, keys and other elements. Calliope, on the right, is multiply bound, so that the windows call to mind political issues rather than religious contemplation. And I learned that Delvoye specializes in disturbing, challenging art.

Wim Delvoye, Melpomene, 2001/2, detail
 
In a similar vein, the lovely classical-looking chandelier by Chinese artist Song Dong turns out to be a bit less harmless. Titled Glass Big Brother, 2015, it is composed of glass surveillance cameras.

Song Dong, Glass Big Brother, 2015
American Bart Dorsa  (He has lived in Moscow for several years and his grandfather invented Eggo waffles.) showed fragmented hollow white sculptures of partial bodies in a totally darkened space. While I was not particularly engaged by his exhibition of photogaphs of a young woman named Katya as a collateral event of the 2013 Biennale, these glass sculptures were more evocative. In the label he associates them with a sculpture of Joan of Arc he discovered in Notre Dame in Paris.
Bart Dorsa, Relic Glass #1 and #2, detail

)More on next entry)

Sunday, 7 June 2015

A late spring day at the farm - Wednesday

For some reason today seemed like an especially characteristic day at the farm and I’m more aware than usual how different this is from the other places I’ve lived (suburban New Jersey, New York, New Haven, Austin, even Lawrence itself).  All the rain we've had has limited our ability to take care of the apple trees, especially clearing the grass away from them. I figured it was dry enough to weedwhack around 11 in the morning and I got about 20 trees done. It was cloudy and I did feel a few raindrops. Then I noticed that Thunder was hanging around, looking at me expectantly and it started to rain a little more. Thunder the dog is terrified of thunder and lightning, so I paid attention to his attention to me. In a pause of the weedwhacker ( which is very loud and I wear big ear plugs), I heard a bit of thunder, so we all three, Thunder, Rosie, and I, hurried toward the house. By the time we got there it was pouring.
 
This afternoon the new birdbath came. The old one has crumbled and is leaning against the side of the deck. The new one is colored glass on a metal stand and I like it a lot, but I’m afraid a good wind, or an eager raccoon, will topple it right over. So I’m figuring out ways to fix that.
 
After dinner, I suggested that we go out and check on the cherries, and Tom wanted me to take my pole saw and cut off some dead branches on the cherry tree. I did that, but a lot of the cherries were ripe, so we picked about 6 pounds of sour cherries, for jam and cobbler. I’ll need to be pitting them real soon. And there are hundreds of unripe and nearly ripe cherries. We also picked about 7 sweet cherries; that tree is new and taking a while to produce anything. But they are sweet cherries, which I love.
About four pounds of sour cherries
So for dessert I decided to have my ice cream on the deck. We sat out there and I was noticing how huge the sky is here and how the thin clouds are just calmly wafting by in it. But the hummingbirds were buzzing around and I realized that all three feeders were empty, so I had to make some nectar and fill the feeders. Earlier we saw a house finch feeding a juvenile house finch on the deck railing.
 

To end the day, I fed the dogs their treats just when the coyotes started to howl. I heard the high pitched ones coming from around the barn and the lower pitched, stronger ones, coming from just past the fence line of the back yard. They really seemed close, so maybe that’s why the raccoon doesn’t seem to have been around the past few days. They drive Rosie crazy with barking.

Since Wednesday we've picked, and I've pitted, enough cherries for four cobblers and made 5 jars of sour cherry jam. More to come. 

Sunday, 17 May 2015

At the Time of Klimt: The Vienna Secession

On the last of our days in Paris we finally went into Notre Dame, which we had been looking at from our hotel room window all week. And for the first time I got to see the tombs and the structure at St. Denis, which was actually a lot easier to get to than I had imagined.

After lunch we wandered back to the center of Paris and decided that we should go to the Pinacotheque de Paris (which I had never heard of) and see the new exhibition of Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession. Because we go to the Neue Galerie in New York quite often, we weren't really sure if we needed to bother with this exhibition, imagining that it might be similar to the offerings there. But it had some stunning objects and provided a broad view, sort of in vignettes, or aspects of both the politics and the art of early 20th-century Vienna.

The exhibition began with an orientation to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Vienna's position in Central Europe around the turn of the century as a cultural hub of great diversity. Portraits of the Emperor Franz Joseph as a rather simpering young man and a substantial old man spanned his extraordinarily long rule from 1848 to 1916. The exhibition also acknowledges that Paris was still an important venue for artists and many of the Viennese artists made a point of going there.

After a couple of informative galleries we were surprised and impressed to find Klimt's Beethoven Frieze, an amazing and beautiful work of 1901, made for the Vienna Secession building as part of a Gesamtkunstwerk celebrating Beethoven. The floating figures above completely white walls, followed by various figures either simply outlined or decked out in gold and elaborate patterns are spectacular. Seeing that frieze convinced us that we had made the right decision to see the exhibition.

The actual organization of the exhibition, each room representing a theme, was ultimately not completely coherent, since the themes varied from historical context to subject matter to the various media of Secession artists, and I'm not sure we came away with a better understanding of the work of this group of artists, although we certainly saw work by unfamiliar painters who were active at the time. I was not convinced that two rooms representing the "Femme Fatale" and the "Femme Fragile," for example, really made the point they intended.

On the other hand, Klimt's paintings of Salome and Judith are captivating, gorgeous in their gold and patterning and a bit scary in the seductive expression of Judith and the clawlike hands of Salome. I went back to that room a couple of times. While I usually think of Klimt as an artist of geometric patterns and gold leaf, these paintings and others of people had the power to frighten in a very personal way.

A room of portraits provided the best sense of the breadth of Klimt's ability. A female portrait of 1894 could have been any society portrait, a standing woman turned with her face in profile, wearing a fashionable dress and with delicately modeled features and a calm expression.  Head of a Young Woman, 1898, is a soft-focus image of only a face against a black background, staring directly at the viewer with a disconcerting intensity.

The exhibition includes architecture, sculpture, furniture and painting by other members of the Secession, including Kolomon Moser, Carl Moll, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele, Michael Powolny, Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos and many others whose works all merited attention. But the star of the show was definitely Klimt.