Messerschmidt and Modernity

Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Getty Research Institute, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Physiognomy, The Beautiful Pseudoscience

Untitled / Ken Gonzales-Day

What do the expressions “highbrow” and “lowbrow” have in common with saying a woman has “mousey” features? What does Homer Simpson have to do with photographs of sculpture in profile by contemporary artist Ken Gonzales-Day? All are contemporary manifestations of… More»

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Posted in Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Victims of Soicumstance: My Automatic Visual Reactions to Messerschmidt

Untitled (Big Man) / Ron Mueck

A room full of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s Character Heads—currently at the Getty Center as part of the exhibition Messerschmidt and Modernity—may be the best place in L.A. right now to observe neurobiological reactions to human expression. The heads are not… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Exhibitions and Installations, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

Curator’s Diary: Installing “Messerschmidt and Modernity”

Alabaster busts by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt in Messerschmidt and Modernity at the Getty Center

No amount of preparation over the life of an exhibition–from conception to development through implementation and finally installation–prepares you for the moments of surprise and delight as objects arrive from lenders and are uncrated and placed in the galleries. The… More»

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Posted in Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, Sculpture and Decorative Arts

In Search of Messerschmidt’s “Vexed Man”

The Vexed Man, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt, 1771–83. Alabaster, 16 9/16 in. high

New for summer 2012—The Vexed Man is back at the Getty, but he’s moved from his usual haunts for the exhibition Messerschmidt and Modernity, July 24–October 13, 2012. The show brings together several of Messerschmidt’s Character Heads, including the excellently… More»

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      Olympian Census #4: Aphrodite

      Get the stats on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) gods and goddesses on view at the Getty Center.

      Roman name: Venus

      Employment: Goddess of Love and Beauty

      Place of residence: Mount Olympus

      Parents: Born out of sea foam formed when Uranus’s castrated genitals were thrown into the ocean

      Marital status: Married to Hephaestus, the God of Blacksmiths, but had many lovers, both immortal and mortal

      Offspring: Aeneas, Cupid, Eros, Harmonia, Hermaphroditos, and more

      Symbol: Dove, swan, and roses

      Special talent: Being beautiful and sexy could never have been easier for this Greek goddess

      Highlights reel:

      • Zeus knew she was trouble when she walked in (Sorry, Taylor Swift) to Mount Olympus for the first time. So Zeus married Aphrodite to his son Hephaestus (Vulcan), forming the perfect “Beauty and the Beast” couple.
      • When Aphrodite and Persephone, the queen of the underworld, both fell in love with the beautiful mortal boy Adonis, Zeus gave Adonis the choice to live with one goddess for 1/3 of the year and the other for 2/3. Adonis chose to live with Aphrodite longer, only to die young.
      • Aphrodite offered Helen, the most beautiful mortal woman, to Paris, a Trojan prince, to win the Golden Apple from him over Hera and Athena. She just conveniently forgot the fact that Helen was already married. Oops. Hello, Trojan War!

      Olympian Census is a 12-part series profiling gods in art at the Getty Center.

      08/03/15

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