At the Museum

Two Hearts by Jim Dine

I love Jim Dine’s work even though I am not very “good” at contemporary art. I am a volunteer guide at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. This piece is one of my favorites. It was absent from its place here at the main door of the Museum where it has welcomed so many visitors. After several months it has finally returned just in time to acquire a mantle of wet snow.

Today I led a “ welcome tour” for a group of new members. It had been several years since I had conducted a tour like that so I was a little worried about the timing. The idea is to fix a sort of road map of the various collections in the museum complex, to make the visitors feel welcome in the museum community and show off a few star pieces. The tour lasts 90 minutes and there’s no dilly dallying since we have to visit four separate buildings and drop in on the Art Hive where visitors can potentially make their own art.

High Summer by Hans Hofmann

Another of my few favorites in abstract art. Hofmann, who came to the USA in the 1930’s was perhaps the most influential teacher of postwar American artists. This week I have three tours of contemporary art with college and university students. I still have plenty of studying to do but it is becoming less of a “ challenge” and more of a joy. What is always a joy is the interaction with the visitors.

Time to get more comfortable with contemporary I guess.

Public sculpture



In winter I was posting a little about graffiti. There are some great examples here in Montreal but over the past week or so, I’ve been surprised by the great public sculpture around town. Here are two pretty classic examples. The beautiful copy of the winged victory of Samothrace was a total surprise. Montreal’s long summer construction projects forced me to take an unusual shortcut down a very beautiful little street close to Tupper St. ( the old Montreal Children’s’ Hospital area). As you can see they have a more mysterious and obscure figure peering over the upstairs balcony. Can’t tell you who this is.

The more flashy Pinoccio and Venus de Milo homage is a little one. (yes his work can be B I. G ) by Jim Dine. This was outside a gallery on Greene Avenue and I think I’ve seen other works by this artist here before. OK, if you don’t know this guy, just google him. You can see a You Tube interview that is so facinating. He is a painter, sculptor, poet, decorator and such an unpretentious and sincere soul. I really got that impression,when I heard him speak. If you want to see more of his work, our museum has quite a few pieces including a painting. Pinoccio is such an important theme for him. Scratch your head if you will but…don’t forget, Pinoccio was just a piece of wood before he ran away, hurt his father, fell in with bad company and finally got enlightened. Hmm sounds like the journey many of us make towards being a grown up, no? Well worth exploring, Jim Dine.


missed yesterday


And that is OK.  I had a hard time entering the blog the day before.  It’s a bit frustrating to have an idea and to have to wrestle to get it out.  Studying today for a tour in Contemporary Art this afternoon at the Museum.  I am going to look at two works by Jim Dine and one by Frank Stella and some other stuff.  It is a bit daunting as this is not really my big area of interest or study but . . .  that means I have to learn and that is good.  I love Jim Dine and urge anyone interested in learning about this giant of modern art to look at some interviews on You Tube.  He is very personable and articulate and awe inspiring in output and variety of what he does:  painting, sculpture, print-making, poetry, performance art, whole decors for rooms.  He is just wonderful.  What I like is that he takes ordinary articles or stuff we see around us all the time and works and reworks them – like the hearts you see above or bathrobes or tools or Pinocchio.  Love the guy.  Also a little glimpse into the work of the great creator at the bottom of the page.  Have a soft day out there.