Monday, July 25, 2005

Beyond the Frame

Incredibly cool sculpture exhibit at the Nassau County Museum of Art, featuring the works of J. Seward Johnson, Jr titled Beyond the Frame: Impressionism Revisited.

What the artist did was take numerous famous impressionist paintings -- by Monet, Van Gogh, Renoir, Rousseau, Manet -- and recreate them as life-size sculptures. The really cool part -- you can interact with them -- indeed, you are encouraged "walk into" them and touch.

Here are a few samples:

Vincent Van Gogh's The Bedroom
click for larger photos

Vg_1798


Vg1800


Henri Rousseau's The Dream
click for larger photos

R_1834


R_1843

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Many of the sculptures are cctv-ed into screens mounted on walls and framed. So what looks like a painting mounted on a wall suddenly has people walking in and out of them . . .

Frame_

 

Other famous "walk-in" paintings include Manet's Olympia, and La Japonaise, Gustave Caillebotte's Paris Street; Rainy Day, and Renoir's Whispering Close, and Luncheon of the Boating Party.

The type of model casting used by the artist, J. Seward Johnson, was considered a lost art. Johnson (one of the disinherited J&J heirs) has made a career of resurrecting it; Most of these sculptures are constructed in several steps before being cast in Aluminum:

Art_1857

Art_1858


He founded the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture, an educational, non-profit art casting and fabrication facility, in 1974.

Way more fun than you typically expect at an Art Museum . . .

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I ran off 100 digital snaps -- if readers want, I can post other sculptures of the show -- but the 2 above were the most recognizable to the casual art patron.

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UPDATE July 30, 2005 8:20 am

Int he comments, IDJ informs us that the Washington Post's art critic called this show "This is the worst museum exhibition I've ever seen."  And that may very well have been his experience -- but mine was that this was a whole lot of fun -- more fun than most people typically have in a museum.

If you have young kids, and you know how bored they can being dragged around a stuffy ole museum -- this is a terrific way to introduce them to art. Especially if you show them the paintings (in a book) before hand, and then let them run loose through each painting . . .

Posted at 06:43 AM in Art & Design | Permalink

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» Daily Click 07.28.05 from My Aim Is True
Vermeer, Hogarth, etc. help the NYPD solve crimes. An artist recreates a bunch of impressionist paintings as sculptures you can walk around in. I totally love David Sedaris. New column in the New Yorker. I’m not sure what cholesterol... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 28, 2005 4:40:42 PM

» Breaching the Fourth Wall from Gridskipper
From Jason Kottke: This involves a little drive (an hour or less) out to Long Island's Roslyn Harbor, but this exhibit at the Nassau County Museum of Art is worth mentioning. "Beyond the Frame" is artist J. Seward Johnson, Jr.'s... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 29, 2005 10:12:19 AM

» Breaching the Fourth Wall from Gridskipper
From Jason Kottke: This involves a little drive (an hour or less) out to Long Island's Roslyn Harbor, but this exhibit at the Nassau County Museum of Art is worth mentioning. "Beyond the Frame" is artist J. Seward Johnson, Jr.'s... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 29, 2005 12:52:52 PM

» Beyond the Frame: Walk-in Art from Needcoffee.com
Okay, now this is cool. J. Seward Johnson, Jr has created life-size walk-in sculpture versions of Impressionist paintings, and viewers are encouraged to stop by and put themselves in the "pictures." Sweet. Currently on display at the Nassau Coun... [Read More]

Tracked on Jul 29, 2005 11:15:41 PM

» Breaching the Fourth Wall from Gridskipper
From Jason Kottke: This involves a little drive (an hour or less) out to Long Island's Roslyn Harbor, but this exhibit at the Nassau County Museum of Art is worth mentioning. "Beyond the Frame" is artist J. Seward Johnson, Jr.'s... [Read More]

Tracked on Mar 24, 2006 4:40:54 PM

Comments

Wow, those really are awesome. I'd love to see more.

This is my first time to your site, and I love your graphics.

Posted by: petitchou | Jul 28, 2005 3:30:09 PM

"The type of model casting used by the artist, J. Seward Johnson, was considered a lost art."

The type of bronze casting that was done is a process known as the "lost wax" process. The process has never been misplaced or something -- it's just named the "lost wax" process. It has been around for eons, and it gets that name because (typically) the wax is lost during part of the process called burnout. Specifically, this artist used a "ceramic shell" process first developed in the 1960s. I've done dozens of such castings myself. The white stuff in that last photo is ceramic. If by "model casting" you mean life casting (the process of making a cast from a mold taken from a living person), then I'm not sure what process you're getting at. Techniques for this have been around for quite some time, but never lost.

This is a truly amazing exhibition, and I wish that I had the opportunity to attend.

Posted by: Ron | Jul 28, 2005 9:25:28 PM

Post more, this is awesome. I have to schedule some time to go see the museum.

Posted by: ThePef | Jul 29, 2005 7:42:40 AM

Very cool. This is like the virtual rooms created in Richard Powers' excellent novel _Plowing the Dark_, in which a character creates both these rooms.

Posted by: Andrew | Jul 29, 2005 9:34:43 AM

Please post more! Those are amazing. I hope it becomes a travelling exhibit so I have a chance to see it...

Posted by: AMG | Jul 29, 2005 12:19:35 PM

Heh, this is the same exhibit that the Washington Post's art critic called "the worst art exhibit I've ever seen."

Posted by: ldj | Jul 29, 2005 11:09:39 PM

J. Seward has a restaurant in Hamilton, NJ called Rats (from Wind in the Willows) that features some of the same works located throughout the grounds. Might be closer for some to visit!

Posted by: Barbara | Aug 3, 2005 3:22:34 PM

My mom and I saw the exhibit today. It was the last day of the show at Nassau County Museum of Art. Didn't know much about it so I did not take my camera thinking I would be told to put it away like when I walk through other exhibits. I'm very sorry I did not take it since a phone camera did not do it justice. My mom and I had an extrordinary experience. French Impressionist art is our favorite and viewing Johnson's works made us feel like we stepped into this time period and felt like we were a part of it all. Thank you J. Seward Johnson Jr for making this day an exciting and virtual experience. It was so true to life as the artists portrayed it. Thank you again. Leigh and Paula

Posted by: Leigh | Aug 7, 2005 8:58:15 PM

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