Just before Christmas I ran a Hundertwasser-themed workshop as a fundraiser for 101 Social Club. (If you are not familiar with Austrian artist, architect, environmentalist and cranky old hippy Friedensreich Hundertwasser, I have written about him quite a few times- you can find the entries here) People had food and drink, learnt about Hundertwasser’s work and philosophies, and did three different casual art activities- collaborative line making, resist painting, and creating architectural models of Hundertwasser-style buildings out of recycled materials. All while listening to the fine selection of Can, Neu, Fennesz, Cluster, Faust and other artists from the playlist below (I had it on shuffle on the night)
Benesse House on Naoshima doesn’t allow photos of their modern art collection, so here is a selection of works I like by some artists I saw there. I though the space of the museum was wonderful, but the fact that there was no information about the artworks was a letdown. If you didn’t know much about modern art already, you might not have got much out of the visit, which is a bad thing for a museum, seeing as one of the main reasons to go is to learn new things.
Basquiat was a rags-to-riches super-star in 80s New York, (including dating Madonna) until he sadly died of a heroin overdose. His paintings are definitely even better appreciated in real life than in photographs. They’re absolutely huge, and have all kinds of layers, different texture and hidden tiny images and texts hidden in them when seen in person.
Cy Twombly also makes huge canvases, but is instead the world’s premium scribbler. It’s definitely the kind of modern art that people scoff at and claim they could do themselves in five minutes (but never actually do). Some of his works are huge surfaces covered in hundreds of tiny scribbles, but the essential thing is that he makes exactly the right scribbles that are expressive but also somehow soothing to the eye, which is far harder than it looks.
Also on my to-do list was the Hundertwasser museum. If you’re not familiar with him he was an Austrian painter, architect, graphic designer, environmentalist and all round interesting eccentric.
Here’s the outside of the museum