Thursday, April 25, 2013

Helmut Newton Followed by A Meztelen Férfi - The Naked Man

Last Saturday and Sunday were our culture days. Leaving all things technological at home, including smartphones, Ron and I spent a few hours on each day at these museums.

Saturday was the Museum of Fine Arts to see their temporary exhibition on Helmut Newton. Newton is a world famous photographer or for Hungarians \fə-ˈtä-grə-fər\, not PHOTO-grapher. Each of us has free access to the museum, which is quite relaxing allowing us to not feel pressured to see the permanent collections. We can return as often as we wish to take in what we may have missed previously. Even without their spectacular collections from different countries and periods, the architecture alone is gorgeous and worthy of a visit for this reason only.

Newton is considered one of the world’s most illustrious figures in the field of fashion and advertising photography. This particular show consisted of 250 shots accumulated from what is considered his most inspired period of work.

“These selected works provide an offer a look into his most important periods through three of his key albums. Private Property contains forty-five photographs from Newton’s best fashion, portrait and nude shots from 1972 to 1983. Newton published his provocative nudes between 1985 and 1995, among others in his own periodical, the four-volume Helmut Newton’s Illustrated. The fashion and advertising photos taken between 1983 and 2003 for the major fashion labels…”

It makes me wish I were a fraction as gifted a photographer as he was, though photographing fashion would not be my thing.

Museum of Fine Arts
Dózsa György út 41
This exhibit continues until July 14, 2013.

At the Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, there was this disclaimer. “Some of the works of art may be of a sexually explicit nature, parental guidance is advised.” Considering some of the movie and other advertisements I have seen in metro stations and on the streets, this truly gave me a chuckle.

With female nude exhibits having been shown ad nauseum in various world museums, they have finally approached the male nude exhibit. In cooperation with the LENTOS Kunstmuseum of Linz, Austria, they have collated this show with over 300 pieces of artwork glorifying the male nude.

As the discourse along the wall informs the patrons, the portrayal of naked males became non-existent after the Classical Antiquity period. During this time, the nude male had to be portrayed as a mythological figure or a Christian scapegoat. As it was also explained, it was only in the last few decades that female art students were allowed to see nude male models.

Starting with Viennese works dating to 1900, the art pieces displayed exemplify artists who were brave enough to divest from the cultural norms in order to expand their artistic expression. What one encounters as you progress from one era to the next is what starts with artist self-doubt and self as model, continuing on to experimentation leading to full-blown confidence accompanied by power.

”For modern artists, the naked male body divested of every role became bearer of self-revelation, self-recognition and renewal. From this point on, the exhibition follows the male nude through the history of the 20th and 21st centuries, through crises of identity and phases of sovereignty, the questioning of traditional male role models, the search for alternatives, the face up to weakness and vulnerability, the gaze of desire and the erotic pose.”

Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art
Komor Marcell u. 1
This exhibit continues until June 30, 2013.

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