“Making Marvels” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Metropolitan Museum’s current exhibition “Making Marvels: Science and Splendor at the courts of Europe” presents an amazing selection of treasures that reflect the cutting edge technology from 1550-1750. Just like today, back then, owning the newest tech most expensive gadgets was a sign of wealth and power. This concept was magnified in the 16th-18th centuries with the royal courts demanding the finest materials and the most gifted artisans to produce these tools and scientific renderings.

This 16th century instrument of the “Primum Mobile” created by Ignazio Dante using design by Petrus Apianus is the only one in existence. Named for the outer sphere in the incorrect geocentric model of the universe it was actually made as a tool for trigonometry to calculate sines and cosines.


King Henry II of France owned this Encryption Device made in 1550. Instead of using a fixed alphabetic translation this mechanism could use a series of separate transformations.


Geometry was a part of a royal education. The Platonic Solids were a popular subject. This German Writing and Reading Box from 1570 features perspective drawings created using inlays of wood, ivory and mother of pearl.


Wenzel Jamnitzer was renowned for his expertise in geometric prospective drawings. His 1568 book “Perspectiva Corporum Regularium” features his exquisite 2 dimensional representations of 3-D geometric models.

Susan Happersett

Happy Holidays!

New York sparkles with light displays this festive season.

The “Luminaries” art installation in the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place at the World Trade Center features a grid of glowing lanterns.

The curvilinear plane soars through the space following the path of the grand stairs.

Each of the lanterns are almost cubes. One of the vertical sides is slightly longer. This creates different shapes viewed from different angles.
The colors changed based on the music creating an exciting environment.

Wishing everyone Health, Happiness, and lots of Math Art in 2020,

Susan

Étienne Krähenbühl at Seizan Gallery

Seizan Gallery is currently presenting “Notre Terre / Our Earth” a solo exhibition of Étienne Krähenbühl’s prints and sculptures.

Krähenbühl creates sculptures using steel aluminum and nickel titanium that incorporate a subtle sense of movement and shadows.

“Au Gil de l’O” ( In the Flow) from 2018 consists of a series of Corten steel concentric circles suspended and slightly swinging on nickel titanium wires. In the gallery, lights are positioned to create a repetitive shadow on the floor. This creates an interesting ripple effect of intersecting circles.

“Bing Bang Bois I ( Bing Bang Wood I) “ from 2015 features burned oak rods suspended using aluminum and nickel titanium. Each blackened wood element moves independently to form a quivering sphere in space.

Susan Happersett

“Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style” at Walters Gallery in Baltimore

Today a guest blog entry from Elizabeth Whiteley:

 

If you find yourself in the Baltimore area, check out the current exhibit at the Walters Gallery. Titled “Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style” it’s a large show with works by the famed Scottish architect and other designers such as Christopher Dresser, Jessie M. King, Margaret Macdonald, and Talwin Morris. It will be on display until January 5, 2020.

The wall note for this textile design, ‘Wave Pattern in Purple, Pink, Orange, and Black’, ca. 1915-23, says “Mackintosh’s precise use of contrast and symmetry here created a brilliant optical illusion. He aligned the white, purple, and orange loops vertically against the penciled grid, but the wavy arcs of pink and black create strong diagonals that pull the eye away from the underlying structure of the pattern.”

This drawing is a lampshade design for the standard lamp, The Hill House, 1905. It shows an effective way to use bilateral symmetry on a lozenge shape.

The wall note for this chair (1904-5) says, “This chair, which Mackintosh designed for his own home, is a slightly taller version of one he first created to accompany a writing desk for The Hill House. At first glance, the chair seems rigidly angular, especially with the two columns of squares, yet Mackintosh always offset such severe geometries with a subtle softer curving line—here seen in the tall, gently concave back.

Elizabeth Whiteley

“Donald Judd and Kenneth Noland : Color and Form” at Mignoni

Mignoni Gallery on the Upper East side of Manhattan is currently presenting an exhibition that juxtaposes Donald Judd’s aluminum wall sculptures and Kennet Noland’s geometric striped canvases.

“Untitled (Bernstein 88-14)” red anodized aluminum from 1988 explores the concept of positive and negative space. The solid raised rectangular boxes go from large to small, from left to right. The empty spaces between go from small to large from left to right. Judd’s horizontal structure creates a sense of linear movement across the wall of the gallery.

Noland’s “Galore” from 1996 is also an horizontal construction. The long flattened diamond shaped canvas is painted with a series of colorful straight lines. But instead of going straight across the wall, they run parallel to the lower left and upper right sides of the rhombus. This angled formation leaves the viewer slightly unbalanced.

Susan Happersett

“Home Is A Foreign Place” at the MET Brauer

The Met Brauer is currently featuring work recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This section of Modern and Contemporary Art is from Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Shown along side work that has been in the collection for a longer time this exhibit shows how work from various parts of the globe have commonalities. Divided into thematic sections, two sections “Spatial Reiterations” and “Marks and Measures” present Mathematical content.

Kasuko Miyamoto’s “UNTITLED” installation conceived in 1977 uses string and nails to create a 3-D line drawing that maps two lines of points on the ground to grids on the wall.

In the section titled “Spatial Reiterations” This work explores the juxtaposition of line versus plane by mapping many points on the wall to each point on the floor.

Mark Bradford’s “Crack Between the Floorboards” from 2014 is located in the section titled “Marks and Measures”. Created using paper, paint and tape on canvas this work explores the patterns found within our living spaces. Featuring a strong diagonal line the square is divided with horizontal and vertical sets of parallel lines.

Susan Happersett

Manfred Mohr at Bitforms

This summer I had the privilege of seeing Manfred Mohr’s video “Cubic Limit” from 1973-1974. I was so happy to be able to see it again at Bitforms Gallery in NYC this Fall. The gallery is presenting “Manfred Mohr A Formal Language: Celebrating 50 Years of Artwork and Algorithms (1969-2019”. There is the full range of Mohr’s art on display including some more recent work.

The painting “P-511-0” from 1995-97. Is a static example of a algorithm based geometric work

The video “P-777_MA1” from 2002 is a dynamic colorful computer driven dance of geometry.

The exhibition has been extended until November 3rd

Susan Happersett

 

 

Alexander Calder at Pace Gallery

The art of constructing mobiles is a mathematical exercise. Creating a well balanced suspended sculpture requires the artist to calculate the appropriate distances for each of the weighted elements. “Calder Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere” is the inaugural exhibition at Pace’s new palatial gallery in Chelsea.

This “Untitled” Mobile from 1932 features four white spheres of various sizes and one tiny red sphere. The spheres are attached to ends of suspended rods.

For this Untitled Mobile from 1934 Calder seems to create an almost impossible equilibrium. The top rod has a single solid form suspended on the left and a second rod suspended on the right. From the second rod there two more suspended forms.

Susan Happersett

Richard Serra at Gagosian Chelsea

Richard Serra’s installation “Forged Rounds” is on display at Gagosian’s Chelsea location. I have always been a fan of Serra’s large scale work. Walking among the geometric architecture of his sculpture takes me to an otherworldly place. The juxtaposition of the pure shapes with the texture of the rusted metal becomes a form of meditation. “Forged Rounds” consists of three galleries inhabited with huge solid steel cylinders.

The heights of the cylinders and the dimensions of the circular bases are variable, offering a changing view throughout the space.

The monumental presence of each of these cylinders become solitary entities that interact with the other cylinders in the room.

Susan Happersett

Deborah Zlotsky at Kathryn Markel

Kathryn Markel gallery is currently featuring the “Now and later” , Deborah Zlotsky’s solo exhibition. The show features painting as well as tapestries made from vintage scarves. The textile work elevates the geometric patterns of these design into Art to be hung on a wall.

“For Sure 100%” from 2019 explores the use of squares, diagonals and right angles in 20th century design.

“A peculiar influence, subduing them into receptiveness”, 2019 draws its strength from the vertical parallel lines of the long rectangular scarf.

What I really like about these tapestries is they are highlighting geometry we see around us every day.

Susan Happersett