That old radical Matisse

There’s happy news for those in, and about to visit, New York. The Matisse show at MoMA, Matisse: Radical Invention, doesn’t close until October 11th, so there’s still time to catch it. And catch it you should. You’ll need a timed ticket to get it because, as with all blockbuster shows, it’s packed. [Guess what recent blockbuster show at MoMA was one of best-attended EVER? Ready for this? The Tim Burton retrospective!] The whole timed ticket thing is a bit of a pain in the ass, but it doesn’t cost any extra and you won’t get in without it.

Boy, I love Matisse. He’s the anti-Renoir. I can’t stand Auguste Renoir, with his pastelly, soft focus greeting card art. But Matisse is the guts, man. This show is the proof. These painting were executed mid-career and don’t fit into neat categories. It was a period of experimentation for Matisse. They are some of his more abstract works.

I love this painting. The Italian Woman. Look at those fantastic angles on the left side of the canvas. Mama mia!


This painting is as creepy as anything that was in the Burton show. His eyes are black and hollow. They follow you around the gallery and know what’s in your demented little soul. Easily, the best work in the show.


Matisse at play: On the left, a table, a bowl and some apples, quickly sketched and rendered. The table and background are given a radical treatment. Remember, folks, this is around 1914! Hanging next to this is the same table, bowl and apples. This time, however, a slower, more thoughtful rendition.


The Moroccans. Matisse considered this work to be one of his most “pivotal.” I thought they were men bowed in prayer. They’re melons! I don’t know shit from shinola.


MoMA has early morning viewing hours for members before the museum opens, Wednesdays–Mondays, 9:30–10:30 a.m. You can buy breakfast with mimosas and there ain’t no crowds. If you’re in my zip code, contact me and I’ll get us in.

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Here are a few bonus paintings from MoMA for those of you who hung in through the entire post.

Gauguin’s playful Still Life with Three Puppies.


Vinnie van G.’s Starry Night. There’s always a big crowd around this painting. Do you know why? Because it’s a really moving piece of art. And, unlike the Mona Lisa, when you see this in person for the fist time, you’re not disappointed.