February 13, 2011

Art Review: Kalischer at Colby: Not to be missed

By DANIEL KANY

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Alex Katz, “Subway Series,” c. 1944–49, pen and ink on paper, 47⁄8 by 77⁄8 inches.

Colby College Museum of Art. Gift of the artist

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Clemens Kalischer, untitled, from the “Displaced Persons” series, 1947–48.

Colby College Museum of Art. The Lunder Collection. Image courtesy of the artist

Additional Photos Below

ART REVIEW

"CLEMENS KALISCHER: DISPLACED PERSONS" and "ALEX KATZ: DRAWINGS"

WHERE: Colby College Museum of Art, 5600 Mayflower Hill, Waterville

WHEN: Through June 12

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday

ADMISSION: Free

INFO: 859-5600; www.colby.edu/museum

WHAT ELSE: Kalischer will give an artist talk at 7 p.m. April 20 at the museum.

In another part of the museum is an exhibition of drawings by Alex Katz that includes eight sketches that Katz (who is also Jewish) did on the New York City subways during the same years Kalischer was photographing the refugees.

I am intrigued by one in which a lady wearing a fox fur stands while a man in a fedora hat and a self-involved youth sit in front of her. (I thought those were the good ol' days when men would offer their seats to a woman).

These really were the same people (probably not literally) that Kalischer depicted in his photographs, but Katz's loose (and probably train-jostled) hand has a surprisingly contemporary feel. These aren't particularly strong drawings, but with Kalischer in mind, they are surprisingly effervescent.

Katz's apparent psychological disengagement from his subjects in the pencil drawings he made in the 1980s is in striking contrast to Kalischer's warmth. But maybe what Katz has denied is not psychology but mood.

Katz's pictures reject nostalgia for the broader perception of life in the here and now. Their faces might be cool, but their gnarled hands embrace the continuum of humanity rather than any fleeting moment.

Katz's drawings are a bright spot in Colby's 10 current shows, but the Kalischer is not to be missed. 

Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:

dankany@gmail.com

 

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Clemens Kalischer, untitled, from the “Displaced Persons” series, 1947–48. Gelatin silver print, 11 by 14 inches.

Colby College Museum of Art. The Lunder Collection. Image courtesy of the artist

  


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