Friday, October 3, 2008

Giorgio Morandi - For the Love of Ordinary

If you've seen drawings from my series "Things" you won't be surprised to know that I treasure the work of Giorgio Morandi, the subject of a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York (through December 14.) Morandi (1890-1964) was a very modest Italian artist who lived quietly in the Bologna apartment he shared with his sisters and almost never went anywhere. He painted bottles - that's it, bottles. Occasionally he added a pitcher or a jar, but mostly it was bottles. Not only that, his palette scarcely made it out of the neutral beige - brown-grey range; the work is the essence of subtle. His paint on the canvas is soft and juicy; it is his one concession to sensuality, but it is a good one and works beautifully. There is something about a Morandi painting that gets under your skin, something you can't explain in long words and high-sounding art talk. His work is the best argument I know for valuing the everyday, and for coming to the understanding that it isn't the subject that makes a great work of art, but the ability of the artist to connect to something deeply human. Don't try to make those bottles into anything they aren't - they're just bottles, but that's enough. Find more information about the Met Exhibit at