We visited the Guggenheim on Sunday 21st, which is an interesting circular spiral “doughnut” building but they were preparing for a show and much of the building was under wraps including the view across the doughnut hole. So that was a bit disappointing although works in their permanent collection were impressive, including again some Kandinskys. We then visited the Frick Collection, displayed inside a nineteenth century mansion with many old masters but for me the highlight was an exhibition of Picasso drawings in the basement. We also visited an Asian art museum (Institute of Asian Art?) which had a compelling exhibition of the drawings of Rabindranath Tagore and some amazing robotic animated sculptures. However I don’t have anything to show you from this day because the places we visited did not permit photography (well, except for an image of Central Park that I’ll post later).
Next day, we decided to catch the Subway and head across the river to the Brooklyn Museum. I might add that there’s not a shred of artistic integrity in these images, for my part at least. Apart from a modicum of tonal optimisation in post-processing, you just point the camera and are left with a random abstraction that purports to depict a bite of what was there. But it’s not because a photograph has a reality of its own. So the only real purpose of posting this is to encourage people to go and see the real things, or perhaps as a miniscule level of compensation for those who can’t.
There are some interesting characteristics to the images. Given that everything to do with religion is literally true, as with everything on the internet, there must have been people wandering around with wings, perhaps postmen offering an early form of airmail. We’ll just have to wait for such a skeleton to be unearthed at an archaeological site. Given that the Jews were incarcerated in Babylon for a while, maybe this is where the idea of angels with wings came from.
Another feature is the way they are often holding something that looks like a pine cone as though they are about to pop it in a post box. There also appears to be a book written across each of the reliefs in cuneiform, probably dynastic propaganda.
Note too that they wear wrist watches on both wrists and in this case, around the head as well. Perhaps the Assyrians were forbears of the Swiss.
And here we have Mrs Hawke on a shopping trip with the characteristic purse and maybe a couple of daggers poking up above the clothes. An echo of Horus from ancient Egypt, perhaps?
There is an Assyrian community in Melbourne, Australia. It is remarkable that they have survived as an ethnic group after the passage of so many invading armies.
Mules I suspect above, since they look rather like horses. Impressively realistic. I seem to recall that this relief and the previous one come from Akhenaton’s period, which is therefore 1350-1334BC.
This ibis funerary urn is in gold leaf and silver and dates to 332-330BC, which places it at the beginning of the Macedonian period (just after the time of Alexander the Great).
There was also a rather nice botanic gardens to wander in, largely inspired by Japan.
And there were also a series of huge greenhouses that included some rather magnificent orchids.
23 October 2011.