Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I lost track of time in Copenhagen's State Museum of Art which consists of a huge old mansion joined through an artful light-drench glass addtion to a huge modern extension -- all on beautiful grounds -- and filled with art I had not experienced before. I spent about 20 minutes not even in the building taken with the towering bushes of peonies on the lawn. Georgia O'Keefe would have been in raptures. Inside I discovered Danish artist Michael Kvium (look him up on the Internet. He does these big weirdly arresting pieces on the human condition filled with naked, deformed, seemingly mentally retarded people. It would be hard for me to explain the allure.)

On TV screens you could watch bizarre performance art including an event famous in Denmark from May 29, 1969 when artist Lene Adler Petersen walked into and through Copenhagen's Stock Exchange absolutely naked carrying a cross. The Female Christ symbolizing the erotic and sacred united (or so the explanation goes) elicits shock, amazement, awe from the staid businessmen who nonetheless clear a path and let her through. This was, the gallery label said, "a chief work in Danish art." Finally I loved a statue called "The Shadow," by Niels Hansen Jacobsen that depicted Death as this stretched-out, Golum-like spirit creeping along the ground.

The most unique exhibit, however, pictured above, was on frames from the 14th to 21st century in Europe. My friend Barbara K. loves frames and has family pictures and art all over her house in every kind and color of frame so I was drawn to this "first of its kind in Denmark"display. I loved how the exhibit used frames around pictures and the rooms in which these framed pictures were hung as bigger frames. It reminded me of those Land O'Lakes butter boxes showing an Indian woman holding up a box of butter on which is another Indian woman holding up another box on which etc etc.

The catalog for the exhibit explains: "Frame is what concentrates the focus on something, shows it off and demarcates what has special value…" Frames over that time show this huge range allied with art, design, politics and social developments. They went from wood, gilt, and metal to no frame at all around the art of performers like Petersen.

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