Thursday, November 8, 2012

Iconic ‘The Scream’ revisited

Edvard Munch’s iconic ‘The Scream’ (1895), among the most celebrated and recognized images in art history, is on view at The Museum of Modern Art for a period of six months.

The work has been installed in the Museum’s Painting and Sculpture Galleries, along with a selection of prints by Munch drawn from the Museum's extensive collection of his work. Of the four versions of the painting made by the artist between 1893 and 1910, this pastel-on-board from 1895 is the only one remaining in private hands; the three other versions are in the collections of museums in Norway. ‘The Scream’ is being lent by a private collector.

"The startling power of Munch's original work endures almost despite the image's present-day ubiquity," notes Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, who is organizing the installation. "The visual subtlety and complexity of this composition can't be summed up in a cliché."

A haunting rendition of a hairless figure on a bridge under a yellow-orange sky, The Scream has captured the popular imagination since the time of its making. The image was originally conceived by Munch as part of his epic Frieze of Life series, which explored the progression of modern life by focusing on the themes of love, angst, and death.

Especially concerned with the expressive representation of emotions and personal relationships, Munch was associated with the international development of Symbolism during the 1890s and recognized as a precursor of 20th-century Expressionism. The event is organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture.

In a simultaneous event, contemporary art collides with the modern canon. Eleven emerging artists ‘intervene’ at MoMA, engaging with the Museum's collection in new and unexpected ways. Guests encounter a live restaging of Pablo Picasso’s iconic Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), amateur dream interpretations in the Surrealism gallery, a ’Lookbook’ tour of the collection based on artists’ personal styles (complete with giveaway trading cards), and more.

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