Monday, June 4, 2012

Mall Walking - Joan Miro: The Ladder of Escape at the National Gallery

A few weekends ago I spent the day at the National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington DC.  I wanted to see the new Joan Miró exhibit that was organized by the Tate Modern in London and the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. (I'll refer to him as JM from now on, difficult to do the accent on my English keyboard). It is not a full retrospective of Miró's career, but takes a frequent image he used in his work that represented his own struggle to represent the turbulent times of his life, World War I, The Spanish Civil War, World War II, Franco, and the world of his imagination.

I was lucky enough to get to the museum just in time to join an excellent Gallery Talk at the exhibit. If you visit the NGA I would recommend going along for a Gallery Talk, it's free and given by one of the wonderful staff lecturers at the museum. I don't always view an exhibit this way, but when I do I always learn so much and enjoy the exhibit so much more than I would just going through the gallery on my own. 

The first room was one of my favorites of the exhibit. It has JM's early work and one of his most important paintings of this period, and one of my favorites, The Farm.

I also loved seeing a wall full of JM's most important and better known paintings known as the Constellations. This series of paintings started as an accident when he looked at a piece of paper he had used to clean his brushes and decided he liked the background effect. He then let it dry and painted over it. JM worked on this series from 1939-1941.

"The story that unfolds is a complex one. Was Miró an activist, a fantasist, or both? Did his art emerge despite or because of difficult times? Miró always kept a figurative "ladder of escape" – one of his favorite images – with him, and he would scale it to flee from harsh conditions into the freedom of his imagination. Yet his ladder was firmly planted on the ground, and he often climbed down to decry oppression. These two impulses, however different, were resolved in Miró's powerfully simple definition of an artist as "one who, amidst the silence of others, uses his voice to say something."
Quote from the NGA website,

This summer, if you're in the DC area or are in the area for a visit, don't miss this wonderful and comprehensive exhibit,on view through August 12, 2012.

Disclaimer: I'm not an art critic, but an eternal art history student and museum lover.


  1. Wow, you make it very tempting to take a field trip to Washington, DC to see Joan Miró's exhibit!

    1. Well worth it! Great Exhibit and lovely weather as well for a visit.


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