One of my school’s favorite haunts was the old Ayala Museum, which had a permanent exhibit about Philippine history (loved the dioramas!). During my university Spanish class our professor required us to visit the Metropolitan Museum, which had an exhibit on Spanish artifacts found in the Philippines.
At the Met Gala 2013, I encountered a different Metropolitan Museum. It was the launch of their new exhibit on contemporary Filipino art. Thanks to Nuffnang for extending Cristalle Belo’s invitation to us bloggers.
I arrived and was greeted by mimes at the door. A few minutes later, a performance art showcase commenced with costumed men and women prowling the halls dancing and showing different emotions. Against a wall several canvases leaned awaiting the expert hand of an artist who would execute a painting on the spot.
And that was all just on the ground floor. As I entered the exhibit proper on the second floor, down below self-proclaimed party meistervTim Yap enjoined the gala attendees to gather for cocktails. I continued to walk through the sections of the exhibit.I don’t particularly consider myself art literate, so I enjoy artwork for the emotions and thoughts they provoke, and the craftsmanship shown. What surprised me is that had no clue Pinoys had been delivering performance art set pieces since the era of the film camera and even earlier, as shown by the archival clips played on several TV’s in the exhibit area. I loved being able to come close to a painting and examine the brushstrokes or the medium used. Some pieces re-purposed and transformed old mundane artifacts, like the newspaper pages above. This piece was one of the largest, and told a story both literally and figuratively. Literally it tells the history and future of the world. Figuratively it shows how we only see the world within the eras we live. (Well, that’s how I saw it.) Art being more than just paintings and scribbles on the wall, the exhibit had its share of sculpture. This one by Agnes Arellano was my favorite. Photographic prints were also displayed — but they weren’t your ordinary photos. Lyra Garcellano’s Yearbook series playfully showed the artist as different people in class photos. Pop art also features in the exhibit. Hooray for Pilipino Komiks, which was the predecessor of our current homegrown graphic novel crop. This piece by Mark Justiniani celebrates our jeepneys’ bold and colorful artwork. I’m not sure there’s anything else quite like that in the world.
Overall it was a visual feast w/ various “flavors” to try. I sped through the exhibit because of limited time but it might be much nicer to walk through it slower (and with a companion), discussing and savoring every bit.