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A Day at the Museum
A bit of creative recharging.
I’ve been working nonstop the past couple weeks with WWE and Fanatics on the WWE Shop project. Like, A LOT of work is happening but nothing to show or formally announce yet. I also just finished a non-wrestling painting that is deeply personal and the most powerful thing I’ve made but it’s too early to show it yet.
So. What do we talk about instead?
Thursday was Katy’s birthday so yesterday we spent the day at the Nelson-Atkins Museum here in Kansas City and I’d like to share then pieces I saw there that meant a lot to me:
This is an original Michaelangelo. Yeah. It’s one of, if not THE prize piece in the Nelson’s collection. To stand and observe such a painting in person is incredible. Cowabunga, dude.
CORRECTION: This is a Caravaggio, who is definitely not a ninja turtle. Pretty embarrassing. I’d like to say that Lord Krang hacked me, but no, that was all me. Sorry!
I spent a while studying this portrait by Nicolas de Lagilliere. What struck me was how masterfully he was conscious of the edges in this. Look at how the armor on his right arm has such a defined edge, but his hair and the material draping off the left arm are more ethereal and blend slightly into the background. It’s something I’ve been trying to be more conscious of in my own work and it’s cool to study it here.
This is a painting from the 1700’s of a cat with some dead fish. Damn right.
Sometimes at the Nelson-Atkins you come around a corner and you’re looking at an original Vincent Van Gogh painting. It’s so fun hearing people walking by saying, “Wait, is that…?” and then seeing their faces when they realize what’s happening.
This is ‘Masks’ by Emil Nolde, a painting they’ve had in their collection as long as I’ve been around and I always make a point to see it. It was declared to be ‘degenerate’ art by Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels and they confiscated the painting so that it would no longer “insult German feeling”. This was one of thousands of works to be confiscated by the Nazis to protect their people from degenerate thoughts.
Sounds familiar nowadays, huh?
This statue of Kali has fascinated me since I was a little kid. It’s so elegant and terrifying and everything the God of Destruction should be. The museum’s South Asian collection has grown quite a bit and the room this statue is in now is a stunning experience. I enjoyed people walking in the room and whispering out a “Wow” when the magnitude of what they were seeing sunk in.
The museum has a recreation of a Buddhist temple in it that’s one of the real crown jewels of its collection. They went to the lengths of getting as subdued of light as possible to match what is traditional for a temple, which would only have candles or oil lamps inside and otherwise the natural light which seeps in. It’s not uncommon to see people cover their mouths and gasp when they walk in, not expecting such a moment of pure beauty.
Yeah, that’s an original Andy Warhol painting. It was a private commission of Marion Bloch, who with her husband Henry the museum’s recent Bloch Building addition is named after. As an artist, when you make a private commission you know that it means a lot to your client but you don’t expect much of it once you’re done beyond the payment.
But sometimes it ends up in an addition to a world-class museum named after the client.
The Bloch building has a wonderful collection of modern and contemporary American art, including this beauty by Amy Sherald. You may recognize her work from the iconic portrait of Michelle Obama she made for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, but regardless of that she’s a powerful artist whose minimalism hides powerful emotions.
Speaking of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the Obamas, the Nelson-Atkins also has this incredible painting by Kehinde Wiley who did Barack’s piece. Wiley’s work is a powerful juxtaposition of floral elements and modern black people recreating classical paintings, placing them in places of power. This specific piece, ‘Saint Adrian’, is based on a 16th century Hans Holbein painting and like the original, the subject is holding a sword and anvil to portray power and heroism.
We had such a wonderful day, walking around for about five hours taking it all in and letting the beauty wash over us and flow into our creative inspiration. It fueled me up, especially for the big non-wrestling private series I’m developing right now. I think in about a year you’ll be able to look back and say, yeah, that’s where all of this came out of.
If there’s a museum near you, maybe make a plan to go soon. It’s a good thing to go look at some art.
Love you more,