Category Archives: Cleveland Museum of Art

New Triennial Offers Artists the Canvas of Ohio

An organizer of an international triennial of contemporary art sold more than 110 artists on the charms of Cleveland and the surrounding area.

‘Van Gogh Repetitions’ at the Phillips reviewed

In the art world, to repeat oneself is often synonymous with being washed up, recycling a few good ideas you had 20 or 30 years earlier and have now branded for popular success. Public art is often very repetitious, as is most commercial hackwork, pictures of cottages on flower-dappled shores with moon-kissed mountains in the background. The word “repetitions” in the title of a new van Gogh exhibition at the Phillips Collection means something very different and is not at all about exhausted inspiration or cynical marketing. Van Gogh’s repetitions were more akin to variations on a theme, in a musical sense, a process of reinterpretation, refinement and experimentation through which the artist explored new possibilities in a portrait of a friend, a picture of his bedroom or a scene of road workers toiling beneath thick, shady trees. The Phillips Collection exhibition began with the last of these three “repetitions,” two paintings van Gogh made in 1889: “The Road Menders,” owned by the collection, and “The Large Plane Trees,” owned by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The two works explore the same visual material, a line of venerable trees that seem to be pulling the earth upward with a combustible energy. Beneath them, dark-clad townspeople pass on their daily business while men labor at repairing a torn-up street.

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