Phillips after 5- White Party and Richard Pousette-Dart

Richard Pousette-Dart, White Cosmos, 1950-1951

Last night I attended my first Phillips After 5 event. This particular evening was themed a “white party” ( a joint venture with The Pinkline Project ) in honor of the special exhibition currently on display at the Phillips.  The exhibition features paintings by Richard Pousette-Dart that are primarily white.  It seems that these particular paintings were created during a time when the artist was unable to purchase a variety of paints and turned, instead, to utilizing the white spaces of canvases and white paint.  Even after he continued to return to the white paintings explaining that “White, is something you endlessly return to.”

I arrived at the Phillips around 6:30 using my newly purchased membership to enter the event for free.  I was meeting up with some people so I went to go find them, first heading out to the sculpture garden where drinks and food was being served.  I was impressed by the level of all white attire that was there.  I don’t own anything completely white so I was in a white dress with black polka dots (polka dots quickly becoming a staple in my wardrobe).  I found a few of my folks and we caught up on all the summer adventures we had been on.  After a drink we headed up to the third floor to see the exhibition.

It’s a little confusing at first, I will say.  The first 2 rooms of the exhibition feature contemporaries of Pousette-Dart, including Jackson Pollock.  But the paintings were not “white” per-say.  They had white-ish elements to them, and were fantastic pieces, but I was trying to figure out exactly where the white party made it’s connection to the exhibition.  As I moved through the first few rooms into the larger of the 3rd floor gallery rooms, I finally came upon the Pousette-Dart pieces, and yes they were white.  Though not completely each had blue and brownish hues that created the shapes and images within the pieces.  The organic shapes and almost human like figures were common throughout the pieces.  Walking through the two rooms exclusively Pousette-Dart created a very ephemeral and light air.  I felt an instant soothing emotion as I walked through these rooms.  Maybe this is because recently I have found light and almost dream-like things interesting and intriguing, but I like to think that it was the paintings themselves that exuded these feelings.

Variations and Improvisations and Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings

Along with the exhibition the event hosted cuban-esque dancers all dressed in white.  This performance art was located on the second floor in intervals.

There was also, though I didn’t get a chance to see it, an interactive exhibit if you will.  The Phillips had projected one of it’s permanent collection pieces Renoir’s The Luncheon of the Boating Party to which patrons could, upon arrival, insert speech bubbles of what the boat goers were saying.  From what I hear some of the comments were very funny.

Pousette-Dart: Predominantly White Paintings will be on display until September 12, 2010.  If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet I would recommend it.  I know when I heard someone say the exhibition was predominantly white paintings I was a little apprehensive about whether or not I would enjoy it, I mean what does a “white” painting mean anyway right?! But it was absolutely worth the trip!


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