In honor of Halloween, we scared up some spooky stuff for you to ponder from Crystal Bridges’ collection. Hope this doesn’t keep you up at night….
Evan Penny’s Old Self: Portrait of the Artist as He Will (Not) Be, Variation #2
This one was easy. There’s just something about this super-realistic oversized head that gives people the creeps. How’d you like to be the Security Guard who had to check this guy’s gallery after hours?
Roxy Paine’s Yield
Paine identifies this sculpture as a “dendroid”: something tree-like, but not necessarily a tree. It is beautiful in bright daylight, but spooky as all get-out under a stormy sky.
Marisol’s Portrait of Martha Graham
Marisol’s tribute to the great dancer and choreographer is distinctly disturbing with its rough-carved face and bound fingers. In fact, the work is meant to convey Graham’s steely gaze and professional toughness, despite the painful arthritis that plagued her as she grew older.
Danial Nord’s state of the art
What’s scarier than a beloved childhood icon gone wrong? This installation in the State of the Art exhibition is a bit overwhelming at first, and it takes a few minutes for your eyes to make sense of what is lying in the darkened room. The eerily chipper marshal music and disorienting lights can make you feel as if you’ve entered Mickey’s bad dream. Read an interview with Danial Nord here.
John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife
Sargent has captured the author in a thoughtful moment with an expression that seems to indicate a guilty conscience. Stevenson’s wife, draped in a gold-trimmed sari and positioned partly out of the frame, is creepy too. In fact, there’s a great corollary between this painting ahd Stevenson’s famous scary tale, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Read about it here.
Seriously. It may not look like much in this picture, but this spooky, gnarly, witchy-looking old tree on the Tulip Tree Trail looks like it was sent straight from Halloween Central Casting. I half expect it to reach out and grab me every time I have to walk past it.
George Wesley Bellows’s Return of the Useless
This wrenching image of emaciated and ill Belgian civilians returning from forced labor in boxcars is scary enough on its own. But is made more chilling when you realize it was painted in 1918, and depicts atrocities that occurred during World War I, not World War II. This grim image of soldiers herding humans out of boxcars foreshadows the horrible events of the Holocaust by more than 20 years.
The Ghost of the Nineteenth-Century Gallery
Last but not least, there’s the infamous Ghost of the Nineteenth-Century Gallery. If you stand in just the right position, looking at Geri Melchers’s The Embroideress through the Plexiglass vitrine that houses the bust of Anne Page, a ghostly face appears to be looking over the shoulder of the woman in the painting. In fact, it’s the reflection of Thomas Eakins’s portrait of The Art Student (James Wright) behind you. Or is it?
That’s it for now. Hope we didn’t scare you too badly. Happy Halloween.