Saturday, August 15, 2009

Visit to SFMOMA

Katharina Fritsch, Baby with Poodles, 1995

The contemporary collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is so cutting edge and original it may have its New York sister named MOMA beat. The permanent collection not only holds iconic modern works such as a Jasper John's inspired McCarthy Era Flag (1958), and quite possibly, in this writer's opinion, the most striking Rothko ever produced (Untitled No. 14, 1960), but also leaves plenty of room for the unknown, emerging artists.

Katharina Fritsch, a native German, has several sculptures displayed throughout the museum each telling a modern Grimm's fairy-tale like story, being both disturbing and playful. Kind mit Pudeln (Baby with Poodles)(1995) shows 224 black painted poodles encircling, four rows deep, a baby lying center on a gold flattened star. It seems the poodles are preparing to pounce on the baby and yet they maintain a safe distance from the innocent child. The world to the child is large and dark, with little room to survive. And yet as vicious as the pups seem, they are also weak and easily manipulated. This is clearly a metaphor for a child’s innocence coming into the unknown world where “good” and "bad" can be seen in everything.

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