Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where In the World Is Mr. Hunter? - East Ninth Street Edition (The Answer)

Which museum was Mr. Hunter visiting when he stood before this lovely Abstract Expressionist painting?  Well, he wasn't on East Ninth Street, but the painting he was admiring is called East Ninth Street.  The piece is by Joan Mitchell, and you can see the entire work in all its glory if you go to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (LACMA).

Ten years ago, Mr. Hunter and family went to LACMA for the first time--to see a show about John Singer Sargent in Italy, actually--and it was in the permanent collections of LACMA that Mr. Hunter's caretaker discovered the seemingly endless pleasure of taking photographs of paintings and details of paintings.  There's a sort of conversation that takes place for me, a particular kind of deeper engagement as I zoom in on aspects of artworks that have spoken to me.

I have synesthesia, and one type of synesthesia that I experience makes it so that I hear what I see; the things I'm looking at create an experience of sound in some other dimension.  As I focus on different points in a painting, I've noticed that particularly pleasing compositions in my viewfinder will change the sounds of that painting for me, like an alignment or a kind of harmony.

In doing some research on Joan Mitchell and her painting, I've just learned that Mitchell also had synesthesia!  This WWD article by Lorna Koski recounts that "Mitchell was notably bright and shrewd and had the unusual quality of being a synesthete, someone for whom sounds, letters, numbers and personalities had colors, flavors and shapes."  I shall have to investigate further.  And this illustrates another of the pleasures of taking photographs of works of art: revisiting those photographs can lead you down new paths so that your experience of the paintings and sculptures broadens to include new stories.

I quite like this detail from East Ninth Street.

Stay tuned to see more photos from Mr. Hunter's LACMA explorations.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Los Angeles, California
March 2013


LACMA's page on East Ninth Street -

The Joan Mitchell Foundation -

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