April 10, 2011

MoMA Art Communication

I don’t believe that you can really fall in love with an artist’s work before you see it within an arm’s reach. You might genuinely like an image, but you won’t get the real essence of what this piece of art is about until you find yourself standing in front of it, absorbing the whole spectrum of emotion. I can’t come up with a reasonable explanation for this process – and decide whether it’s your subconscious at work, bringing your dreams and fantasies to life; whether it is you absorbing the painting, or the painting absorbing you.

My personal relationship with Rothko's art began several years ago, when I saw one of his paintings in front of me. When we ended up in his gallery at the MoMA, we stayed there for a long time. It’s an incredible feeling, when you stand before his work for a while. You feel like touching it. It’s only your sense of personal safety stopping you from doing so – your hand is almost reaching for the colour, and you’re not sure which space or dimension you will end up in if you come in contact with it. (I also don’t recommend touching paintings for more practical reasons – in order to avoid the attention of the security staff.)

This is the great power of art. Our presence in front of it is rather secondary. Even the maker of the artwork – a painter, a sculptor, or a photographer, takes on the role of an instrument. Having made been created, the artwork acquires a life of its own. It can live without us, and its life is far beyond our will.


  1. I am totally moved by your post today, your photos. You've selected one of my very favorite artists - M. Rothko.

    When I first saw his paintings in person, years ago, I experienced what you are talking about -- the emotional connection and power of being there, in front of his work -- and this amazing connecting experience. Very powerful. I always seek out his work, whenever I travel. To be there, in front of his canvases, to experience that connection.

    Seeing your photos, the looks on those visitors faces -- you captured what they're experiencing. Olga, these are amazing photographs. And your post today has moved me, more than you know.

    You are amazing. Thank you so much.

  2. I love this post Olga. I would love to do the same at the Georgia O'Keeffe museum but they don't allow photos. The reactions to her paintings are priceless. I love your photo of the woman standing on one foot.

  3. Et l'oeuvre d'un artiste ne peut prendre vie que si elle est vue par un large public différent.
    Tes photos et commentaires sont très intéressants, Olga. Merci!

  4. Fantastic post Olga....Some great captures used here in order to demonstrate the full experience....


  5. Dear Olga
    I like your pictures. They are very beautiful. Your blog is very nice!
    Have a sunny week and greetings from Switzerland. Yvonne

  6. Sorry not my taste at all but I did enjoy seeing the expressions and poses of the people viewing. Diane

  7. Tu as raison Olga, l’on ne peut vraiment en relation avec une œuvre qu’en étant dans un face à face avec lui !…
    Il y a une corrélation, une connexion qui s’établie alors… l’ouvre devient sienne alors !
    C’est une expérience à chaque fois unique, les toiles nous parlent ou ne nous parlent pas, mais il y a une expérience unique alors entre Elle et Nous !…
    Ton reportage photo est tout à fait remarquable car il capture cet instant, marci de ce beau travail encore une fois.

  8. i love this expression of why we must stand in the presence of art to fully appreciate it. I do agree with you! Lovely photographs as always.

  9. The idea of ​​color, light and shape determine the nature of artistic expression is a manifestation of personality and feelings. From your photos is to know the relaxed atmosphere of the exhibition. Put yourself in the paintings. I continue, I visited the exhibition. A nice and successful week wishes Peter.

  10. You can shot the spectrum of emotion of these people who stayed astonished in front of the paintings.
    Kisses from Brazil

  11. Another brilliant post Olga and you expressed that emotional connection with art so well, when you stand in front of it and just feel the art. Sometimes, art has made me very teary with this feeling. Well done, I am so enjoying these posts.

  12. I freaking LOVE Rothko!! I have two giant prints of his work in my dining room area of my apartment. :) I really wish I could see an exhibit of his in a museum. Oh well, some day! xo

  13. A camera catches your imagination. No imagination, no photo...Maybe because it's entirely an artist's eye, patience and skill that makes an image and not his tools. Even Ansel said "The single most important component
    of a camera is the twelve inches behind it."

    FABULOUS photo's


  14. You are too good behind the camera! Don't tell me this thing about you just take pictures and so.

  15. This is truly a beautiful post with marvelous photography. I thoroughly enjoyed it !

  16. Taitavan taiteelisia otoksia taiteesta ja varsinkin taiteen ihailijoista.
    Väri-skaalat kuvissa tasaisen lämpimiä.
    Compositio on kuvaajalla hallussa.
    Näillä kuvilla - Olga - tuot taitelijan kaukaiselle katsojalle hyvin lähelle...
    Mainio kuva-kavalgaadi...

  17. Thanks for your comment on my blog.

    I liked to know your blog.

    I will follow.

    Rui Pires - OLHAR D'OURO - Portugal

  18. Bonita art communication input, nice colors and good light.
    Greetings .-

  19. I think that there would be no greater feeling in the world to have someone look at something I would draw and find themselves stopped in mid-thought and be immersed in my work. A great day indeed.
    good post.

  20. Olga, I LOVED this, because I too am a big fan of Rothko. I first fell in love with his art about seven years ago now, after sitting and staring at his 'Four Seasons' in the Tate Modern. It was... amazing.

  21. That is a wonderful post full of art and life. I like that you took the people there in a variety of way – it gives more life to your post. I am still shy about taking people I don’t know personally but I am working on it as it really “places” what you are trying to show. Unfortunately in Atlanta we only have one large museum. In an area of more than 5.5 million people this is sad – but politics are very conservative here and art does not have a large place unfortunately. I talked to people here about it and they said that if one wants art they can go to Europe, and those who can’t afford it – too bad.

  22. Hi Rick,
    I'm so glad you liked my photos, because I had some anxieties about how they'll be received. They're not as informative as they are artistic. Thank you; it means a lot to me that you were moved by this post.

    Hi Randy,
    You could stay there all day. The lady that you have noticed was really overexcited. It's like there was only her and Rothko in the entire universe.

    Hi Richard,
    C'est absolument vrai. Le public est différent pour chaque artiste. Par exemple, j'adore Bonnard, Picasso et je respecte. Cependant, je n'ai jamais connu l'amour de Picasso.

    Hi Trevor,
    I'm glad you liked it, because these photos are not so obviously documentary. They're more abstract, and convey emotions.

    Hi Yvonne,
    Thank you for the compliment about my blog. I really appreciate it when someone enjoys what I've created :)

  23. Hi Diane,
    Thank you for commenting. I appreciate your feedback very much. I can see how this might not be for everyone. I'm curious to get to know your taste in art better.

    Hi Krunal,
    Thank you very much :) I'm happy you liked them.

    Hi Jean-Philippe,
    L'art est une source inépuisable d'émotions, pensées, et la pratique. Un de mes ami homme d'affaires dit que la vie que dans l'art ou à côté de l'art a une certaine importance.

    Hi Angella,
    I'm a little jealous that you live in such a place as New York. A city that is so full of cultural possibilities and events.

  24. Hi Peter,
    I'm glad I gave you the opportunity to visit the exhibition with me :) It always surprises me, how personal art really is. I'm so glad you find my approach interesting.

    Hi Gisa,
    For the most part, it was my first experience capturing the observation of art directly. I found it fascinating.

    Hi Dolly,
    It's amazing to be able to feel these emotions when we look at art. Real art doesn't leave people unmoved.

    Hi Jennifer Fabulous,
    I stood in front of the black painting, and I needed several minutes to see various other colours show through. First, it was green, then purple. Then dark blue. After a while, my head began to spin.

    Hi Joanny,
    I agree completely. Richard Avedon said "All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth."

    Hi Pet,
    Okay, I won't :) Thank you for your comment.

    Hi anni,
    I'm glad you have visited me. Thank you very much. I will try to keep it interesting.

  25. Hi Eko,
    Kiitos kohteliaisuus noin valokuvauksen. From lahjakas ja kokenut valokuvaaja kuin sinä, se merkitsee paljon. Kiitos, ystäväni kanssa sanoja.

    Hi Rui Pires,
    I appreciate your visit. I follow your blog too. Thank you for commenting!

    Hi Enrique,
    I have to confess that photography in a museum is not the simplest thing. The light is made for paintings, not for photography.

    Hi R. Jacob,
    Every sort of contact with great art enriches your life and lingers for a long time. I'm so happy that my efforts in photography appealed to you.

    Hi Talli,
    It's great to meet another fan. I can relate to your experience with that exhibition.

    Hi Vagabonde,
    Thank you very much. I greatly enjoyed your last post. I think that taking photos of people is a very sensitive and delicate thing. You have to get the feel for whether they would like to be in the photo. I can tell you that the faces you see in my post really posed for me.

  26. I've loved Rothko since I was a teenager when I learned about his work in Art History. One of his prints is on the wall behind me as I write this.

  27. Liebe Olga,
    vielen Dank für deinen netten Kommentar!Tolle Fotos!Ich kann noch nicht beurteilen,was im Vordergrund steht-der Mensch oder die Kunst.Eigentlich ist die Antwort auf diese Frage nicht so wichtig.Es war mir ein Vergnügen,Ihre Seite zu besuchen.
    ganz herzliche Grüße

  28. You are a wonderful artist yourself providing this enchanting photo essay. Do you appear in cameo in any of the shots?

  29. WonderfulWorkThankYouForSharing

  30. I totally agree with every word you've said.

  31. I love those pictures !
    I love the particular museum ambiance....
    Congratulations !

  32. I love these pictures, this is the best way to transmit the museum feeling.

  33. Beautiful photos. What I like least about a museum (when not in the city where you live) is that there are many pictures and not look nacabas for wanting to watch them all either. When a painting I like I can be up more than 30 minutes looking and if I like I can be the entire session. So a great museum is like a big cake you enter and you looking all sorts of tempting cakes and eat out without any .. And of course with a sense of frustration.

  34. I am not a fan or this artist as I am not familiar with the work. But I did love your photography of the patrons enjoying and taking in the essence of the work and their enjoyment of the museum.

  35. Absolutely. And those photos you took in the gallery are just briliant. Very emotive... :)

  36. Wonderful photos and thoughts!

  37. Excellent shots!! Salut!!


  38. Hi Lydia,
    Of all Rothko fans, you're the luckiest, because you can visit this gallery any time you like :)

    Hi Megi,
    Ich bin so froh, dass du gern meinen Beitrag. Alle Fragen und Antworten rund um Kunst sind personenbezogen. Glaubst du nicht, es ist interessant zu anderen Menschen Sicht wissen?

    Hi Paul,
    This is a great idea. Thank you for the tip. Next time, look for me among the photos :)

    Hi SKIZO,
    Thank you for encouragement :)

    Hi hila,
    It means a lot to me that you agree with my point of view.

  39. Hi Pierre,
    It's very important to me that my visitors and my followers find my posts interesting. Thank you.

    Hi Monica,
    That's exactly what I've been trying to do! I was so enthralled with the atmosphere of the gallery, as well as the artwork, and I wanted to capture the feeling of being there.

    Hi Leovi,
    I appreciate that you described your creative process. For me, it's always challenging. At the same time, art is one of the most interesting ways to live.

    Hi lifeshighway,
    I'm glad you liked the way I captured the visitors. People can be fascinating even when the art is not your cup of tea :)

    Hi Bth,
    I'm happy I could convey my emotions about visiting this gallery, and that they reached you :)

    Hi M@risa,
    I'm glad you liked it, dear friend :)

    Hi Francesc,
    Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your comment :)

  40. Hi Olga,love your story on Rothko. I also love the way you have captured the people and their relationship with art. Incredible. Carla

  41. I totally agree with you. You have to let yourself be absorbed by the painting, and you can't do this unless you are physically in front of it. You cannot get the feeling of texture and depth or indeed the subliminal message unless you can interact directly. Great photos of people doing just that. :)

  42. I did enjoy seeing the expressions and poses of the people viewing but the art is not really to my taste. Maybe as you point out I would feel differently if I was able to experience it close up.

  43. Congrats for this beautiful post, whit some awesome photos, love it!!

  44. I love all these photos of people admiring the artwork. For me that is the best part of having a piece in a gallery…just watching others enjoy it.

  45. Bravo, comme quoi une expo peut être faite par le public....un bel exemple.

  46. I don't know this artist, but you are right in that you can only really tell when you are face to face - or better put 'at arm's length' - from an artist's work. Rothko's work looks intriguing ... and maybe one day I shall see it for myself ... and know.
    I loved your post.

  47. this was really interesting to read. i have to say though, today i fell in love with gerhard richter and now must travel to london to go see his work later this year. to make my love complete i guess!

  48. Hi Carla,
    Thank you. I like that these places full of art don`t leave anyone indifferent.

    Hi Sarah,
    I didn`t really notice the connection between art and other people before, or maybe I was too shy to capture the moments. It was a really incredible experience for me.

    Hi Lindy,
    I find that I`m not always ready to take something in. Maybe it`s a bad example, but it`s similar to trying a good wine, knowing that it`s excellent, but you feel that it`s not for you. As far as Rothko, I have a feeling that his paintings are for the people, and not for himself.

    Hi Andras,
    Thank you very much. I`m glad you enjoyed my photos. Hope you come again :)

    Hi Charlene,
    I`ve always been a little jealous of the people who are able to spend time watching people at a cafe or a museum. I`ve tried it myself, and it was a wonderful experience.

    Hi Ray,
    Merci de visiter mon blog. Ce sont de belles paroles au sujet de mon post. J'espère que vous aimez mes posts à venir.

    Hi aguja,
    Rothko is definitely worth exploring, not as an exceptional artist, but as an exceptional human being. Yesterday I finally got Cloud Catchers from the library. I`ve started reading it; I think that Ursula Holden is from a category of authors that appeal to me.

    Hi Krystal,
    Thank you so much! Thank you for being my follower. I`m starting to discover Gerhard Richter. At the moment, I`m reading the book about him entitled Cage. Unfortunately, I haven`t had a chance to see his work in real life yet.

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  50. J' ai vu l' exposition Rothko à Paris au Musée National d' Art Moderne, très impressionnant.. . Mais ici, ils' agit bien d' une tout autre expérience, surprenante et d' une efficacité visuelle certaine.
    Regarder le regardeur dans toutes les occurrences possibles, comme si le tableau menait la danse des regards grâce aux mains et à l' œil de la photographe, bien sûr !
    Formidable, really !

  51. Hi mariiana capela fotografia,
    Thanks very much for popping over to my blog and for your compliment:)

    Hi Jean Marie Staive ,
    Je ne peux pas vous remercier assez... Cette observation est très impressionnant de mon post.

  52. These are wonderful photos dear Olga,what a great experience for you to be so close to his artistic genius and those fabulous colours. I love the art of Mark Rothko, I am fortunate to have three prints of his paintings hanging on my walls.

    xoxoxo ♡

  53. Hi dianne,
    It seems like everyone except me has Rothko's prints :)
    Thank you for your kind words.