On a recent trip to Pittsburgh, I stopped at the Carnegie Museum of Art to wait for a friend who worked there. In my short rambling, I saw some wonderful works ‘in person’ that I’d previously only seen online, including On Kawara’s date paintings. Reading the little info cards alongside the works often gave me ideas I could apply in my own space and life.

For example, who knew that Robert Motherwell’s Castile (Espana), above, is oil paint on ordinary masonite, the unevenly cut pieces stapled together. Painted, the homely material becomes beautiful. Could I apply the basic approach to a headboard or room screen, or even to disguise my old fridge’s doors?

A random wander into Sketch to Structure, an exhibition about the architectural design process, yielded ideas for building a cardboard and/or balsa wood dollhouse. The landscape was made out of stacked, graduated sheets of corrugated cardboard, and many of the buildings are cardboard as well. The trees  and a couple of the buildings appear to be balsa wood, which you can cut with a utility knife…

Carnegie Museum of Art
Carnegie Museum of Art

Mel Bochner painted Syncline directly on one of the museum’s walls in casein paint (which can be easily corrected or wiped out.)

Mel Bochner/Carnegie Museum of Art
Mel Bochner/Carnegie Museum of Art

You can read about Bochner’s process on the Museum’s website:

Bochner works out these complex and precise relations between the elements of his wall paintings by first using maquettes for the larger geometric shapes. Then he makes charcoal drawings to determine the size and position of the interior bands. Next comes a series of small color studies on paper which lead up to a full-scale painted study on his studio wall.

It’s a fine approach to take if I wanted to plot a design on a wall…

Mel Bochner/Carnegie Museum of Art
Mel Bochner/Carnegie Museum of Art

Stay tuned for the trove of ideas that came from seeing Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing#450 in the main hall…

Sol LeWitt/Carnegie Museum
Sol LeWitt/Carnegie Museum

 

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