January 31, 2015
Seminar 2: Visual Culture
Review of Matisse: The Cutouts
“Matisse: The Cutouts” is an exciting new exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art that has everyone in the art world abuzz. The entrance of the exhibit is marked with a large blue strip of paint high up on a wall, with bold white text that reads “Henri Matisse: The Cutouts” in all capital letters.
The exhibit itself consists of several interconnected large, open spaces, with the walls bearing Matisse’s work. Certain rooms, notably the first room after the entrance, focus on his smaller works done in cutout pieces of gouache-painted paper. Other rooms display grand pieces that occupy entire walls, while another room is dimly lit and dedicated to Matisse’s work with stained-glass windows for the Chapelle du Rosaire Vence. One room consists only of Matisse’s “The Swimming Pool”, which consists of a band of white paper decorated with blue-painted cutouts, stretching around beige linen-covered walls.
I believe that the curators aimed to present how dedicated Henri Matisse was to his artwork, even in the later years of his life, when he was in a wheelchair. Indeed, the larger works in this exhibit required a great deal of dedication from Matisse, as well as his studio assistants, who would rearrange cutout pieces of paper on walls for hours on end until Matisse thought their placements to be just right.