a unique perspective on this crazy world

Posts tagged ‘20th century’

from the power of horses to the horsepower of the internet

The magnificent 20th century… OK, so there were a couple of world wars, we built an atomic bomb, communism in practice was a lot less successful then communism in theory, terrorism went global – but I am a glass half full kind of girl and the 20th century also improved the lives of a lot of people.

I guess it started with the millennium.  It’s not too often in your lifetime you can celebrate an event like that.  But the first 900 years compared to the last 100.  Now that’s a hockey stick in biz speak.  Human development in the 20th century looked like the sales charts for iphones at apple 🙂

I am fascinated by the twentieth century.  Part of it stems from the fact that both of my grandmothers were born within the first decade of it and lived just shy of their 100th birthdays so their lives spanned the entire 20th century.

Of course, those were the people who grew up in the era where personal information was horded like a stack of dollar bills in an airtight safe.  And both my parents were the youngest in their families so there were several generation gaps between us and I didn’t have the vision as a teenager to ask them, “what was it like?”

Because it must have been a wild ride!  To be born into a world where electric power was new and the automobile a fairy story, the airplane an impossibility.  And then to die in a world connected by bytes of magic that meant you no longer needed to get on a plane to have a face-to-face conversation with someone on the other side of the globe.  Oh, electricity, thou art a goddess at whose feet we should all worship 😉

As I’ve already mentioned, I was really impressed by the intellectual content of Swedish museums.  So, intrigued by an exhibit entitled, “Picasso vs. Duchamp” at the Moderna Museet.  Apparently the Moderna Museet has a very large Duchamp collection.  And Picasso painted enough stuff every major museum in the world has some Picasso.

Apparently they were great rivals.  And very important figures in the history in modern art.  This may well be blasphemy but neither has ever done much for me.  So I had underestimated their importance.  But the museum’s exhibition was clever enough to get its point across… really modern painting or more or less the creation of the idea of conceptual art.  Paint all the time and promote yourself as some kind of art whore who might be better at being famous… or produce so little art infrequently that you might come across as a bit above the whole idea of art as a business…

Personally I was far more intrigued with the WHEEL!  Picasso and Duchamp met for the first time in 1912.  They are definitely two of the most influential forces in modern art in the 20th century.  The museum suggests that the 20th century saw more major changes in both historical events and art history quiz items than any century before.  To help support the point, a giant wheel was created with each year of the last 100 labeled and one art event and one historical event for that year cited.  Visitors are encouraged to carefully turn the wheel to follow the history of art and of mankind in action…  For history geeks like me, wow!  Better than either of the artists’ stuff 😉

http://www.modernamuseet.se/sv/Stockholm/

Apparently when the Moderna Museet opened in 1958 it was one of the world’s most groundbreaking contemporary art venues.  It introduced Swedes to all kinds of crazy art that at the time was being questioned as to whether it was really art or not?  Now it’s modern art collection seems a bit more like a museum piece but the building is great and the collection is well organized and worth checking out.  Probably better though not to go to the Tate Modern first 🙂

And, even if the permanent collection seems a bit tiny compared to the Tate or MOMA, the special exhibition was definitely worth seeing… if only for the wheel of history.  So much more interesting than the Wheel of Fortune.  Spin this one and you might just learn something…  😉

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