Nam June Paik, "Zen for TV" 1963/1982
More exciting was the retrospective of pioneering video artist Nam June Paik at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Inspired by the then-new TV, Nam made works that were, in turn, playful, metaphysical, spectacular, self-reflexive. "TV Clock," "TV Buddha," "Zen for TV" and "TV Garden," once seen, are unforgettable. GH's older brother SH was one of Nam's assistants when he assembled his TV Robots series. He even traveled with the artist around Europe. I love how Nam took the functional form of the TV and made something beautiful with it. He saw first and then led others to see it. It was my first visit to the American Art Museum. I was very impressed by the curatorial arrangement of twentieth-century American art works. They spoke to one another in a big but elegant hall.
Today I saw the Matisse show at the Met. "In Search of True Painting" looks at the French Master's work in pairs and trios. The Vence paintings throbbed with radiant color in the last room. "Large Red Interior" (1948) is itself a study of pairs. On either side of a central black line are two tables, two rugs and two artworks. Of the artworks, a colored composition balances an India ink drawing. The central black line ends midway down the painting at the top of an empty chair.