The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is presenting an exhibition that pairs the artwork of Paul Klee with the drawings and beautiful freak folk music of Devendra Banhart. According to the SFMOMA, the exhibit, titled Abstract Rhythms: Paul Klee and Devendra Banhart, "explores the relationship between music and visual art." It features more than a dozen of Klee's works on paper along with thirteen of Banhart's drawings, created along with his new album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. Seen here at left, Klee's "Der Verliebte (Man in Love)" and, at right, Banhart's cover art for "Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon." From the SFMOMA:
Music was a consistent source of inspiration for Klee (1879–1940), spanning the arc of his career and informing much of his practice. He came from a family of musicians and, prior to turning his attention to painting, drawing, and printmaking, was an accomplished violinist who often performed in concerts. His varied experience with music influenced much of his work. Hoffmanneske Märchenscene (Hoffmannesque Fairy Tale Scene) (1921), for example, was inspired by Jacques Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, an opera Klee saw on several occasions. Additionally, Klee wrote extensively on the relationship between graphic arts and music, and he devised elaborate techniques to marry the two forms in his practice. Some excerpts from his writings are paired with selected works in the exhibition...Link to SFMOMA press release, Link to Abstract Rhythms page, Link to Banhart's art, Link to buy Banhart's "Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon"
Banhart’s otherworldly drawings are populated by whimsical characters that seem suspended in an undefined pictorial space, recalling some of Klee’s surrealist works. Furthermore, his relationship to music, like Klee’s, is interdependent on his visual art practice: “I sing what I can’t draw and draw what I can’t sing,” he explains. Though Klee and Banhart were born a century apart, both oscillate between abstraction and figuration–a tendency enlivened by each artist’s invisible rhythmic pulse.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.
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