The tours almost always center on the special exhibitions that MoMa offers. The best part about having New York in your backyard is you could really go into the city every weekend and never catch up with all the great art exhibitions that are going on. Signing up for these programs really forces us to get to the highlights before they leave town. Usually the docent picks several artworks for the group to discuss. During a recent tour, the emphasis was on looking for inspiration and then creating our own hand carved block print. On the bottom of this post, I show you a block cut we looked at by Emile Nolde.
After a tour of several block print portraits we were asked to sketch our own and then taught how to transfer the image to a block for carving. The last time I had done a hand carved print I was my daughter's age! Back then (in the old days!) we used linoleum. Now, we use a different material which is much easier to carve then what I had remembered. The challenge is to create a reverse of what you want since the image prints a mirror image of what you carve. In addition, what you carve away becomes the white space and what you leave behind is the part that gets inked and leaves the impression. I had great fun creating a portrait of my daughter which I listed on etsy.
Here is some background information about the German expressionist movement from the MoMa's website:
"From E. L. Kirchner to Max Beckmann, artists associated with German Expressionism in the early decades of the twentieth century took up printmaking with a collective dedication and fervor virtually unparalleled in the history of art. The woodcut, with its coarse gouges and jagged lines, is known as the preeminent Expressionist medium, but the Expressionists also revolutionized the mediums of etching and lithography to alternately vibrant and stark effect. "