The Best Exhibitions To Inspire You As A Photo Artist

At times you might feel like looking for inspiration outside of your normal scrolling. There have been rising amount of events that are made to be fully online these days, but just experiencing the old fashion physical art exhibition will truly have a major impact on your inspiration.

The best exhibitions are usually the ones that you do not want to leave just yet; their curation has been on point and the visit will leave you energized.

Exhibitions that are positively overwhelming, making you truly lose track of time come by rarely. I love to spend my time at a museum or a small gallery, walking through them at my own pace.

Mostly they are not even social events for me, just some time to slow down and soak up some inspiration. When I’m not reading about it, I like to experience it.

If the places are too broad, it might become more of an overwhelming experience for me. I’m more drawn to places that exhibit one or two artist simultaneously. This way you have more capacity to enjoy it.

I wanted to share my top picks for the best exhibitions I’ve been to during the pst years.

The Top 3 Exhibitions

1. Manifesto – Julian Rosefeldt

The top 3 art exhibitions

Hands down one of the most exciting exhibitions I’ve ever been to. As an image-maker, I tend to lean towards video or photography art. This was well executed.

Already respected as one of the best actresses in film, Cate Blanchett raises the bar even higher by playing 13 different roles in Manifesto, embodying some of the most influential and emotional artist manifestos in history.

Manifestos are depicted by 13 different characters, among them a school teacher, factory worker, choreographer, punk, newsreader, scientist, puppeteer, widow, and a homeless man.

The film consists of 13 segments, each 10:30 minutes long. In each, a character recites parts of manifestos of various political and artistic movements.

This manifesto was very powerful, and being built in this theater-like environment just made it into a more intense experience.

The architect of this unique film idea is director Julian Rosefeldt, a veteran of intricate films and installations. In Manifesto, he uses the words from various twentieth century manifestos of artists, architects, and filmmakers for dialogue. With a gorgeous production and luscious cinematography that would make Baz Luhrmann proud, Rosefeldt puts Blanchett in the everyday world—as a housewife, a factory worker, or a TV anchor—declaring the words that have inspired whole art movements. 

Manifesto is entertaining while also asking us to question if these passionate statements still hold true and inspire us today.

2. Niki de Saint Phalle

The top 3 art exhibitions

“I used to think there was a need to provoke, to attack religion, and the generals. And then I understood that there is nothing more shocking than joy.”- Niki Saint de Phalle

Niki de Saint Phalle (French pronunciation: ​[niki d(ə) sɛ̃ fal]; born Catherine-Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle; 29 October 1930 – 21 May 2002) was a French-American sculptor, painter, filmmaker, and author of colorful hand-illustrated books.

Widely noted as one of the few female monumental sculptors, Saint Phalle was also known for her social commitment and work.

Niki is known for her Nanas, a slightly derogative French term for a young girl. The Nanas were voluptuous goddess-like creatures, triumphant, enduring symbols of femininity and maternity.

This exhibition was an intense splash of colorful figures and drawings, most of which she produced addressing important religious conflicts, political and racial questions all while expressing her own traumas through her work. Truly an eye-opening experience and reaches the top 3 easily.

She had a difficult and traumatic childhood and a much-disrupted education, which she wrote about many decades later.

After an early marriage and two children, she began creating art in a naïve, experimental style. She first received worldwide attention for angry, violent assemblages which had been shot by firearms.

Her most comprehensive work was the Tarot Garden, a large sculpture garden containing numerous works ranging up to house-sized creations.

Saint Phalle’s idiosyncratic style has been called “outsider art”; she had no formal training in art, but associated freely with many other contemporary artists, writers, and composers.

Her books and abundant correspondence were written and brightly-colored in a childish style, but throughout her lifetime she addressed many controversial and important global problems in the bold way which children often question and call out unacceptable neglect.

3. Alice Neel

Alice Neel (January 28, 1900 – October 13, 1984) was an American visual artist, who was known for her portraits depicting friends, family, lovers, poets, artists, and strangers.

Her paintings have an expressionistic use of line and color, psychological acumen, and emotional intensity. Her work depicts women through a female gaze, illustrating them as being consciously aware of the objectification by men and the demoralizing effects of the male gaze.

Her work contradicts and challenges the traditional and objectified nude depictions of women by her male predecessors.

Neel was called “one of the greatest portrait artists of the 20th century” by Barry Walker, curator of modern and contemporary art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, which organized a retrospective of her work in 2010.

She is best known for her distinctive style of portraiture, where her models are painted without glorification, in a very straightforward manner. 

Her psychologically charged portraits tell intimate and unconventional stories, as much about people living on the margins of society and in subcultures as about the New York cultural elite and her own family.

Her work absorbs the viewer to inspect the subjects and color composition she was well known for.

The exhibition has played a huge role in my portraiture journey, leaving its impact on me color-wise.

She observes each subject with a fresh eye. Neel’s insights into the human condition never wavered, remaining direct, unflinching, and always empathetic.

The top 3 art exhibitions

It’s not always photography that inspires me to photograph. Usually, it is a feeling and energy I experience while being surrounded by creativity and art.

I know it’s lately been very different to experience art the same way, but slowly we are being able to let ourselves visit exhibitions again.

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