Mario Naves reviews the exhibition Gauguin: Metamorphoses at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on view through June 8, 2014.
Naves writes: "'Metamorphoses' is selective in its purview. A handful of paintings—some of them iconographic, a few rarely seen—are on view, but Gauguin’s works on paper, especially his prints and transfer drawings, predominate, with three-dimensional pieces in wood and clay providing a notable backdrop. Did the current vogue for inter-disciplinarity inspire the decision to highlight Gauguin, the man of many mediums? Whatever the case, the results are scholarly and often bracingly intimate. While MOMA’s claim that Gauguin 'more than any other major artist of his generation . . . drew inspiration from working across mediums' is curatorial hype—you’d think these folks had never heard of Edgar Degas—still, the exhibition does make an 'arguable' case for Gauguin’s 'innovative' approach to working on paper. As laid out at MOMA, Gauguin’s experiments in woodblock printing are considerably more evocative than the signature works on canvas."