A ticket to the Met

It is very modest, this little orange cardboard ticket… On November 19, 1927, the painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967) presented it at the entrance to the Metropolitan Opera. He occupied place 52 of a Large Tier Box and, on this New York fall morning, Aida by Verdi was on the programme. How do we know? The painter kept track of his many outings and noted on each ticket the name of the corresponding show.

painter of silence

In all their colours, these humble testimonies make up an astonishingly moving frieze, unrolled at length in one of the showcases of the formidable exhibition that the Whitney Museum devotes until March 5 to the links between Hopper and her New York City.

Magnificently hung, rich in a multitude of pieces from many collections, notably American, it attracts an amazed public. Like the silence that emanates from the works – and which Emmanuel Pernoud analyzed so well in his Hopper. paint the wait, in Eds. Citadelles & Mazenod – visitors calmly contemplate the exterior views and the intimate atmospheres of the paintings, watercolors and drawings.

Here and there, only a few light whispers to evoke a disappeared place, a familiar light caressing a section of roof, a strange framing so characteristic. And, floating on the lips, slightly sad grateful smiles, as the artist and his wife must have been, fervent defenders of the architectural heritage of a city devoured by modernity, to the point of forgetting its past, however so little ancient…

Suspended time, fleeting time

The Met where Hopper applauds Aida is no longer the same today. The historic building designed by J. Cleaveland Cady and inaugurated in 1883 was succeeded in 1966 by the current flagship of the cultural complex located at Lincoln Center. It is from the gigantic 4,000-seat auditorium, lit by spectacular Swarovski chandeliers, that several operatic performances of the season are regularly broadcast “live” in cinemas around the world.

Saturday December 10, The Hours by Kevin Puts is on the bill, inspired by the novel by Michael Cunningham – which had already given rise to the multi-award-winning film by Stephen Daldry in 2002. As its name suggests, the work deploys a variation on the passage of time, that who remains and who is definitely gone, through the eyes of three women from different eras.

At the Met, using moving cinematographic spaces in osmosis with the easy and fluid score, does Phelim McDermott’s staging pay homage, even implicitly, to Edward Hopper? Maybe. It evokes, in any case, these suspended atmospheres, these interstices where the tiny expands and, suddenly, takes on an importance, a value, an unsuspected preciousness.

Little nothings

The exhibition at the Whitney Museum offers us so many canvases that say so much while showing so little. From the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Intermission (1963) surprises a blonde usher dressed in black, seated in the front row of an empty room. The arms along the body express a gentle weariness, a welcome relaxation. As for the gesture of the left foot which makes the pump slide slightly, just to free the skin for a moment from its elegant leather yoke, it diffuses and spreads an intense emotion. That, so mysterious, in painting as in music, of the little nothings that change everything.


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