A smart Getty installation that might reflect well on you.


The Getty has borrowed Edward Manet’s “A Bar at the Folies-Bergere” from London.

You know it, the bar maid looks at you front and center and straight ahead, leaning on a very solid, a very real table; with weariness on her face. But at the back right, she’s reflected in a mirror, at an angle that would be offset in “reality.” She enters another reality, at least, her back side does.

Manet creates a complex pre-cubist modern visual experience.

She speaks with a man. In what dimension? Of what do they speak? Is he another reflection of her in some way?

And so when the Getty Center hung the painting, by itself, in its own room, they play to this.

When you find the gallery the painting is in, the first thing you see, hanging on the wall is, a mirror. And then you realize that reflected in it, is – our bar maid.

You see the painting reflected in the mirror, at an angle, “offset.” You enter the room to approach her and as you approach the mirror, you begin to see yourself in it, with the painting. Are you then in the painting? You turn around to look at the work, at Manet’s girl, and as you’re enjoying that, just think – your backside must be reflected – offset – in the mirror behind you. As is hers.

Art as a mirror / a mirror as art?

-Edward drawdE-
—-
“A Bar at the Folies-Bergere”
1882. Oil on canvas. Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, UK

In California through September 9th. Along with a show called “Defining Modernity.” 46 drawings, by Manet, Degas, van Gogh, Seurat and others.

Does the Courtauld place a mirror on the wall by the Manet? Will it now? Who’s the fairest of them all?

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