Inspired by this playlist for Adolph Gottlieb’s Labyrinth #1 (1950), Executive Director of the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Sanford Hirsch wrote in with his own musical interpretation. Of his selection, Hirsch says “Gottlieb didn’t have any music in his studio, but he did have a good collection of records at home. Using those as a starting point, here are a few selections from around the same time as Labyrinth was painted and from musicians Gottlieb listened to. And since Gottlieb was dedicated to abstraction, titles don’t add or detract from meaning.”
If you’re feeling similarly inspired, you can create your own playlist based around works in the exhibition and send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org; we may feature it on our blog and social media.
Taking inspiration from the major theme of music in Ten Americans: After Paul Klee, we paired 11 staff members with 11 works from the exhibition and asked them to create a playlist in response to their individual artwork. Laura Hoffman, Manager of K–12 Digital & Educator Initiatives, created this playlist in response to Adolph Gottlieb’s “Labyrinth #1.”
The theme of my playlist is eclecticism to reflect the wide range of symbols and techniques employed in Adolph Gottlieb’s Labyrinth #1. Gottlieb once remarked, “The surprise in a painting is not the surprise of discovering some kind of a story or myth, it’s the surprise of finding a clear statement about something that you felt and then to see it, to see this feeling become materialized in paint, then it really exists.” My inspiration drew from delving into the terms “labyrinth,” “alchemy,” “pictograph,” and “symbol”; looking at what music was playing at the time of this painting in 1950; and music-based mash-ups. I would recommend playing this on shuffle to reflect the surprise Gottlieb describes.
Laura Hoffman, Manager of K–12 Digital & Educator Initiatives
Feeling inspired? Create your own playlist based around works in the exhibition and send it to us at email@example.com and we may feature it on our blog and social media.
Recently, I wrote about references to the Phillips in books, movies, and even furniture catalogues. Your comments and clues have inspired “Part 2: Your Favorite Phillips Pop Culture Moments.” Here are some more connections between the museum and the world of moving pictures:
1. Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, and The Band Wagon. As far as I know, neither Fred Astaire or Cyd Charisse were avid art collectors . . . which might explain why they stumble over some of the facts related to Degas’s Dancers at the Barre, a painting in The Phillips Collection. In the film, Astaire plays Tony Hunter, a dancer/singer/movie star with an amazing art collection; you can catch a glimpse of it in this clip. Included in his fictional collection is the Phillips painting, which Charisse calls a “very early” Degas and pretends to read the date as 1877.
Degas’s process for creating Dancers at the Barre is the subject our upcoming fall exhibition. Scholars believe that he actually started the painting in 1884 and completed it about 16 years later, late in his career.
2. Ally McBeal. The fictional law firm Cage & Fish famously featured unisex bathrooms where the characters sought privacy (but got just the opposite) or channeled their inner Barry White. Where’s the Phillips reference? Hanging on the wall of the bathroom is a reproduction of Adolph Gottlieb’sThe Seer (1950). You can catch a glimpse of it about six seconds into this clip.
3. My So-Called Life. Was there ever a better show capturing the awkwardness of being a teenager? Have another look at the pilot and travel back to the mid-’90s when the Cranberries filled the airwaves, flannel shirts were all the rage, and apparently, reproductions of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party operated as ideal dining room décor!