Sunday, January 27, 2008

Malang at Eighty + The Forgotten Malang

[I just finished re-reading Art of the Western World, which breezes through Western art history in under 350 pages, using the minutes I would have unproductively spent waiting for the PC to start up. Sadly, my Philippine art history doesn't just need a brushing up--I need a complete life course in it. But at least I know that Malang is one of the living titans in Philippine art and his paintings of Filipino women are iconic.]

We happened to pass by the Malang at Eighty exhibit at Megamall Art Center and simply had to stop to take a closer look. The show reflects how prolific the artist is. There were dozens of pieces, not just because the space is huge, but also because the pieces are relatively small (some are postcard-size). Here is where my art history needs help. Does anyone know if it's always been that way?

Women vendors are still his main subjects, but my mom and I reached a consensus on what our favorite was: an abstract piece that was entirely expressionistic. Maybe I got tired of looking at moon-shaped faces, long black hair, skirts and shawls.

Right across the venue was The Forgotten Malang: A Career in Cartoons, at The Crucible gallery. I enjoyed this retrospective of his editorial cartoons and comic strips of Chain-Gang Charlie, Beelzebub and Kosme the Cop because they show a side of the artist that younger people do not know.

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