Hey, this is "Off the Wall" and I'm Michelle Merck and we are at the gorgeous Brooklyn
Museum. Brooklyn in the house people. Let's go.
Hey there. We're here with Terry Carbone, the curator of "American Art" at the beautiful,
beautiful Brooklyn Museum. Thank you so much for having us here.
Sure. And right now we're in a room called "Modern
Life" and I can't think of a more perfect piece to be in front of the Steward Davis',
"The Mellow Pad." Now this is one of your favorites. Why don't you tell us a little
bit about the artist and the piece? Sure. Steward Davis was one of the most important
American Modernist of the prewar period and he, like many artists, started to work in
an abstract mode in the 1920's. Abstraction was a European form and most American artists
tried to find a way to make their subject matter America.
In this case, he started from an earlier work called "House and Tree," and he embroidered
this beautiful abstract design that was intended to reflect the rhythms and ideas of Jazz.
Starting with a theme and working out improvisations in a way that had rhythm and syncopation.
You do get the sense of Jazz and improvised quality. Look and you can see shapes and imagine
notes coming through the air and the colors. What is it about this piece? I mean, that
there's so many things that would move you personally? What is it that draws you to this
one in particular? It's so complex and when you think about how
many shapes are in it, it's kind of mind boggling. The colors are incredibly dynamic, especially
for that period of time, and the whole thing really does have a life and a rhythm that's
wonderfully expressive. Well, thank you so much for sharing it with
us and showing us a different meaning then like, the mellow '60s. So we have "The Mellow
Pad," right here. Thanks a lot. Sure.