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The World Upside Down
January 22, 2012
On October 18, 1961 a painting by Henri Matisse entitled The bateau was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. They spent 47 days and 116 thousand visitors before someone noticed that the painting had been hung upside down. In 1965 the same fate befell a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, Long grass with butterflies , exhibited at the National Gallery in London.
A reader writes citing these precedents to report a glaring error in the last issue: the two tables designed by Miroslav Sekulic, on pages 66 and 67 are reversed. But no one had an epiphany watching them on abstract art, Wassily Kandinsky, as happened in the day that he saw by chance one of his paintings upside down. Last June the Cinematheque of Bologna has projected for nine days, the films of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life by reversing the order of the rollers. The spectators were too busy to follow the complex interplay of flashbacks and reminders of the film to notice.
The story of Sekulic instead is simple and consistent as the sequence of a silent film, but we realized the error too late. The lesson of George Orwell could not be more appropriate: "It takes a constant effort to see what's under your nose."