Unfinished business

Lucian Freud, 152 Portrait of the Hound, 2011

Lucian Freud, 152 Portrait of the Hound, 2011

Ninety Freud paintings at the Modern FW devoured me. But I live to tell the tale.

And yes, I was very inappropriate at the museum.

“He’s such a virtuoso with the texture here,” I pointed out to a young man. It was kinda uncomfortable because we were discussing a penis juxtaposed with a rat’s tail.  And I was using nice museumy language to soften the image of rat tail and penis laid together, side by side, central to the painting. The young man winced as a woman walked up to him. I laughed (inappropriate).

“You brought your mother to the Freud exhibit?”  (Very inappropriate) They walked away.

I didn’t mind, we all skulked around, eviscerated, swallowed in a flesh sea.  Stunned looks and furtive eye contact, what the hell is this? Too big heads, too little heads, too big hands, too big eyes. Contortions and legs, naked, bare. A flesh-eating exhibition pulling no punches. Clashing angles pushed hard against each other and bodies truncated, not fit in their painted rooms. As they did not fit into my head.

I approached the teenage docent, “So are you shell-shocked?”

“It was hard the first week,” he admitted. “They started to rotate us, so I’m ok now.”

My favorite  – the last painting of the show. The unfinished one of Freud’s assistant David.

“Disturbing,” murmured a passing Dallasite.

Damn right and it should be. Why be subjected to these horrors of flesh? Because I extrovert beauty and introvert truth. It’s too bright, too hard, too loud, too flesh. I admire Freud for drawing me in with beautiful paint strokes, daring emotion and pushing me away with awful contortions and rooms that defy balance. It’s the pushpull between loveliness and grimy street truth. It’s unfinished business for me.


5 Comments on “Unfinished business”

  1. One of my favorite painters…so a show of his a few years ago. His nudes are so powerfully painted. His animals… so lovingly painted.

    • heatherit says:

      Anita – Thanks so much for your lovely comment! He is utterly galvanizing. And the fact that we can have meaningful discussions about figurative painting again is really exciting. I am posting soon about another up-and-comer figurative painter, along the lines of Freud Shane Wolf.

      • Anita C. Miller says:

        I was not familiar with this painter so I Googled him. Sorry, but he is not even close to Freud…his work seems very academic to me. But, to each his own 😉

      • heatherit says:

        True, he has a more beatific touch, but his use of form to convey emotion is arresting. Especially Soumission. I felt the same intake of breath looking at that painting as I did with Freud’s unfinished. He definitely celebrates form rather than Freud’s exaggeration and perhaps mannerist qualities. Love talking about this with you. Do you have a fav figurative painter?

      • Anita C. Miller says:

        I do not want to be rude… but I frankly do not agree with anything you have said. I think we will have to leave it there… We just see things differently, that’s all. No hard feelings :oD


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