“I’m not paying ‘homage to the square’. It’s only the dish I serve my craziness about color in.”
Josef Albers (1888-1976)
In the spirits of All Hallow’s eve, I’ll briefly chronicle some daily occurrences I find very “creepy.”
You pull into a fast food chain that hawks chicken sandwiches. Fresh face teenagers repeat “It’s my pleasure” over and over to you. Slaving away in entry level food service (aka chain) is a twilight zone of torture. And when they repeat again, “my pleasure,” they can’t be talking about the chicken. You start to imagine R to X-rated very pleasurable things. With a teenage automatron smiling into your face.
Freak moms spooked by kids climbing trees. Hell, breaking a bone is/was a celebrated kid-rite-of-passage. The cast – a trophy (and weapon). My best thinking, swinging between limbs. “Honey, now let’s not climb that tree, we could get hurt.” We?
Traffic cameras buzzing facial recognition software, recorded phone conversations with corporations, ubiquitous big brothering, internet spiders crawling though your email. Who’s watching? Stalker in your pocket, apple spy phone trick-tracking your every move.
Immortal FB pics/posts, indiscreet tweets frozen in forever cyber-life, little word vampires sucking your bloodygood reputation dry. Ad infinitum.
Go into a clothing store. Feel pretty good about buying those new BOGO jeans. Until you ask to use the restroom and look up to see a big red sign posted by the john, reminds the store’s employees to, “compliment her choices again and again” followed by, “celebrate our new friend with upraised voices.”
It’s a sticky flung corporate web and I’m a juicy morsel. My desire, consumer vibration so slight. Awakens worldwide-long legs. Hairy. Clustering eyes.
Why I Am Not a Painter
I am not a painter, I am a poet.
Why? I think I would rather be
a painter, but I am not. Well,
for instance, Mike Goldberg
is starting a painting. I drop in.
“Sit down and have a drink” he
says. I drink; we drink. I look
up. “You have SARDINES in it.”
“Yes, it needed something there.”
“Oh.” I go and the days go by
and I drop in again. The painting
is going on, and I go, and the days
go by. I drop in. The painting is
finished. “Where’s SARDINES?”
All that’s left is just
letters, “It was too much,” Mike says.
But me? One day I am thinking of
a color: orange. I write a line
about orange. Pretty soon it is a
whole page of words, not lines.
Then another page. There should be
so much more, not of orange, of
words, of how terrible orange is
and life. Days go by. It is even in
prose, I am a real poet. My poem
is finished and I haven’t mentioned
orange yet. It’s twelve poems, I call
it ORANGES. And one day in a gallery
I see Mike’s painting, called SARDINES.
Oh you Monday. With your redrush urgent,
your orange streak, next-in-line, get-it-done-before-lunch.
I’m yellow drifting in a little late, weekend hung over
deskchair heaped, haven’t checked emails yet.
your high hot list, citadel efficiency
Staff mtg doesn’t start for another 5 min.
I love this old German. The ballsy dedication of one’s life to the Great Squeegee. He creates world renown kick-ass art with it. And he’s 80. Currently he’s the top grossing artist in the world.
The dragging, adding, the taking away again. The adding, the taking away.
Smear on. Redact. Smear on. Redact.
And I find myself mesmerized. Its existential process draws me in. The way this paint pulls me apart and puts me back together. A surreal humptydumpty life.
what’s surface? what lies beneath? occupies the same plane.
What you are when your “title” is taken away. Who you are on your new business card. You, in juicy given youth, who you are as gainsaid, it peels away. (A forty-year-old anachronism) The email in your inbox – gives you hope, a slightsound of paper handed – takes it away.
Can the senselessness of the giving and taking away – can it be lovely? Can I, by some craft of hand or soul make it so?
Click above link to watch him in action.
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.