He posted calendars. In his office and garage and kitchen – spent several hours a week updating them to quarter hours, syncing old-school. With sharp colored pencils, he outlines boxes of time.
Fox news fills squared time between 6:30 and 8:30, formerly dinnertime. Lawn maintenance and church in green numbered boxes. She watches the blue bedtime box inch its way up from 9:30 to 9:00 to 8:30. His outworn hands gripping thin pencils like colorful pickup sticks. She noticed the broken pieces pierce heavy duty trash bags on Tues mornings, even though he double bagged.
“When do you go to the john?” She was there, borrowing his angle grinder. The grey clink of his fingers rummaged through a Folger’s coffee can, searching out an odd length screw. The color sharp schedule catches her eye. Rocking back and forth, heel to toe.
“The john!” she says louder and points. He needed a hearing aid. Of course wouldn’t admit it. Old men love their bowel movements. A daily badge, a gold star sir for gastrointestinal bravery.
“You didn’t schedule your bowel movements, isn’t that the highlight of your day?”
He scowls. A hoarse sound, possible guffaw. Remembers laughter like his last kidney stone.
She’s right, he didn’t schedule in his “constitution.” Takes good half hour or more. Enough to read the front page. Or study the obits for friends.
“guess I’ll have to update it. “
“And get a hearing aid.”
“what?” he deadpanned. Heel turn. “Not gettin’ a damn hearing aid. Juliet couldn’t make me. Neither can you.” Coughs. “So go on, here’s the grinder. Keep the box neat will ya?”
Shoes her out of this neat hen-house garage. He hunts and pecks for the one screw he found and lost several times. Entirely unnatural. A neat garage I mean. That schedule too.
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.
This is a stroke
This is a stroke of good luck
A wrinkle in time
the angel of death
melted marshmallows indigo night
This is a stroke
of muteness syllables whole swallowed
foam on a wave
This is Tom Cruise on a wire
I lay. To wait.
I lie. To simplify.
A streak of buff in crimson.
To let me be. To wait.
To simplify. Simple lie.
My hair is tied.
So the queen bought the Warhols, but how about the Lucian Freud?
Just to give you some back story – Lucian Freud is the greatest figurative painter of our time. Passed away July 2011. Yes, he’s the grandson of Sigmund. Draw your own assumptions.
As a rule, I don’t find much compassion for the rich and famous. But here I feel the ruthless sting of mortality. Fatal age is coming for her too, despite her sovereign-dom. Despite the pearls and diamonds. She is a commoner, sharing the same fate as I. It’s a deft touch is that Freud evokes this common cord while juxtaposed with the Diamond Diadem (Freud’s specific request).
He painted this portrait gratis so she could not influence the image. Imagine the conversation in the room as she sat for him. I bet she did not go lightly into this dark night. “Really Lucian, must you go sooo deep into the wrinkles?”
The hairdo really suffers. That would bump it out of Royal Collection for me. I’m sure she (and a stylist team) works very hard to get it that way. The crown jewels got lucky. They actually look valuable in a faded postcard sort of way.
If your know his work, you will realize he was actually quite kind to her.
Recoil at one of his greatest portraits, the Benefits Supervisor Sleeping. Sold in 2008 for $33M.
“I paint people,” Freud said, “not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.”
Interested in seeing more? His only exhibition is in Texas at the Modern in Fort Worth until Oct. 28, 2012.
Many Brits wanted to send him to the tower for painting such an unflattering, de-powdered monarch. But in the end, she did acquire it for the Royal Collection. Bully that!
You know she’s gonna run you over.
Drive you to the edge.
You know she will cost you.
And you bite your lip for that green Bugatti.
“If it were not for art, I would have killed myself a long time ago.” Yayoi Kusama
On the subject of being crazy and creating mind-blowing art let’s talk Yayoi Kusama.
She came to prominence in the 70’s when she staged Body Festivals – naked people walking around clothed only in painted polka dots. And since then the dots have not stopped.
Polka dots are a way to infinity. Yayoi Kusama
Kusama leads the avant-garde contemporary art world. She checked herself into a Japanese mental institution in 1973 and since 1977 has called it home. She is escorted each day to her studio and is walked back to the hospital at night.
The Whitney now features an eye-popping retrospective of her work which you can browse when you click the picture above. She’s a published poet and novelist. Louis Vitton partnered with her to make this fall’s hottest, spotted accessories.
Her latest work sold for $5.1 M, the highest amount for a living female artist.
Don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem too crazy to me. Just badass.
If you haven’t papercut your pinky on the slim corner of sanity, then maybe you aren’t pushing the life envelope hard enough. Or maybe you have solid mental health genes (also good). This painting reminds me of the daily tip-toe tripping of the mental health wire and our need to balance out these “wiggles.”
The background color – this minty pea soup green – is also the color of the walls of the mental hospital one of my best friends stayed in. Checked in to that facility to get the wiggles out. But it’s very routine in there, no wiggle room. Only pills, clocks and talks. If you have the dough. The bill alone could drive you nuts.
I have the distinct impression that these deep purple wiggles will not be worked out. Are the green walls giving structure to the wiggles, lending a stable hand? Or are the wiggles encroaching on the green walls in a slow-mo land grab? Is it a stalemate, a writhing truce with ground being lost and gained in equal measure. Or a protracted battle of attrition with sanity as the long shot?
Don’t miss the red dots which could be game changers. Stabilizers or trauma points? Although they may just be ticklish.
I just found out wriggle and wiggle aren’t interchangeable (though I did it anyway). Wiggle is a back and forth movement. Wriggle is a turning twisting movement a.k.a. to squirm.
So there is wriggle room in a wiggle room. But not the other way around. Drives me crazy.
If I could find myself here today, it would be a talisman. To protect me from evil. From my greed to be something more than what I am.
If I could walk this path of yellow it would surround me with its bright shield. A place of refuge to look upon the water and see the reflection of the sky. Of me. Of the things that were and the things that were not.
To divine between solid and spirit and find somewhere a sign. A chill breeze brushes my skin. The haunting loveliness of life. Gold leaves fall around my fingers and summer’s memory washes away.
Come Fall with your earth-bound wand and sweep away the summer. Fold me into your apron crisp and cool. Bury me in leaves.