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23 November 2014


Robert Davidson, NMAI, Spring 2014

This Violence

To touch you
I stand back.
To see you I stay blind.
To remember you,
I re-member you –
Soldering your hands to your arms,
And your fingers to your face
So you can feel again
your own expressions,
your own blood
pulsing at the surface
like night coming down
ready to rest
and end the war.

Tell me you knew, with-
Out spring’s confirmation:
You knew in winter.

Your small fingers are
A black nail driving through me
Like night breaking day.

18 November 2014


Maria Lassnig, MoMA PS2, July 2014

This is only a piece, of the whole. Is it curious that we call works of art pieces? Pieces of something larger that without which they are not complete. As though, if only seeing one work, we cannot truly see what it is or what it means? And yet, we do. We see words, meanings, worlds.

I rather see in this piece birth. The womb extended from the body, a body in and of itself, albeit part of the mother's whole, and yet whole and separate of itself. A place where a new being becomes itself, becomes whole and then is separated... leaving mother and child once again, whole and separate. The piece you see to your left, however, is only a section of Maria Lassnig's painting. 

Here is the whole:

Maria Lassnig, MoMA PS1, July 2014

Does she hold her whole mind? Does she hold her own life? Her own mortality? Does Maria mourn, or is she reborn in herself, her ability to let die something that needs to be left behind? Swimming in the blue ocean, a chartreuse sun around her. A living, grass-green sky, feeding human and vegetable alike. Her eyes are closed.

Her body, her face, are living with brilliant color. If you did not see the exhibit, try to see it elsewhere. Her colors are alive in themselves, coursing as bright as oxygenated blood. As she got older, and you circled the galleries you saw Maria's colors grow bolder, brighter, freer. She is no longer held down by brown or cheated from her creativity with red. 
Yet, her legs are white, almost as though she left the paint to sit while we she went for a coffee and a paper. The skull sits on her lap like a baby, cradled in her hands, above and below, cradled secure against her stomach, itself wrapped by arms. White, like the legs, unfinished? or unknown?

Maria Lassnig, MoMA PS1, July 2014

This piece also feels to me- unfinished. And I love it in its hybrid sketch-painting state. I see an android painting its artist. All around the world is pulsing at a high vibration: orange and yellow and red, in a halo of reality. The negative space feels more true than both object and subject, laying in unbroken white, underlay outline, waiting for spirit to come and find them.

Creation creates creator. The art creates the artist, writes her, finds her, rebirths her, gives her new spirit. Our art turns us on ourselves, shows us not a mirror but a pool. Unlike Narcissus, we see below the reflection, to stones and sand beneath, to weaving fish, and swaying stems of water lilies that live within us, worlds unto themselves. Whole and separate and yet of us, containing whole other worlds of us. We see something, finally, in what we create, that is inaccessible from the surface. When we create, that deeper spirit has a chance to remake us, to give us a life we cannot have imagined.

As I child I found it unbelievable, unbearable that one thing I would never see was my own skull. When I write, there it is, gleaming white, its own eyes looking back at mine, something unsaid, waiting on me to say it.

09 November 2014

She Don't Play

In every game there are rules. Usually it's not the rule makers who teach them to you, to everyone who has to play by them. You know the rules of your game. I know mine. Don't mix metaphors, the oxford comma is no longer necessary. Slim down. Cut. Watch. Roll.

If you've ever studied art you are taught the rules early and without ambiguity. No "kissing." No symmetry. No "hairy" lines. I don't even know if kids these days have to learn them because they are saturated with design. But I did. For me it's more than a sneaking feeling when they're broken. I know it straightway and I see the hutzpah. Unless it's more than that. And sometimes it is. Sometimes it's art. Because usually rules are design.

Lee Friedlander, Yale Art Gallery, 2014
Lee Friedlander broke all the rules, and broke the game. This is art, friend. Her face, eyes closed, is enclosed in a triangle, geometry's strongest form. Her hands kiss the steps, wrapping up with the window back to her chin, lips held tight against her teeth. Her silence roars. Her closed eyes mesmerize. She is pure power.

Inside herself, inside this space, worn wood panels born from the nape of her neck, overcast sky, moment of sun sitting just at the roof's edge, she holds the whole world. A Gaia of silence, repose, self-restraint. A whole world of pleasure, pain, people, love, heartbreak, song, sits on her lap. A world of words is under her tongue. You can hear the stillness all around her and the heartbeats resonate with her breath.

She is pure power. You can either enclose her, hold her power, or see it destroy the whole world. 
Or... remake it.

03 November 2014

For all of you, and for a dear friend whose heart is sore:

Brooklyn Museum, Artist TBA, Spring 2014


The moon waxes just above the water towers
And an engine hums out
a racing
Toward what?
Tomorrow, next year…
Toward an end
That isn’t yet here
And the pain of it
Not yet started –
Something we must
Race past
Even if it means
An early conclusion.

Your legs reach around the globe

And back to me,
Pain falling from your toes
Into my mouth like rain.
I consume you
Like a desert thing
That has known only heat and rock.
Then you came along,
A river running through it-
To know me,
To hold me,
To show me I was already yours,
Made to fit in your arms,
To sleep under your chin,
To come home to you
In sun, in rain,
Under moon, under stars,
To hold your heart,
Tender in my hands of clay,
So cool, so made of mother,
I will always protect and kiss it.
Today, tomorrow, always
Because yours is the heart
Made for me.