Friday, December 30, 2005

Riggety jig

Back in Brooklyn, trying to address the fact that I essentially have no friends in this town. Acquaintances, yes. Hordes of them. Clients, more and more of them, thankfully. Yoga instructors, yoga classmates, fellow artists, co-op associates, people I shared a table with at Barbés one evening. Friends of people I used to be friends with; people I tried to be friends with and it didn't click. Former almost-team members. Arts administrators and gallerists who sort of know me by sight when I say hello. Friends of my mom's; parents of friends. People I met at parties or in bars or at galleries, who got all enthusiastic, took my phone number, promised to call and never did. People who never called back. Former Nerve dates. Elderly men with crushes on me. Friends of the elderly men, who apparently know me by sight enough so that when the elderly man meets a woman who looks like me, three people in the general vicinity can say, "yes, it looks just like her." Downstairs neighbors. Neighbors who know my car, and ring my doorbell when I forget to move it. Under-recognized musicians I heard at the Living Room, Arlene's Grocery, or Barbés and thought about trying to collaborate with, but didn't pursue it. Other massage therapists who are good enough to refer to, but not quite good enough for me to pay them to work on me.

All of these people would think it was weird if I called them just to say hey. I call people long-distance instead. Most of these people I was fortunate enough to see or speak to over the holiday, and thus they'd think it was weird if I called again now. So I must perforce embrace my loneliness. I wait to emerge out the other side.

Saw the Anselm Kiefer show when I was in Fort Worth; it Blew Me Away. I'm sorry I didn't have time to go again. It's ironic that I grew up in a town that boasted two, and now three, world-class fine art museums, but in other ways is so hidebound, conservative and provincial that I fled at the age of eighteen, and never stayed for more than a week at a time thereafter. Evidently the current curator at the new Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art has been a personal friend of Kiefer's for twenty years, and that's how we scored the show; it's not even coming to New York. More shame New York.

Kiefer is one of the few modern artists I've ever encountered who successfully integrates a cerebral, referential thematic approach with a kinesthetic impact that pulverizes bricks. When approaching one of his works, you can either go read the paragraph of text on the wall beside it which explains the historical, philosophical, theological, and scientific references in the work and how they are used, or you can simply stand in front of it, say 'woooooow' and become pleasantly dizzy. Either way, your perceptual channels are thoroughly engaged. Afterward, I felt like a complete jerk for calling myself an artist. At least I am mature enough to recognize when someone is way, way, way out of my league.

I noticed that Kiefer's studio is in the South of France, which explains why I thought of fields of late-summer sunflowers, all looking down, when I saw some of his paintings. He is described as 'solitary' and hangs out in the NYC gallery scene rarely to never. I started thinking that it may not be a coincidence that the modern artists I truly admire, relate to, study, and would like to emulate--Isamu Noguchi, Lee Bontecou, Andy Goldsworthy, Rufino Tamayo, and Kiefer--are none of them scenesters. The scene does not nurture depth, mastery, humility or spirituality. It nurtures egotism, spectacle and fatuous obscurity. But you already knew that.

1 comment:

Liz said...

I saw a tamayo today and thought of you.