Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday commute cxxvii: Once more into the brief

Who knew, the bright American latrine
would come not merely to typify the
nation's discourse in the great quad-
rennial spat for bragging rights to
power, wealth, and the pressing busi-
ness of genital selection, but to afford
its venue? Well, you may say, dread of 
this had lurked in the stalls of reason-
able people, ever since Conservatism 
cornered righteousness and Liberalism
bagged discrimination. All it would
take to smash the persistence of these
two prosperous plantations, would be
a financial catastrophe exposing every-
one but the malefactors, to what com-
placent gravy trains they had been.

But that political candidates might
flee to the latrine, that first, last,
and saddest refuge of narcissism, with-
out anticipating the vanity mirror's re-
versal of their logotype, was a strange 
oversight in this advanced day and age
of resort to the self-referencing server. 

True, tacticians for Mrs Clinton had 
the foresight to adopt the reversible
logotype, the letter "H," ambidextrous 
as the day is long; but they then went on, 
to cripple it with a directional arrow of
inscrutable destination -- which no one 
could indict, and anyone could deny,
as progressive or regressive. At the same 
time, how soon we forget how forlornly
Jeb's exclamation frond asserted a "right 
to rise," against his Party's own defining
defense of the status quo of latrines. At 
least the logo for the sociopath from Texas 
led with the first syllable of being trussed, 
and ended with the last of the past tense.
Now, that was coherency worthy of a 
Princeton panty raider, par excellence.

Eventually, incrementally, mercy broke 
upon this sourest of settings, with the 
freshening of satire's sure restorative -
an SNL sketch on what to do, in one pair,
of clean underwear, dried on a radiator.
In a time of logotype reversals, would
politics acquire a decent respect to the
opinions of mankind?

Peter Stackpole
Drying on a radiator

Thursday, April 14, 2016

We go home now ii

    Don Mills and Jerry
    Kahn with ice boxes

    Santa Monica hills,
    completely accurate

Edmund Teske
Gelatin print

Gitterman Gallery
New York

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Origins of Wednesday xxiv: Chute

    I think it will be a long time
    before such a portrait doesn't
    recall Jake Gyllenhaal in wait
    for his bronc in Brokeback. We
    glimpse the sympathetic figure
    and then, lacking the spurs of
    cinema to drive us on, observe
    the chopped index finger, that
    sleeveless forearm ready for a
    wrapping of the reins. Long-as-
    similated prices of an unusual
    kind of glory seem extreme for
    so little of it, and we commis-
    erate reflexively.

    Why, our bachelor uncles would
    ask. Why not learn without pit-
    y, except for one's ignorance?

Monday, April 11, 2016

The old shirts ii

Kelly's art was the art of the flâneur,
but of the flâneur who was immersed in
his own empyrean imagination and dis-
tilled each fragment of the world into
an exquisitely enigmatic form ... The
suppressed, almost covert relationship
between the artwork and its quotidian
subject gives these images their quiet-
ly equivocal power. The experience of
nature is masked as it is given an ab-
stract force, so that these reliefs
turn out to be about something bravely,
thoroughly abstract as the idea of fil-
ling space without filling it.

Our masthead introduction did not say
it better than Jed Perl, above, or Gene
Swenson, discussing Lichtenstein: 

The picture is a stringent but amusing exposure of visual as well as social habits.

Ellsworth Kelly
  Blue Diagonal
New York

Ellsworth Kelly in studio

Flâneur revised 

Jed Perl
New Art City
  Welders and others
Knopf, 2005©
op. cit.

Jed Perl
Art in America
  1945 - 1970
  Writings from the age ..
Gene R. Swenson
The New American Sign Painters
  Art News
Library of America, 2014©
op. cit.