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September 11, 2003

Pic of the Day -- Romare Bearden

Friedrich --

Reading the NYTimes' arts section over lunch.

Step one: groaning through another piece of Herbert Muschamp's high-falutin' nonsense-poetry masquerading as architecture criticism. I used to enjoy hating his writing more than I do now -- the spectacle of his self-exhilarated grandstanding used to make me giggle uncontrollably. (The Wife remembers these fits.) These days, I'm a little weary of his preening. But -- hats off to him -- he still does manage to generate more gasp-inducing sentences than any other arts writer I'm aware of. My favorite from this morning's column (about an Ellsworth Kelly proposal for the WTC site): "But New Yorkers have developed an extraordinarily supple attitude toward reality in the past two years." What's this man on?

Step two: enjoying this informative Felicia Lee piece about Romare Bearden (here), who's being given a solo retrospective at the National Gallery. Are you a Bearden fan? I am. He lived from 1911 to 1988; studied for a while under George Grosz; was part of the Ralph Ellison/Albert Murray set of African-American intellectuals and writers, to my mind one of the most wonderful and admirable of all American art-intellectual movements; and has been an inspiration to such relative youngsters as Wynton Marsalis and August Wilson. When it's weak, his work -- which fuses African-American folk qualities with early-modernist techniques -- can get a little Sunday supplement-ish and family-of-man-ish. But at its strongest, I find it as formally interesting as Braque's, and as magical and sweet as the best Chagall.

Here's an example, a 1969 collage on board entitled "Black Manhattan." Clicking on the thumbnail below will bring up a larger version of the picture.

There's no shortage of Bearden online to be enjoyed. Here's the site of the National Gallery's show. Here's the website of the Romare Bearden Foundation. Here's Artcyclopedia's page.

And now back to work ...



posted by Michael at September 11, 2003


"...a supple attitude toward reality..."

I've said this phrase about 20 times now. It's making me feel gross. Why is that? Supple...I think he just ruined the word.

So, if I understand this, New Yorker's now have a more pliable state of mind in regard to qualities of truth, then they did 2 years ago.

Before you were unsupple...suppleless. No, I think you were possibly displaying certain faux-supple qualities, or donning a sans-a-supple attitude, fully entrenched in mind-bending supple-phobia.

Oh to be supple in demeanor. Oh to have a supple attitude toward reality. Is he saying that New Yorkers are now all fitted with rose colored glasses? No, not that. What is he saying???

Posted by: laurel on September 11, 2003 10:13 PM

He's got you in his claws now! I can tell that you'll soon be a Muschamp groupie, just like I am. Together we can attend to his every word and watch our minds turn into pretzels.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on September 11, 2003 10:41 PM

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