Monday, April 25, 2005


Back from Passover in Mt. Kisco. Good to see everyone, and gather, around the table, the many lines-of-descent and relation. Best gefilte fish ever. A very, very short Haggadah, but one which featured "Go Down, Moses!" Passover can either be unbearably poignant, or if there's no awareness of the wider social and political implications, intolerable. This one was good: no-one is free until everyone is free.

Noah was quite impressed with all the trucks and busses in Manhattan, all the beep-beep-beeps and multilayer reflections the rain played down around him. We live next to the main road into town here in Ithaca, and so trucks, banging against the potholes outside our door, have become an integral part of his dream life.

Happy to get to the Whitney and see the Twombly and Hawkinson shows, each one a delight in its own completely different way. Twombly's housepaint and crayon "blackboard" paintings are much more interesting in real life than in reproduction-- the subtle grayscale play and graininess of the lines doesn't come through a photograph. It put me in mind of the painter, forced by the AbEx syndicate to write the same sentence over and over until finally, thank god, it loses all meaning: I will not make referential art. I will not make referential art. I will not make referential art.

That Twombly was a Army cryptographer makes absolute sense.


Ah Cy Twombly
when you think of him
doing his military service in Somewhere, U.S.A.
as a cryptographer
in 1953
you know how inscrutable the 20th century can be

1)But Bolsena! Inside that gorgeous midden heap of rectangles and decoy measurements, there's an encrypted do-it-yourself Italian landscape. Arcadia-by-numbers. Shipping and handling not included.

2)The hours of the clock wander off, cotangential, to look at bargains in Romantic sleepwear.
Someone is carrying a windowacross a field.

3) The late Twombly paintings (of the '80s and '90s) are irresistibly gorgeous. Beautiful, inviting unmade beds. High rent colors and the inexhaustible particularities of the flower. But aren't they Joan Mitchell? As good as, maybe better than, but. . .

4) But no Letter of Resignation and no Poems to the Sea. For my money, that's as good as it gets, by anyone.

More on Hawkinson later.

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