Friday, July 30, 2010


With no air conditioning in either studio space, and the temperature in the high 90s, I've retreated to the local libraries. Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word is a diatribe against the late 70s NYT assertion that for art "to lack a persuasive theory is to lack something crucial." Wolfe inverts this statement, and claims it means that "without a theory to go with it, I can't see a painting." His rapier wit felt cooling on a hot day. Wikipedia tells me the book got Wolfe called a fascist, eunuch and worse. Probably he chortled all the way to the bank.

I've hauled home huge volumes, looking at the work of artists mentioned during my too-brief painting course this spring. Most recently I read The Art of the Real: I've never studied the biographies and artist statements like this before. It is eye opening, to see a life laid out against the work. Franz Kline, Roger Muhl, Charles Burchfield, Wayne Thiebault. So many interconnections and resonances. So much work. Interesting to note, too, where a mentor or a sponsor shows up. Not to mention the wives. I think I would like to read more about them, too.

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