Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bastille Day

Barnett Newman, Be I. Not my photo; the guards at the Menil Collection are on their game.

  • I was walking by the library at lunch, behind one of those college guys that look like they just got here from the awkwardest parts of junior high. There was a totally cute girl walking next to him, flipping her hair, "So, how do you know all this stuff?" I assume they'd just left class. He looked straight ahead and went, "Uh, take notes and pay attention to the lectures?" She giggled, "Oh, OK..." and veered off with him glancing at his phone.
  • I finished Let The Great World Spin. It is flawed and wonderful and reviewed in full at the Goodreads. I'm reading Bret Easton Ellis' Imperial Bedrooms and enjoying the relative simplicity of a book with one narrator as shallow as a cocaine mirror after my nth multi-narrative monster in a row.
  • I had parallels and parables from my Video Game Design class to add to this, but I'm kinda tired of talking bout them, and plus they are right now figuring things out and even collaborating without my exclusive direction, so I will let them be.
  • Somebody on The Twitter suggested that New Orleans start celebrating Bastile Day with at least the same gusto with which they do Cinco de Mayo, the day that Santa Claus comes from the bad restaurant down the street with a sack full of margaritas. I added the part from Santa on.
  • Somehow, this post has taken nearly a week to compose. We went to Houston this weekend to museum it up and not be in Baton Rouge for one goddamn minute. The surrealist stuff up at the Menil Collection is a balm to my spirit, though I find I'm less and less charmed by the Rothko Chapel with each visit after a rather significant peak about 20 years ago. The Cy Twombly Museum though glows with a continuously radiating heat untouched by his recent passing. It is The Art with him, and why he's a favorite. Even sweet old Voice in the Menil and the breathtaking grace of that little stick dragging though the illusion of thick wet paint - seriously, I think I double my knowledge about how art works every time I see one of Jasper Johns's pieces in the flesh - is a different animal from those massive Twombly canvases scribbled upon with the Magic Scrawl of Antiquity.
  • Here's my dilemma: I just don't care for Barnett Newman, though I recognize there is something in there that, if I can just get to it, will be similarly illuminating. I was trying to groove on Be I, a sizable red square bisected by a thin white line and I thought I got it. I want that line to be thinner, a fissure implied in paint like Johns' smear and it isn't; it's a line. I want the red to be clouds, subconscious, a manifestation of Thinking About Red like all those Rothko's there are about brown and black and sunlight, and it isn't, it is flat-ass red. And then I noticed that the line doesn't go all the way through; there is a little chink in the white right at the top and right at the bottom. I thought about when you are messing about with pixel graphics like my campers were all week, using the fill tool to flood an area with red. If there is some little hole in the line, the fill color rushes through and fills everything and I thought "aha!" it's about holes in the supposed absolute. It's about one part of your life bleeding into the next because no matter how pronounced our seperative concepts are, they are still flimsy. We want to fill students with knowledge, children with determination, weekend getaways with merriment, build boundaries between here and there - we saw two people we knew from Baton Rouge sitting outside our hotel in Houston as we drove off for dinner - and well, it doesn't really work. Everything bleeds all over everything. BUT, I still can't give that to Newman; his red is just red, his line just a line. maybe just not a particularly great line. I'm trying to fill his little areas with the red in my bucket and it flows through like nothing is there. Storm the gates and find the fortress empty.
Edited to add: the discussion continues to unpack itself at le roman-fleuve de la femme folette.

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