"Whalers (Boiling Blubber) Entangled in Flaw Ice, Endeavouring to Extricate themselves"
Attended a wonderful reading atop the Arsenal building in Central Park yesterday, GC Waldrep read some stunning new poems. I know I always bluster on about how much I love his work, but what can I say? The man is good. These new poems stretch themselves through a series of meditations, much like the denser, thoughtful poems in Goldbeaters Skin, but they get where they're going through a plainness of language & a simplicity of emotion that strikes me as a new turn in his work. None of them have been published yet & I only heard them once, so I can't say too much other than I look forward to reading these.
Before the reading I went to the Turner & the Bourgeois exhibits yesterday. The Turner included a painting with the title "Whalers (Boiling Blubber) entangled in Flaw Ice, endeavouring to extricate Themselves" so you know he meant business. The Bourgeoise included a series of architectural drawings with text & one read "The solitary death of the Woolworth building." (see the set of drawings in far less impressive presentation here.
Both shows seemed designed to impress a single-sentence reading of their work on the viewer: Turner struggled between a commitment to the drama of form & the play of light & the disembodied sublime & Bourgeoise delves the relationship between the gendered body & the emotional & political permutations of interiority. In this respect the shows were well thought out. Moving from the top to the bottom of the Guggenheim I truly felt like I was descending back into the life of an artist via recurring motifs & styles; wandering through the rooms at the Met I felt Turner's struggle between disparate goals. But whereas I walked out of the Guggenheim feeling like I'd attended an extraordinarily good lecture, I walked out of the Turner exhibit feeling like I could stumble & become a refraction of light.
"Red Room (Parents)" of Bourgeoise's is absolutely stunning (this shoddy photo I found online does not do it any justice, of course)--the walls of doors motif of her cell installations here is at its best, becoming both the entrance & the exclusion, allowing the gaps between the doors to be little glimpses to augment the mirror that you see at the opening to the room. On the red bed there is a red train car on a single pice of toy track, all reflected in the mirror. You don't need more than Intro Theory knowledge of Lacan to begin digging into this from that direction, but in addition to the psychodrama at work in the piece there is a terrifying sadness to the austere mix of adult & childish signifiers. It's aesthetically haunting while being theoretically compelling, like crying while dancing.
While the watercolor sketches of the burning of the Parliament buildings are the stars of the show, the piece that really knocked me out at the turner exhibit was "The Thames above Waterloo Bridge" a snow-murked wash of white paint enveiling a beautiful landscape composition. Perhaps because it was one of the few paintings in the show that worked itself into abstraction through quietness rather than the tarantellic dance of light, this painting mesmerized me. Its the one that i keep seeing when i close my eyes.
Oh, we also saw the Superhero Fashion show, which is, well...