I was off work from Christmas Day to January 5th. I had been plagued with a skin disorder for a little over two months. A dermatologist put me on Prednisone three days before Christmas Eve, and it was a relief! to get back to normal. I spent Christmas day and most of the weekend in Fort Worth, then flew back home to quickly play a service, then packed & flew to San Francisco for a week of just walking around. I implored Israel to come with me but he was determined to use the time (re)photographing New Mexico. My guess is that I walked about 12 - 15 miles a day. I only used the rental car on two days. I used the transit system intermittently. I tried to see a movie every day. Lots of art. Good food. Nice drafts all over town in San Francisco. I even managed to have a little fun.

Museums: Hopper in Dallas, the new Piano Pavilion @ the Kimbell, the vapid Mexican show @ the Modern in Fort Worth, the charming Lobel show @ the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Anders Zorn and Matisse @ the Legion of Honor, and most spectacularly - the Hockney and Bulgari shows @ the de Young. If you have a chance to see them, you should not pass it up!

Dallas: American Hustle, Inside Llewyn Davis. Fort Worth: The Wolf of Wall Street. San Francisco: Reaching for the Moon, Her, Breakfast at Tiffany's (@ the Castro), The Past, Raising Arizona (@ the Castro), Blue is the warmest color.

A flickr set.

This is a time-lapse study of the sky. Best viewed in full screen mode.
...his willed solitude is like a second skin. "To myself, I am invisible," he told me. "I've always been hiding out. It's my delusion. But I've been very lucky. Things have befallen me, and I haven't succumbed."

Carl Andre

A couple of friends of Scott's called in the past few weeks, notifying him that some of his photographs were hanging in a current show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He had no idea! This series of hands was done in the mid 60s. There are something like 40 or 50 in the original installation. The hands were reproduced in a fine art publication for the Fluxus Group. He made a special print for me of John Cage's hand from this series several years ago. And he gave me another this fall of a gay artist he thought I would be attracted to: Ray Johnson.

Scott took off on a cross country road trip to his hometown of Portland, Oregon today. His sister had a stroke. He insisted (after I mentioned it three times) that he wanted to drive and not fly. I went by his house last night to see if he needed anything. We listened to several tracks from a Gerry Mulligan CD. My favorite was a recording of Lost in the Stars - a very cool duet between Gerry's bari and a trombone with very light rhythm - only bass and brushes. A perfect anthem for cold December! Here the stars are crystal clear. Scott is still my model for how to be at eighty-five.

more images... )
I enjoyed the John Marin show at the Amon Carter much more than Richard Diebenkorn: the Ocean Park Series at the Modern.

The Kimbell managed to borrow a whopping nine Caravaggios, which in addition to their own were the center of their Caravaggio show. These were augmented very intelligently and sensitively with paintings from his contemporaries & imitators.

Israel was trailed from painting to painting by a muscular Latino who could have conceivably leaped from the paintings themselves. Israel finally struck up a conversation with him. The guy was quite sophisticated and had come for the Caravaggios. He was there with his husband and their ten year old son.

Friday night I re-watched My Architect, the beautiful film about Louis Kahn, the architect of the Kimbell.

...in Dallas for a weekend break.

Today, entering a large room filled with orange balloons, I could feel a drop or two of accumulated stress drip away.

At the height of my anguish last night at 4:00 A.M., I found myself reading aloud The Giving Tree to Israel. I was surprised he didn't know it, and I searched to find it online. (I found only the text.) I explained that I didn't mean to imply that he was the boy - or that anyone was in particular - but that I certainly did relate to the tree. I guess that's what you sow when you work all week like a dog at two jobs and try to maintain demanding goals. (In truth, the boy and the tree are like many dichotomies; the more you can claim one position, the more likely you are to be able to claim its opposite.)

In reviewing the past couple of months, I can see how much I needed a break. The boss has kept me solo on my current project. I think he really likes the look of it, and doesn't want it spoiled by someone else's sense of design or lazy habits. But this makes for very intense days.

I'm afraid in the midst of stress I broke one of my cardinal rules this week: Never show contempt for another person in a business meeting. No one said anything, nor did I make any overt statement. But in review, I think I was less than collegial with someone I'm scheduled to work with soon.

Most people must contend with difficult others. It's not their report card we should worry about but our own. An incapacity to tolerate fools is a trait that most people over the age of 40 should have dropped.

The new year has been kind of rough so far. A bad winter cold, a rash from hell, a cracked rib, a broken water heater, a falling ceiling, not to mention a week of temperatures below 0°F. Friday night I was in the doldrums awaiting the next onslaught when Scott called out of the blue and asked me to join him for First Friday (the day each month that most galleries stay open at night.) He had to talk me into to it, but I joined him.

We went to three galleries, the last of which was the studio of a woman named Jarv. She was about my age. She painted in water colors. Though her paintings were conservative - even traditional - they were quite lovely. She had that water color technique that finds a delicate balance between surrender & control. She had moved here recently from San Francisco with her husband's job transfer. She thought they would return to California at some point, but she said she was enjoying her time here. She even started painting local subjects.

I decided my winter had been bad enough that I needed a treat - so, impulsively, I bought one of her more reasonably priced pieces.

And now I find it's the only thing I own with the image of a cowboy.

Oh well.....

Houston haul.

I met my old friend Jay this morning at the gay-bucks in the Montrose neighborhood. He was at a table with a big, beefy, muscly, friendly man - a police officer for the city of Houston. The conversation turned to vacations. He said the mayor (Annise Parker) was going to be out of town in the next couple of weeks and might approve a few days vacation. I said "So the mayor personally manages your schedule?" Slight faux pas - it turned out his only assignment was the mayor's small security force.

Through the years I've tried to catch most of the movies about poets. The ones I can recall: Total Eclipse (Rimbaud), Little Ashes (Garcia Lorca), Bright Star (Keats). I managed to miss the ones about Stevie Smith and Sylvia Plath. All of these were of course bio-pics - a genre easily prone to problems. Tonight I caught Howl - the most interesting of these films I've seen. Mainly because it was about the poem itself and not per se about Ginsberg's life. The words in the script are solely from an interview Ginsberg made about the poem, the obscenity trial that followed its publication, and the poem itself - which is recited throughout by James Franco. You should check it out.

I didn't know until today - the Menil currently has a Kurt Schwitters exhibition. To my knowledge it's been several decades since the last Schwitters exhibition. So Excited! - he's one of my favorites.
Off for a week of nothing.
Probably just bookstores, reading, museums, and a couple of movies.

IsraelIsrael went with me this year to B.P. for Memorial Day Weekend. We had a good time together, and I usually acceded to his desire for less rather than more contact with the group - though we did manage a few encounters. One I still can feel was the prolonged bear-hugs I received from a studly midwesterner at Steamworks. His embraces combined with the very hot water had a chiropractic effect.
I had the pleasure of meeting the affable [livejournal.com profile] muckefuck, who was warmer than I expected. With Albrecht Dürer hair, a serious demeanor, and a sense of drama he could easily nab the part of the Paschal Lamb Himself at Oberammergau. It was also nice to meet [livejournal.com profile] aadroma.
The Art Institute had a Matisse exhibition which we saw both Friday and Monday. I'm glad we went back. Besides being quietly radiant, it had a subtle organization that I was only cognizant of the second time through. I think the idea was to showcase the A.I.'s large Bathers of 1913-1917 with work that might have logically led up to its painting. It was a successful plan. Matisse repeated not only pictorial composition, but grouping, models, patterns, and colors from one work to another - obsessing over the same material till he had reduced the composition to a few elegant but crucial lines, and the colors to their fundamental essence. The Bathers was hung toward the end of the exhibition. The first painting was a small Cézanne that Matisse had acquired in 1899 at great personal cost. It was also a scene of bathers. Walking through the many paintings, sculptures, and drawings between the two, it was easy to see the powerful effect this small Cézanne had on Matisse and how many of his most celebrated paintings from 1900 thru 1920 are its direct progeny. The exhibition extended the scope to other themes also suggested by the Bathers. I think it was one of the best exhibitions I have seen in a long time. It didn't have the gross and draining blockbuster effect, yet at the same time was not trifling by any means. Each piece was placed with great sensitivity to context, yet nothing seemed forced.

Millennium Park

I am always nostalgic when I have to leave Chicago. I think it is my favorite American city.

1st Sunday off since January.
In DFW with Israel.
Saw lots of art.
Liked best a small drawing by Charles Sheeler.
Warhol - the last Decade really sucked.
Beer on Sunday afternoon.

In Chicago this past weekend for my umpteenth Bear Pride - somewhere along the way I lost count. It was fairly muted for me this time. I only interacted with the bears a little: randomly at the hotel, and in Boystown for a couple hours on Saturday. Other than that I did the flâneur thing, hit the museums, got buzzed at Touché late at night. Of the restaurants I stumbled upon, I liked Blackbird best. At the Art Institute I made a mental short list to keep the visit reasonable. One was to seek out any Zurbarán's. And Zurbarán's there were: a crucifixion in the grand Spanish manner to mirror the Prado Velasquez, and a sublime still life. Close by was the blazing resurrection by Caravaggio's little brother.

Sunday, I flew up to the Twin Cities for John's remembrance on Monday. Sunday evening there were hamburgers at Glenda's nephew's house, replete with husky daddies at the grill, incredible potato salad, and toddlers. The daddies and the teenagers took off to a Twins game, while I took Glenda and John's daughter Megan to the airport to meet a nephew.

Monday was almost a perfect day. John had said he wanted nothing like a memorial but rather something like a Christmas party. Perhaps 150 people were there altogether, it was a come and go event. Highlights for me were witnessing the gracious, successful, and caring person Glenda has become; conversations with John's Chinese relatives; slipping away with Megan to a coffee shop for a quiet break; and a placid ride around the lake with a group of five - each person astonishingly different from the others.

Toward the end of the day, a small group was left in the living room: me, Cindy - a grand daughter of John's sister Mary, and two nephews - Jonathan and Ben. Glenda and Megan were in the kitchen talking. Jonathan asked what music John had left on the piano. There was an old book of Christmas carols, and under that a copy of Schmann's Carnaval and the Kinderszenen. Jonathan asked me to play something out of them. So I opted for the first piece from Kinderszenen, and then Träumerei. His old Knabe was the ideal instrument, and the Schumann pieces were the ideal medium for a chance encounter with his spirit.


Jun. 2nd, 2008 08:48 pm

the cadillacs were painted yellow to salute hunter, by the time we visited on tuesday evening, the tourists had almost covered them back up...



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