Monday, November 28, 2016

A chance to view "Dragged Mass Displacement"

The renovated East Building of the National Gallery, which reopened two months ago after a three-year closure, is a triumph that is well worth a visit. In particular, those of you who read Philip Gefter's Wagstaff: Before and After Mapplethorpe will want to check out a special exhibition that will be up there through Jan. 29: "Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959-1971."

Like Sam Wagstaff, Virginia Dwan—who at 85 continues to support and nurture artists working in almost every style and medium—is closely associated with the earthworks movement and other site-specific installations. In this show, you'll see photos and videos not only of "Dragged Mass Displacement," the Michael Heizer piece with which Gefter begins his biography of Wagstaff, but many other examples of the genre. (Personally, I find them more interesting in theory than in practice, but at least now I can say I've seen them for myself!)

Truman's Finest Hour?

Precisely 50 years ago today, on Nov. 28, 1966, Truman Capote threw his (in)famous Black & White Ball, an event several of our recent selections have referenced, directly or indirectly, as a cultural turning point.

The Style section of today's Washington Post marks that anniversary with a fascinating article that explores Capote's close relationship with Katharine Graham. It notes that she was one of the very few prominent people to remain his friend even after the Unanswered Prayers debacle.

[Editor's Note: Truman
   punching above his weight
    dancing above his height
with Katharine's daughter Lally.]

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trigger Warning: "Delectable Negro"

Multiple appearances of the N-word (though obviously not in the title). For those who may be traumatized by more than words, I add the subtitle:

  Human Consumption and Homoeroticism within U.S. Slave Culture

See you on the Seventh!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Lorca's Duende

This is the Lorca I mentioned. Merriam Webster defines Duende as: "The power to attract through personal magnetism and charm."
On the back cover: The notion of "duende" became a cornerstone of Federico Garcia Lorca's poetics over the course of his career.  In his lecture "Play and Theory of the Duende," he says, "there are no maps nor disciplines to help us find the duende.  We only know that he burns the blood like a poultice of broken glass, that he exhausts, that he rejects all the sweet geometry we have learned..."  The duende is portrayed by Lorca as a demonic earth spirit embodying irrationality, earthiness, and a heightened awareness of death.  In Search of Duende gathers Lorca's writings about the duende and about three art forms most susceptible to it: dance, music, and the bullfight.  A full bilingual sampling of Lorca's poetry is also included, with special attention to poems arising from traditional Spanish verse forms.  The result is an excellent introduction to Lorca's poetry and prose for American readers.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Munkacsi's "Liberia"

[Be sure to click on the image!]

"This picture is music!"
"I held it out from the collection for you and I want you to have it … I am only going to charge you what I paid for it."