Haven’t seen much good art or heard good poetry lately, but allowed myself to be rather overwhelmed this weekend. I was in Princeton on Saturday and stepped into the art museum right before closing time, and to my surprise they had just opened a Francisco Toledo show. One large room, but quite an appealing sampling of one of the hemisphere’s greats. I got to see a wonderful Toledo watercolor at a Mexico City apartment of a professor (actually his sister’s) who was trying to pick me up. I will return soon (to the Princeton show) for a longer look.
Sunday - Turner in DC. Much better than the Fort Worth Turner show three years ago, this utilizes a lot of Turners from the Tate and elsewhere, including the many owned by the NGA. One of the best artist retrospectives of recent memory, a must if you like Turner and are a few hours away.
"There are cases in which old age gives, not eternal youth, but on the contrary a sovereign liberty, a pure detachment in which one enjoys a moment of grace between life and death, and in which all elements of the machine combine to launch into the future an figure that cuts through time: Titian, Turner, Monet." -Deleuze & Guattari
I recall the NGA curators characterizing him as an academic painter though breaking with British tradition by preferring landscapes. He spent much time around the academy but there was nothing in his work that resembled the academic painting of the time. He was notoriously secretive about his process of working, and I surmise this to be his way of reconciling his singular style with his savvy cultivation of contacts and official recognition. It’s unlikely that Turner would have started a blog where he’d discuss himself and his relation to the academy.
Seeing Hopper on a weekend day is a bad idea, especially as the NGA only opens at 11am on Sunday. Extremely crowded, over 3x the Turner draw steps away. I liked looking at the masses enjoy Hopper’s naturalisic impulse to depict human beings not as actual individuals but as symptoms of his alienation, more than I liked the paintings themselves. Perhaps authors reading this can earn quick dollars with this formula. An elderly man carrying a video camera tripped on IM Pei's crooked staircase while laboring from one tiny gallery to another and was in extreme pain.
Still no Manet’s The Old Musician. The Grinch is just fixing it I presume.
P Inman - Miles Champion - Lorraine Graham is quite the murderers’ row, and I haven’t seen the DC crowd in a while and seized the opportunity to miss a Eagles game that proffered only torturous futility.
I missed the northerly exit for my usual parking space and found myself at Lincoln Park in SE. On Sundays, you can park at the no parking zone around the park, which is quite pleasant on a sunny day and convenient any Sunday. This is apparently permitted to indulge the church goers, so when I came back to my car at 9pm, approaching the square from the opposite direction, there were no cars there, and I was sure I was towed. Alas, on the other side of the park mine was the only car there.
On the way back I read P Inman’s new chapbook while caffeinating in the Deep Water Diner in Carney’s Point, NJ. I think I have found either the best place to read P or the best book to read at this diner, or both. The poems tune the conversations of the clientele, their words are filtered through P’s utilizing an invisible tube shaped like the chemical plant across the street. This my first visit: it has a neon sign at night that only illuminates the T and the R + Diner, everyone knows everyone else meaning the drunk high schoolers converse with the grey haired workers and people dine alfresco in front of the chemical plant at 11pm. Perhaps the truest of Jersey diners, right after you cross Delaware Memorial you look for the sign to Deep Water, follow signs there towards the river, and take a right at 130.