09 December 2012

My mother attended a Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) set with, so she recalls, a quintet, on a Sunday afternoon at a UPenn fraternity with about fifty students present. "That's the way Philadelphia was then."(now)

Later she was dating a cousin of Gerry Mulligan, who informed her that Gerry was a black sheep in the family and no one spoke to him. She induced him to take her to one of his shows and then to approach him. Twenty minutes later, Gerry was overjoyed, saying he hadn't been greeted warmly by a family member for years.

Then my Dad came calling and she got him to take her to see Nina Simone at a club, where he felt out of place and complained about the price of drinks. He didn't listen to music but liked it when I put on a Bing Crosby Christmas album once and enjoyed Lionel Hampton at Disneyworld. Breton (#nodads), de Chirico (#yesdads), and Michaux (#nosoonercouldItalkthanIsaidIwasafoundling) didn't like music either.  Michaux more directly and specifically stuck up for the printed word's presentaton of connotation than the once-Dada Breton, who was rumored to have liked Sun Ra (perhaps for his manifestoes). de Chirico (right, "A Child's Brain") was as usual strident and proud:

"I have always remained perplexed by these moments of public excitement over music and musicians, and also by the infinite patience with which so many individuals, apparently sane in mind and body, sit in concert halls and listen, for hours on end, motionless but visibly tired and bored, to symphonies and very long-drawn-out compositions which are never-ending and, what is even worse, pieces of modern music. I have wondered why the same thing isn't done for painting; why for example in a room, facing a public armed with binoculars and opera-glasses, pictures (naturally not modern ones) are not shown, and why the public is not forced to look at each picture for a time corresponding to the duration of a long symphony : that is, about sixty minutes. I do not believe that looking for an hour, with the eye of a painter and the mind of a philosopher, at a large and beautiful composition by Titian or Reubens, should be less interesting and more tedious than listening to a long symphony or a long concerto for the same period. Why is this not done?"

Titian, Venus and the Lute Player

Georgio's answer next week.

OK I'll write it in now, in case I forget: "I believe that the explanation of the difference can only lie in human stupidity which, as I have already said.. is as immense and infinite as the universe."

I've been known to sit in front of single paintings as long as I'm not making the staff uncomfortable, though I don't usually go for the "have it both ways" approach to Titian's and de Chirico's allegorical problem: the mp3 player, which seems rude to my sensibilities, especially in galleries (and in case Schjeldahl's there and I need to correct him) but one time Zwirner had construction sounds from outside and I cued up tunes for a Daniel Richter show and found it most delightful.  Speaking of long views and Daniel Richter, I once sat on the floor of the Zwirner cubicle at the Armory to hang with his "Ophelia" and the previous year stared at the very large "The Owner's History Lesson" for the longest time when it was hung in front of a cafe area and no one was looking at it... the only person who seemed to notice me was I believe the guy who, I read later, ran the Armory Show and he seemed to approve. Hard to pull yourself away from his large canvases when he's at his top form and content yourself with something else.

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