Friday, October 26, 2007

This from Gertie

Gertrude Stein is really just full of interesting stuff, and although we couldn't be more different, generally speaking, we do share the firm belief--albeit often unshared by others--in our own particular genius.

She writes:
"It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing."
Which is an amusing quote--one I couldn't possibly let just sit there without adding, roughly paraphrased, James Thurber's famous thought on workplace behavior:
"The hardest thing about my job is convincing my wife that staring out the window is part of it."
To which I will now add a note from The XW--someone who doesn't get enough screen time here at The Year of Magical Painting:
"Geoff has developed reading The New York Times into an art-form."
She gets her own color.

I don't think it was meant as a compliment, but I'm taking it that way.

And speaking of The Times, I found myself in Chelsea last night, in the Sonnabend Gallery, staring at a work by Gilbert & George titled "Blood on Shit." It's maybe ten by twenty, so no wonder they couldn't fit the whole image on the screen. Or maybe they are worried about copyright issues.

Anyway, this is most, but not all of it:

It was hard to see, for me at least, because my date was so searingly beautiful I had to squint to avoid eye damage. I swear to God, to see this girl in sunlight would surely be to see Marxism die. I remember thinking, "She's so hot, if I can just hang in there 'til breakfast, I can fry the eggs right on her stomach."

It's good to be famous.

But that's not the point. The point is that there we were, staring at this odd but remarkable work. And now, a day later, I read that the gallery owner, Ileana Sonnabend, died a couple of days ago. Her first New York show? Those same Gilbert & George.

Of Mrs. S. and G&G The Times writes:

Mrs. Sonnabend’s exhibitions often had the art world talking. One was “Underneath the Arches,” in which the British team of Gibert & George, painted gold and wearing tweed suits, lip-synched a British vaudeville song over and over. The performance opened Mrs. Sonnabend’s gallery at 420 West Broadway — one of the earliest in SoHo — in 1971.

This is why we read The Times carefully.

FYI--In 1971 I was crawling through barbed wire wearing nothing but pig lard and a large sharp knife. There are nights when I wake up and can still smell that shit (A spooky thought as Hallowe'en {honestly, how pretentious is throwing that apostrophe between those two Es?} approaches). We did, once the acid had kicked in, take turns painting each other's faces in what could only be called "haute camo"--irregular stripes of heliotrope. viridian and celeste.

My boy Frankie C. later copped our whole gig for "Apocalypse Now."

And that, dear reader, is how I started painting faces.

Because Life is a Circle, it is worth noting that the first time I ever showed a painting in New York was at the Viridian Gallery on 25th Street.




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