Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Through the Wormhole

The other day someone asked me to compile a list of all of the artists I think are important or that I admire. I resisted that because (A) the list is constantly growing, (B) Names are constantly falling off the list and (C) I'm not sure that what I think and who I admire is all that important. My list of artists is accumulated through more than a half-century of looking at art. I miss so much because there is so much to look at, way more than could ever be accommodated by a single eye. Then, there is the fatigue factor. I will often go to look at art with the strictest notion that I will only look at a few things. This keeps me from wearing out too quickly. But, if one is to grow and add to her or his body of experience, this means that one must go often to look.
Now, I have to admit, that I don't go as often as I used to, anymore, but I still manage 20 or 30 times a year to pray in the temple and give witness to the holiest of holies. It's just that my liturgy makes no sane sense. I have wept at the first glimpse of a Jackson Pollack, yet felt complete indifference in the presence of a Tintoretto. On the other hand, I admit, I can't muster much enthusiasm for much of contemporary careerist art. By the way, someone should tell a few of the highest of the high and broadest of the broad, that not all work by A-list artists is an A.
I am a huge fan of Diebenkorn, for instance. Some years ago one of the local museums, I forget which, had a comprehensive survey of his "Ocean Park" series. I entered the show in a very enthusiastic frame of mind- but after a while, grew quite exhausted- and somewhere toward the end of the show, I had what I can only describe as an otherworldly experience where I am sure I heard the voice of Diebenkorn's ghost yelling at some harried studio assistant to run down to the hardware store and get more masking tape because they had a deadline to meet.
To the person that I resisted: I have started working on that list.

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