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Friday, March 18, 2011


by helen frankenthaler

The daffodils are beginning to bloom. Crocus are spreading their petals. Turned the heat off today. Door open. Window open. Let some fresh air flow through. Saw the first towhee today, an orange-black-white bird that scratches among leaves and feeds off the ground. I expect in the past the cats kept the towhee population on the mountain down. Now they can come back. Bird killers don't live here any more. A crow is marching in the meadow beside the house looking for remains of the bread I threw out there yesterday that the crows have eaten by now.

It's been a clear, sun shiny day and I've slept through most of it. Got up early to let Caterpillar out before the dogs get here. I sat reading about General Crook stalking and attacking Indian villages, Indian scouts guiding him. Caterpillar came back in, I went back to bed. In a sound sleep, the phone rang just before 9 and pulled me way up from the bottom of the well. I staggered to the phone and it was the doctor's office telling what the blood drawn yesterday had to say. Staggered back to bed and fell down into the bottom of the well where I stayed until almost 2. Woke then wanting to go on sleeping. Stayed up for awhile reading and went back to bed. Up again later to read some more.

Googled various artists whose work I'm partial to and clicked on IMAGES for pages and pages of pictures of their work. Started with Isamu Noguchi, then Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman, Larry Rivers, Helen Frankenthaler, Sol Lewitt. From time to time I like to look at different artists on the google image pages. Click on one, it gets bigger. Meant to look up Carl Andre and forgot to. Save him for next time. It's like a brief viewing of a retrospective at Moma without having to go there. I love being able to google museums and shows in New York so I can see them without having to go there. Going there takes all the joy out of seeing the pieces. Not entirely. I keep imprinted in my mind seeing Brancusi's Bird In Space, a bronze needle with the aerodynamic shape of bird. Came around a corner and there it was. It's at moments such as that I love civilization for the evolution of the human aesthetic. The war seriousness that dominates everything, the corporate buy-out of democracy, the worship of money, that's the lamentable parts of civilization.

If we really are going to have a thousand years of peace after this disaster we're entering like a boat adrift in a whirlpool, the love of money will have to be crushed to powder and thrown in the fire between now and the beginning of the thousand years of peace. Peace isn't happening as long as we go about like Basset hounds with our tongues lolly-gagging from the side of our mouths, dripping on the floor, the American Dream, more and more money, the fake rabbit leading greyhounds around the track. This is the only way I can see a possibility of peace on earth, good will toward everybody. Or maybe the religions that practice peace, Buddhism and Islam, will become the dominant religions of the earth after the Jerusalem religions kill each other off. Or, like John Lennon said in his song IMAGINE, no religions at all. In the Tao te Ching it says, When there is no desire, all things are at peace. It's true individually, collectively and universally. If we're to have peace universally, it will have to come from individuals.

I've an idea if we really are approaching a lord-will-come-again time, the appearance to all people at the same time, a major realization collectively that the kingdom of Heaven is indeed within, it will have to be so powerful a vision, understanding, realization that it will pass along from generation to generation without corruption until 3,000 AD before there's another conflict. That's inconceivable, also not. Muslims have lived together in peace for a very long time. So have Buddhists. Perhaps when the lord-will-come-again moment occurs, all religions will become one, or none. Whatever the religion case, individual differences will be settled, no longer an issue. Evidently, wanting will fall away. This sounds aboriginal, like the Australian Aborigines, people who can live in the desert where everything they need is provided as needed. Wanting is not an issue. I believe, however, we'll still have civilization, just in a new Era that makes all that went before look feral.

At the same time I complain about war, greed and all that goes with it, I understand that this dark side of civilization generates power to the arts in the light side. The avant-garde art all around the globe is in a time of international renascence. A PBS tv show ART:21 shows 20 minute documentaries of different out-front artists in NY now. It's some incredible art that is wide-open and cut-loose. We're blessed to be in a time when artists in the world's major cities are opening more and more to be included as art, until by now when everything is included, everything is art. Art will undoubtedly flourish everywhere in that thousand years of peace. Human cultures will change radically over that time, even more radically than they have changed over the last 1,000 years. Now, the style is to be hard. Then, the style will be to be gentle. When history is no longer an endless list of wars, we will think very differently. We will no longer look up to generals and guns and killing power. A thousand years of not holding up domination of others the highest, we'll be different. Very different.


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