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Saturday, March 17, 2012

CUBISM AND JUAN WILLIAMS

            picasso, the poet, 1911


Little have I done today. It's been a day of rest. Turned in last night around 3 after writing about the Elizabeth laPrelle show. Wide awake, felt like writing to you. I give myself permission to follow how I feel about something. I've done for some years without much reflection. In the work world, how you feel about it isn't a consideration. There might be cases, but I can't think of any, besides some kind of sickness. I like that state employees sometimes take "a mental health day." Since I have transcended the work world, grew up through it, I don't need mental health days. I can follow my feelings. Jr Maxwell, banjo picker, tractor mechanic, sawmiller, welder, told me more than once that following your feeling is the most important. His other counsel was patience. Patience is everything. These were observations he learned along his way by experience. Now that I'm able to follow my feelings all the time, I can't imagine not doing it. But our heads get caught up in the uncertainty that comes with "making money." Smile big at the right people, the ones with the most money, power.


That part of being subservient to the need to keep enough money coming in to meet expenses, it's gone. I don't need to influence anybody into believing I'm somebody special. I don't have to be anything at all. Up at regular time this morning, saw the movie that came in the mail, Picasso And Braque Go To The Movies. Glad it was only an hour. It had much interesting information about new film making, how Cubism became like the natural next thing. I have to say it was a good film. One thing it showed me, I really don't care anything for Cubism. I look at one of the paintings, think, Would I like to try that, just to see how it's done? Answer: No. I don't care how it's done. It was something Picasso and Braque and some others were doing at the time. Great. I'm glad for them. Still, a Cubist painting leaves me feeling nothing, certainly never excited, like something by Andre Derain can excite me, or something by Robert Rauschenberg. Seeing all the Cubist paintings and listening to very interesting artists and art historians held my interest. One thing I saw was evidence of what I've seen here and there, people in the art world saying Picasso was the last great painter of the 19th Century.


It's not my concern to make those kinds of statements. Such distinctions are other people's ways of seeing it. I have to agree. They make a convincing case, especially now, looking back over the entire "modern" period seeing where it has gone. It has gone through Marcel Duchamp. Picasso had as little influence on what followed him as Led Zeppelin, the Stones, Janis Joplin had on what followed them starting 1975, punk, unto the present. The Velvet Underground is the Sixties band whose influence evolved into punk, Bo Diddley flowing through the Velvet's sound. It is Marcel Duchamp's art that flows through the experimental time of the 20th Century. Picasso was the most famous artist through the 20th Century, because his prices were out of reach, having nothing to do with the art of what he was making. His distorted faces became an idea of 20th Century art's dissolving forms, but one that goes back before 1915, the time of Dada and Duchamp.


I found a biography several years ago of Picasso, written by Ariana Huffington, now a famous liberal. Her biography of Picasso was run down by the critics, laughed at. But I thought she did a beautiful job of portraying him. She used his astrological chart, a major no-no in serious biography writing, and she wrote of him from a woman's perspective. The critics faulted seeing him through a woman's eyes, but half the people in the world are women. Why not? She brought it forward that he was mean to his women. They groveled for him. It must have been his Spanish macho need to dominate women. Through the course of his story, I came to resent his treatment of the women in his life. He had the name a great lady's man, because he was known to have had so many. That's not really a lady's man. That's somebody with major issues. An artist. Why not tell in his biography, the biography of an artist, after all, that he had some serious psychological issues? Everybody does. Artists tend to let their issues ride on the surface, while others push their issues down out of sight. It kinda makes me gag when I hear somebody ga-ga about Picasso the great. He was just a man.


After the film, I took a nap. I was ready for a nap again after seeing the film again this afternoon. The second half hour made me want to put it on hold and have a nap. Held out. Movie over, I didn't feel like getting up. Waking from the nap, I had a cup of coffee and finished Juan Williams's book MUZZLED, which I've been in for several months. Read the first half, took a break of months and read the second half. He has tapped one of the serious problems of our time. There are so many, however, this is one of many. It was such an audacious firing of him by management at NPR, I'm glad he told the story out in the open. The best was telling Williams to talk to no one but his psychiatrist about his firing. To be told such a thing is such effrontery it needs revealing publicly. On its release, Williams was on a long string of radio and tv talk shows. His story needs telling and he told it well.



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