Saturday, March 31, 2007
Bow Down to the Ones You Love
A former and favorite teacher of mine, Michael St. John, has a show at Marvelli this month called Revolution Blues. The work refers to all my favorite things: Philip Guston, revolutionary figures, loss, the Black Panthers. And formally speaking, I’m tickled pink: a 1960s graphic sensibility, text, appetizing surfaces.
What I wonder is, is it enough for work to draw on values and visuals I hold dear? If the photograph of Fassbiner in this painting were of someone I did not admire, would I be so attracted to the work? How much of the appeal is right there in front of me, and how much comes from my head, from what I come to the work with?
I’ve sometimes wondered the same about Martin Scorcese’s use of music in his film. I am always happy to hear a Stax hit or even a loud Rolling Stones tune, but does the soundtrack do more than just make me happy. Does it serve a separate work or does it make the work?
As I don’t think anyone reads this blog, this debate will remain mostly in my head. Of course, if there’s anyone out there…