Wednesday, October 20, 2010


(Joan Mitchell)

In last week’s New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl ended his review like this: “Then those movements [after Abstract Expressionism], too, disintegrated, and it’s been pretty much one damn thing after another ever since.”

I love how Scheldahl sticks to his guns.

Sticking to your guns is a good expression. I picture a guy in a field – and he’s going to die, it’s for sure, because the enemy has him surrounded – but he stays put, gun cocked and ready to defend himself.

And don’t you love the use of the word “damn” here. Damn is onomatopoetic for anger. Rightly placed, it’s a bomb.

Kind of like the word “Dealer.” Dealer is onomatopoetic for money. It makes no bones about it, especially because of the earthy “D” sound. “Wheel and deal” is good too, creating a sense of non-stop movement, maybe because of a slimy ground.

In any case, art changes, just like everything else does, in accordance with the law of impermanence. Artists have got to follow the beat of their own drum through it all. Or die.

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