Sunday, November 6, 2011

Billy Childish

It’s so hard to know if what you’re making is a piece of crap. Worse, if it’s bullshit. I think you know deep down when you’re fooling yourself, when it’s just pretension. I hope so. Anyhoo.

The Billy Childish opening at Lehman Maupin LES was vitalizing. He talked, read a few poems and also sang a few songs. Lots of anger in the writing, but it’s so much his own that’s it’s not a turn-off. It seems that his anger is directly linked to the high personal standards he has for himself and the world around him. It’s probably fair to say he’s an idealist. Aren’t all artists?

The paintings aren’t angry. They’re bucolic, energetic, loose. I almost liked most, but really loved this volcano here. I feel good in its palette, its image, and also its freedom.

As he related, he was able to let loose in painting once his personal life was no longer in such turmoil. I can understand that entirely. I can’t really think of an example where personal mess and artistic burgeoning co-exist, despite the myth that torment is the stuff of meaningful art. I think you are stable and free.

No comments: