Follow by Email

Monday, February 20, 2017

new york news

about to post what I wrote for the Oxford Magazine, assuming that is ok, no one who reads this would read that, methinks

Funny thing: when you retire, exactly what everyone had been telling me would happen, happens. Now it is not really that I don't believe my friends, but it is rather astonishing to my easily astonished self that what occurs is just that. So here is some of it.

I have been, of course, because you continue to do what you love to do, writing for the Brooklyn Rail, and seeing many shows in Chelsea in order to write about them (you see, you write, you keep on)... so a piece for the February issue on the avant-garde of the  Russian Revolution at MOMA, and another on a book of paintings and poetry by Sarah Plimpton called The Noise of Rain. And then a much worked-over  piece for PORTER, which seems to be a journal of global reach, about Dora the shadow of her rather famous boyfriend. But let me say now what we been doing in this enormous city, apart from my going to the three-day meeting of art historians from all over, and so exciting it was, in the Hilton Hotel, about how,  in this GHASTLY political age right now and here (let alone Brexit, which, since I have also a British passport, is horrific to me), about how and what to write about art and teach about writing and art, and so on.

My husband and I went a very timely (but everything is right now) play about Kunstler, a brave lawyer in times of duress, but then what is not that?
and are watching Victoria, of course, the way all Americans watched Downton Abbey and before that, Upstairs Downstairs and the Jewel in the Crown. Even those of us who do NOT have British passports (I am actually of Scottish descent, from the Isle of Skye) watch with fascination everything from the BBC and such. And yes, I have been reading biographies of Kenneth Clark, 2 of them in fact...And going to presentations of Meghan Marshall's recent life of Elizabeth Bishop, A Miracle for Breakfast, the most recent one with Rosanna Warren, great translator, writer, and biographer. And friend.

Everything, especially, like everyone I know, anything Shakespeare like. So we went way out to Brooklyn to sit in a sort of prison and see The Tempest, straight from the Donmar Playhouse, with Harriett Walters, and had just seen, at the Frick Museum, a Marivaux play perfectly adapted to the rooms of Fragonard and so on. And tomorrow, we go again out to Brooklyn, now that the magnificent 2nd avenue subway is subwaying, to see an HD performance (sold completely out in Manhattan proper) of Rysalka the opera. My daughter and I had done that once before, for a triple bill, including Phaedra (with Isabelle Huppert, who is always doing everything), and I had gone with Susan Barile to see a performance of Thomas Bernhard's The Loser, about Glenn Gould, how not?  and years ago, in a former life, to see the nine-hour (yes) Mahabharata, and then later, for some Thomas Adès, on and on...

So we are fortunate, in New York to have Brooklyn!

I was about to forget the most amazing Max Beckmann exhibition, at the Met Museum, in which a glorious group of self-portraits introduces this extraordinary painter, celebrating sixty-six years after he died of a heart attack on the way to see an exhibition of his own paintings, including one in a blue jacket -- this one, and the one the Met had  de-accessioned, to the scandal of the art world --  and there is on show even the painting on which he was working, in New York, the very day before he died. It is one of those exhibitions you go back to see innumerable times, with various persons, and this was my umpteenth visit...Particularly interesting to me are his paintings of cafés (the dreadful and dread-filled one in Amsterdam when he knows Mussolini is about to be doing his stuff) , and the ones of hotel lobbies in Manhattan and the St.Regis bar, with all those reflecting mirrors, going deeper and deeper into reflections of all sorts, and someone falling, and elsewhere, someone hanging from the ceiling...

and upstairs is Hercule Seghers, a pre-surrealist if there ever was one, with the entire oeuvre imported from the Rijksmuseum, in the subtlest colors of printing imaginable, each in various hues, each and all so fragile and so wraught, with unimaginable landscapes which indeed stretch our own imagination -- we could have stayed there for hours, but better, I always think, to return with fresh eyes...

Downstairs, in the Lehman wing, is a truly fascinating display of various posters and prints and sources related to Seurat's Parade, the Circus Side-Show, where you might well concentrate on one thing: say, the trombonist standing the way he does, or the onlookers' heads turned to the left, or the gaslights, or the marks of his conté crayon... I well remember dwelling on Chahut, Seurat's odd and revelatory rendering of La Goulue dancing, of the conductor's baton pointing to the lack of underwear, and how one could go on for ages about that, and -- at this point, I feel I  have gone on just about too long. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

So exciting, scary, and réal, yes, réal! never mind that they (who ever is they?) are or is putting an accent over my e in everything I wirte, seems odd, because I DO write in English also..
but the (get back to exciting) thing is this now started project on art colonies and cafés and tables and all that, gathering places, all over Europe, first for US peintres and writers and then others -- for my book with Reaktion, I love just beginning
am doing a surréalism anthology for New Directions, now I LOVE working with New Directions, one of my first beloved publishers

I just sent out a Tweet (do I link to my tweets, don't know how, can learn, should have asked Ruth Franklin the other day  -- it is like your MIND is often not in the same PLACE as your body but then that has always been true

ah, IF I could write fiction - I tried on one sabbatical, about the library of Cambridge where I was living just after, or was it during, my divorce, but quelle not interesting histoire it was being

bac, to read The Art of Rivalry, am living it

Thursday, January 12, 2017


ah, perhaps I will gird my loins and WRITE but have to swim and then go see the Réversible Destiny Foundation (I loved Arakawa and Madeline Gins) and then a birthday, and the days go like that,
very fortunately
The delightful Ruth Franklin just gave us in the Women Writing Women's Lives séminar a sketch of the kind of thing we should and could put on twitter and Facebook, neither of which I have been doing ANYTHING with, but was convinced it was a good idea, for the books we are about to publish and for getting in touch with those who might be able to help us with the ones we are now working on

I was convinced! So I think I sent out a tweet about my forthcoming Blaise Pascal: miracles and reason, and about my présent work on artist colonies, and also went on Facebook, because so many of my friends do seem to be using them both

I LOVED my class on Film Arts giving me a Golden Bowl the last day, and loved showing Derek Jarman's grand and moving Caravaggio on the next to last day, and now will be speaking about the Golden Bowl at a club next year or, I hope, the next

now off to sim, boring but probably a good idea

Sunday, January 1, 2017

oh, new year's day 2017

eons ago, my father, who didn't speak a lot, as I perhaps faultily remember, said we should say Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit, to begin each New Year
so when we woke this morning, I was saying inside my head just that, but then we launched into how delightful it was to have lots of friends over last night on New Year's Eve instead  of going out --
and it was, even if the goose was rather (very) overcooked, why did it matter at all ? It didn't and it was a joy all around, including even dishes -- never bothers me, putting in, taking out -- that isn't important, and friends are
so the 2nd ave. subway opens officially today, 2 hours ago -- we will go down to Canal Street and Chinatown tomorrow and have dim sum, of which actually I only like the fried shrimp or whatever comes all frizzled, have never liked those damp pockets of stuff, but I like Boyce's liking and that again is what matters
am about to launch into the next 2 years' project, which is at the moment called Modernist Gatherings: tables and moments, and is about how artistic personae are happy leaving tables where pp either ritually or just occasionally, like happenings, persons either of like or different minds gather either once or many times and go then later about their artistic business more creatively... I signed a contract for it with beloved REaktion Books, who have done, what, six or seven books of mine, the latest being a Pascal (miracles and reason, I don't feel deeply allied with  either of those sides, but his being fascinates me and has for years: the self-punishment and the manysided brain workings and the revelation and the haunting)
ah, happy new year to anyone who might read this!

Friday, December 23, 2016


goodness, how remarkable it is to be, to be ABLE to lament privately and publicly, about anything, about how the world has changed since November, not just here but everywhere
today, which happens to be Dec. 23 in the wee hours, I remember a full yesterday, spent trying to doctor my SimplyWoolf text, which, says Charley who runs this bizarre ebook only series -- I accept everything I have never done, so I said suddenly YES to Woolf, having said YES to Proust (I would always say YES to anything Proust of course) but someone else said previously yes, I did our beloved everyone's football heroine Woolf, and now have to do it WHAT? chronologically! imagine writing a biography chronologically, not just thematically, anyway I started that -- then went to MOMA to meet my from so long ago friend Michele Cone, and we saw the Russian Revolution, amazing, large, VERY large, had lunch to celebrate her anniversary with Terry, also from North Carolina, like me , and I had clam tagliolini because at Marea the other night to celebrate Carol Richards' birthday (she saved me for a year at the Getty in 1998 I think it was because I had no car and only a bike (a year in LA with no car, because I don't drive, and she was stupendously great, like Marjorie Perloff, whom I would celebrate any time I could, and where is
ah, so I had seen that the superdirector Peter Richards, whose Anna Christie we ventured out to see in the freezingest night I remember for ages and it was wonderful, anyway, so Peter was having tagliolini and I envied it SO I HAD IT FOR LUNCH at the MODERN and it was really grand

then we saw the Russian exhibition, wow, very wow, and then I went back up to Picabia, for which Michele had written, then photography because I ran into, well, walked into Richard Kramer who had just seen it, then an Italian film something like Venice, the Moon and so on, then supper with Boyce at a new place, Radicchio because of black linguini with seafood and now back to the SimplyWoolf, and yes I would write about her any time I was asked to also
AND Matthew and Emily will have a baby boy and so Christmas is here, since they are here from Cambridge in the old country as it were
so goodnight

Saturday, November 12, 2016

In Japan now, gave talk on violence out and in: the explosive erotics of Dada and  Surrealism, mostly showing images from both, including Japanese, and wonderful audience and group
about eroticism veiled and the dance of the surrealist encounter and all that, today am being taken to Kyoto, which I loved before, and tomorrow to Hamammatsu to talk in a professor's class, whose thesis I directed
then back to ny to teach my film class the next day
spoke in New London, Ct., on Robert Motherwell, on panel with the Dedalus Foundation representative and a master printmaker, with both of whom we had panels before
then at Penn, with friends I had known, like Eric Sellin, and the brilliant and beautiful and alltogether delightful Wendy Steiner
and this week I teach, well, share about Jean Cocteau and next week also, then Derek Jarman, and Caravaggio via Glenn Gould and Bernhard's The Loser
so they are both dessert
off to Kyoto now