Monday, March 12, 2012

Bloomsbury and Two Farewells

Early morningish again... Went to play at 59 east 59 theatre, Eternal Equinox, by Joyce Hokin Sachs, produced by Grove Theater Center, very surprisingly authentic-feeling. Studio space at Charleston, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, with George Mallory coming in, before the second Everest climb. Picture of Charleston (rescued, ahem, by my cousin Debo Gage, who created the Charleston Trust in 1980 -- about whom Quentin Bell said to me: "your cousin breezed in and saved us" -- and of Vanessa and Duncan and Mallory also. Studio looked like the studio, pictures on wall looked like the ones we know, by Duncan and Vanessa, and Vanessa was played, I thought, to perfection. Very remarkable indeed, after the super productions recently of Mrs. Dalloway and, less recently, of Orlando done like a lyric poem. Would be nice to have a small Theatre Fund to send one's Ph.D. students to such delights...

On the other side of things, the destructive side, the green tent of Billy's Antiques that used to be pitched at East Houston in the Bowery has had its funeral procession. Songs, poems, mary: " And a dirge: "Don't Giggle at the Corpse." It was like a museum of madness, said an onlooker, and people cut out pieces of the green fabric for remembering -- itself reminiscent of the orange squares distributed during and after the Christo Gates here a few years ago. Yes, I have my orange square, and so does my daughter Hilary.

One more loss: The Monkey House from the gorgeous and much-revered Bronx Zoo, the last of the Beaux-Arts Animal House: I remember loving it, way before I knew what Beaux-Arts anything was, and before we started deploring the Colonial anything -- exhibitions, epochs. I grew up in what I suppose was sort of the Colonial South: what did I know? Little, probably, and probably also now. In any case, Charles Siebert has written an informed meditation on this, and animal displays, "Farewell to the Monkey House," in the New York Times of Sunday, March 11.

Must go to see the Francesca Woodman exhibit at the Guggenheim, and the (again!) Exquisite Corpse thing at MOMA... a while back, we had the Retour du Cadavre Exquis, at the drawing Center, with artists sending in their own Exquisite Corpses from all over, and, gloriously, it doesn't seem to be dying out, again. So maybe there was and is something freeing about this so delightfully collective game, starting with "les petits papers" on which you wrote something and passed it on, or drew, ditto. Nice when things don't die out.

So I've been writing things for art galleries and loving it: Surrealism and the New World, for the Weinstein Gallery in San Francisco, and now on Andre Masson and the Mythology of Desire for the BlainDiDonna gallery here, and next a Miro and his Poets... And I LOVED translating the very very untranslatable Gherasim Luca for Rainer Hanshe's new press, Contra Mundum...Next, an early Cendrars, why not?

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