Thursday, June 16, 2005

June 17
I thought I had lost a word, for what you want to be instead of rigid, and all I've been able to think of is "flexible," which may be the word, but seems too physical. "Adaptable" may be it. But neither one sounds right. Do you ever lose a word? I lost "autism" once for a week or two. I thought, or rather didn't think of it, when we were driving back from the country past a school for those kids (giant size swings, for adolescents), and I didn't have access to a dictionary or computer, and forgot about it when I got home, and kept thinking of it at the wrong time, got panicky over losing the word, and finally, it just came back while I was doing something else, running or walking, probably. But this time, I'm not sure there is a word. Maybe that extremely concrete "flexible" is the word. "Adaptable" is okay. Now what seems to be missing, is a perfect word

June 16
More Museum! Writers group at Suzanne's last night, but I went early to do what amounts to finishing my visit last week--to see the Max Ernst retrospective. I was feeling some jealousy over the supreme self-confidence of all those twentieth century artists with their manifestos and convictions. In this case, the Surrealistes. I've been mostly interested in modern/20th century art lately, since I've been back from Italy, as if in my desire for the appropriate cultural manifestations of a place, the real thing to see in New York is modern and twentieth century.
Anyhow, some of Ernst's really did it for me– in general, the colorful ones, his famous Bride with the thick grattage, one absolutely splendid red mountain (maybe after he was spending time in the U.S. Southwest?) The foreboding forests too, and the various cities in decline--a lot of his work very similar to science fiction illustration, probably some of the same horror and fascination at what was/is happening to civilization. Anyhow, I liked least, was least moved by, the most precisely demonstrated theories, the most self-consciously intellectual, or perhaps in the case of a professing surrealist, anti-intellectual, the less I liked it. The big lush splendor of imaginary landscapes and some of the most complex dreamscapes, the more I was moved. I also liked his little "novels" and illustrations that were collages of nineteenth century prints. Lots of wit and humor: which reminds me not forget the the hilarious Blessed Virgin spanking the Baby Jesus that got him into so much trouble in Cologne, I believe. Ernst's life is interesting, too, soldier in WWI, living in France with no papers, being interned as a foreign national during WWII, etc.. Really exciting and good stuff.