beautiful sadness



The Dylan Painting

Originally uploaded by markart


I saw this Brice Marden painting at the San Francisco MoMA a couple weeks ago. The picture doesn’t begin to capture the depth and intensity of the color. Nor its grand size. (Though I was still delighted to find a good image of it on the web. Yay Flickr!)

Apparently Marden’s goal was to evoke the essence of Bob Dylan, but when I walked in and saw it I almost started bawling right then and there. My emotions have been vibrating in this mysterious shade a lot lately. Low and borderline sad, but rich and magical too. I feel like I’m on the edge of something creatively, but it’s slow because I’m working so hard.

At least we’ve almost got the place cleaned up. The piles of crap in the hall and murky depths of junk in every corner were really getting me down in a much more prosaic way. Still need to clean out all the kitchen cabinets, but overall spring cleaning this weekend was a smashing success.

5 thoughts on “beautiful sadness

  1. Im sorry, but i don’t get it. Its a gray wall. i mean, that is it, right? i didn’t get some sort of error bubble instead of the actual painting? Bob Dylan is gray? um…maybe i’m just shallow or whatever, but…I’m missing something. How could a gray wall make you sad? Feel free to ignore my simpleton mind. But i’m confused.

  2. Hey, modern art’s not for everyone, and I’m no kind of connoisseur. Everyone’s free to hate this and Rothko and everyone else who works in big fields of color.

    But there are actually a lot of purplish tones in the grey, and in real life there’s a subtlety to the way the paint is applied. I think my reaction was mostly about the color. It just communicated with me somehow. Maybe it could have been a giant paint swatch and had the same effect, but I like to think Marden knew what he was doing down to the last drop of paint.

    As far as how it relates to Dylan, I couldn’t really say. There was another painting, called Star I think, in homage to Patty Smith. It was two tall black bars of paint with a light grey bar in between. Again, seems kind of simplistic, but there was something going on. I felt like I got it, even though it would sound ridiculous if I tried to explain.

    Where’s Jen Graves when you need her? She knows all about this art stuff.

  3. Dylan Thomas? Bob Dylan? Dylan the advanced, object-oriented, dynamic language which supports the rapid development of programs? Just wondering, ya know. I think you might like the fact that it’s well organized and simple after a massive rush of housecleaning. Hope you enjoy your parent’s visit next week. Hugs.

  4. I have to say that for a moment I was feeling Shay’s confusion, but clicking on the original size of the photo helped a lot. I wish I knew the actual dimensions of the painting, to get a sense of how big it was in front of your eyes, J. I think one of the valuable things to remember about art that consists of large blocks of color is that it is tremendously difficult to do – creating shades and shadows within a seemingly ‘big block of all the same color’ without the whole thing turning into a big, muddy nothing. And they’re big, commonly – it’s easier to stand in front of something that’s large enough to take over your entire line of vision and lose yourself in it. After some thought (a lot, actually), I actually began to appreciate how this painting would move you, Joriel, especially in your present state of mind.

  5. Gone awol, have we? Well, that’s your perogative. I have a vegetarian-related question for you. I wouldn’t ask you, except i don’t have any vegan-minded friends. Is facon really good? does it actually taste like bacon? Is the texture similar? Is morningstar my best bet? Any true die-hard bacon-mourners, does it really come close? (Can you tell i’m a struggling wannabe veg yet? :) ) Thanks!

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