Sunday, August 19, 2012

Poet Blaise Cendrars and Artist Sonia Delaunay Make Magic

La Prose du Transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France
[The Prose of the Transsiberian and of Little Jeannie of France]. 
Paris: Editions des Hommes Nouveaux, 1913. By the poet Blaise Cendrars (1887-1961) and artist Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979).

The sky is like the shredded tent of a poor circus in a small fishing village
In Flanders
The sun is a smoky oil lamp
And at the very top of a trapeze a woman makes a moon.
The clarinet the piston a sharp flute and a bad tambourine
And here is my cradle
My cradle
It was always next to the piano when my mother like Madame Bovary played Beethoven sonatas
I spent my childhood in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
And skipping school, in the railroad stations in front of departing trains
Now, I have made all the trains run behind me
I have also bet on the races at Auteuil and at Longchamp
Paris – New York
Now, I have made all the trains run the course of my life
Madrid – Stockholm
And I lost all my bets
There is now only Patagonia, Patagonia, that suits my immense sadness, Patagonia, and a journey to the South Seas
I'm on the road
I've always been on the road.
- translated by Ekaterina Likhtik

French Poet Blaise Cendrars
Read more about this collaboration at the MOMA website 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mary Abbott and Barbara Guest Collaborations

The Abstract Expressionist painter Mary Abbott and the poet Barbara Guest combined their geniuses to produce at least three works (see previous posts) of which these are two.
Untitled (Collaborative Poetry Painting)
Mixed material on paper mounted to canvas, 1959
42 x 64 inches, Private Collection
©Mary Abbott 2012, reproduced with permission courtesy the McCormick Gallery, Chicago    
Attic Mirror (Collaborative Poetry Painting)
Mixed material on paper , 1970
65 x 42 inches
Mount Holyoke College Art Museum
©Mary Abbott 2012, reproduced with permission courtesy the McCormick Gallery, Chicago


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Picasso Nude Launches Complaints at Airport

The NY Times Arts Beat blog is reporting that Edinburgh Airport has agreed to remove the image of a nude portrait painted by Picasso after some travelers complained about it. The portrait will be covered by a sheet until it can be replaced by something less suggestive of human flesh. Read more....

painters and poets

Friday, August 3, 2012

Poem: "Instructions to Painters and Poets"

"All I ever wanted was to paint light on the walls of life," said this San Francisco poet about his 2001 collection How to Paint Sunlight. Do you know who he is?
Today's Mystery Poet

Instructions to Painters and Poets

I asked a hundred painters and a hundred poets
how to paint sunlight
on the face of life
Their answers were ambiguous and ingenious
as if they were all guarding trade secrets
Whereas it seems to me
all you have to do
is conceive of the whole world
and all humanity
as a kind of art work
a site-specific art work
an art project of the god of light
the whole earth and all that's in it
to be painted with light

And the first thing you have to do
is paint out postmodern painting
And the next thing is to paint yourself
in your true colors
in primary colors
as you see them
(without whitewash)
paint yourself as you see yourself
without make-up
without masks
Then paint your favorite people and animals
with your brush loaded with light
And be sure you get the perspective right
and don't fake it
because one false line leads to another

And then paint the high hills
when the sun first strikes them
on an autumn morning
With your palette knife
lay it on
the cadmium yellow leaves
the ochre leaves
the vermillion leaves
of a New England autumn
And paint the ghost light of summer nights
and the light of the midnight sun
which is moon light

And don't paint out the shadows made by light
for without chiaroscuro you'll have shallow pictures
So paint all the dark corners too
everywhere in the world
all the hidden places and minds and hearts
which light never reaches
all the caves of ignorance and fear
the pits of despair
the sloughs of despond
and write plain upon them
"Abandon all despair, ye who enter here"

And don't forget to paint
all those who lived their lives
as bearers of light
Paint their eyes
and the eyes of every animal
and the eyes of beautiful women
known best for the perfection of their breasts
and the eyes of men and women
known only for the light of their minds
Paint the light in their eyes
the light of sunlit laughter
the song of eyes
the song of birds in flight

And remember that the light is within
if it is anywhere
and you must paint from the inside
Start with purity
with pure white
the pure white of gesso
the pure white of cadmium white
the pure white of flake white
the pure virgin canvas
the pure life we all begin with

Turner painted sunlight
with egg tempera
(which proved unstable)
and Van Gogh did it with madness
and the blood of his ear
(also unstable)
and the Impressionists did it
by never using black
and the Abstract Expressionists did it
with white house paint

But you can do it with the pure pigment
(if you can figure out the formula)
of your own true light
But before you strike the first blow
on the virgin canvas
remember its fragility
and remember its innocence
its original innocence
before you strike the first blow

Or perhaps never strike it
And let the light come through
the inner light of the canvas
the inner light of the models posed
in the life study
the inner light of everyone
Let it all come through
like a pentimento
the light that's been painted over
the life that's been painted over
so many times
Let it all surge to the surface
the painted-over image
of primal life on earth

And when you've finished your painting
stand back astonished
stand back and observe
the life on earth that you've created
the lighted life on earth
that you've created
a new brave world

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Painting Poetry: Edward Mayes and Alberto Alfonso

Darby Roach has posted a fascinating article on this collaboration between poet Mayes and designer Alfonso. Read it here.