Thursday, January 26, 2012

Where the Wild Things Really Are

Exhibition Poster, from Illustrated Legends of Kitano Tenjin Shrine

And when he came to the place where the wild things are/
They roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth
—Maurice Sendak

An eight-headed, nine-tailed monster greeted us at the door of the exhibition. Fortunately for us, the monster was preoccupied with other business, for he guards the gate to hell.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soonest Mended

—for Mark Kerstetter, who introduced me to this poem

Ashbery, in his poem Soonest Mended, seems to have had in mind the old proverb “least said, soonest mended,” when he wrote of Ingres’ damsel in distress:
And Angelica, in the Ingres painting, was considering
The colorful but small monster near her toe, as though
       wondering whether forgetting
The whole thing might not, in the end, be the only solution.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My City

Balmy, it was.  Last winter, New York City was snowbound.  We had to pick our way across the slushy streets.  This holiday season, though, we could step out when and where we liked.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Triumph of Style

Even if we returned skillfully and victoriously to those wondrous paintings of Tamerlane's time . . . in the final analysis, all of it'll be forgotten, I said mercilessly, because everybody will want to paint like the Europeans."

My Enishte believed the same, Black confessed meekly, yet it filled him with hope.

—Orhan Pamuk, My Name Is Red 

We had two hours to cover the ground.  Even before we stepped into the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibit Wonder of the Age:  Master Painters of India 1100-1900, we knew all was lost.  In the fond hope I’d mistaken the closing date, I braved the gift shop attendant’s dour demeanor and inquired.
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