Thursday, October 20, 2005


Romare Bearden in Albert Murray’s “Bearden Plays Bearden” (The Blue Devils of Nada):
You have to begin somewhere . . . So you put something down. Then you put something else with it, and then you see how that works, and maybe you try something else and so on, and the picture grows in that way. One thing leads to another, and you take the options as they come, or as you are able to perceive them as you proceed. The fact that each medium has its own special technical requirements doesn’t really make any fundamental difference. My point is that my overall approach to composition is essentially the same whether I’m working with . . . collage, or with oils, watercolors, or tempera.
And (moment of organicist beginning moving into mystical “possession”—or mud, that key pivot-point in any art):
Once you get going . . . all sorts of things begin to open up. Sometimes something just seems to fall into place, like the piano keys that every now and then just seem to be right where your fingers happen to come down. But there are also all those times you have to keep trying something over and over and then where you finally get it right you wonder what took you so long. And of course there are also times when you have to give it up and try something else.
Which idiotically triggers the O’Hara that vamps in my blood (“For Grace, After a Party”):
             my most tender feelings
                                     writhe and
bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,
isn't there
                        an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
the bed? And someone you love enters the room
and says wouldn't
                             you like the eggs a little

different today?

Romare Bearden’s “Three Folk Musicians” (1967)

Samuel Johnson’s verification of something Richard Hell mention’d, a derivation unbeknownst to atheistickal Bible-skeert me:

MA•UDLIN. adj.
      [Maudlin is the corrupt appellation of Magdelen, who is drawn by painters with swoln eyes, and disordered look; a drunken countenance, seems to have been so named from a ludicrous resemblance to the picture of Magdelen.]
Drunk; fuddled; approaching to ebriety.
And the kind maudling crowd melts in her praise.
      Southern’s Spartan Dame.

She largely, what she wants in words, supplies
With maudlin eloquence of trickling eyes.
That “approaching to ebriety” gets added in the fourth edition. Ebriety.

Alfred Jarry’s scatological Faustroll, who experiences “a fit of homicidal madness provoked by the sight of a horse’s head (the epitome, for him, of ugliness), during which he is responsible for a universal annihilation.” Too: Faustroll’s “invention of a curious ‘Machine à peindre’, which he commits to the charge of the painter Henri Rousseau. After the total devastation of the world and the annihilation of all its inhabitants, the Machine continues its random work, producing a series of purely ‘accidental’ canvases . . .” (Out of Keith Beaumont’s Alfred Jarry)