Posts Tagged ‘art


typeface (i can’t remember)

these seventeen typefaces belonged to a dear friend who was my first close friend to die of AIDS back in the 1980s.

unlike other mementos of his life that i have (a pot, a photograph), these have never held any meaning for me. i can’t remember where he displayed them or if he even did. i can’t remember him saying, “those were my _____ ‘s,” or “_____ gave them to me when we first fell in love.” none of them are his initial, nor those of any of his circle of friends — most of whom were also part of my circle (a venn diagram, obvsly.)

but yet, i’ve packed and unpacked them over several decades and several homes. most of the time they’ve resided in a drawer with other “important” things: my naturalization papers, my german birth certificate and passport, my adoption papers, a rubber stamp that quotes andy warhol, “art is anything you can get away with,” my collection of address books dating back to 197_ (in case i ever need to call someone i slept with, but no longer remember, as if…), postcards from friends and lovers, notes from my mother on 3 x 5 cards; the fallen leaves of my fall.

i just can’t remember.


the modern century (art* & plant)

vlaminck, dufy, derain, braque, van gogh, cezanne, lautrec, gauguin, caillebotte, matisse, picasso, leger,

greizes, duchamp, gris, lohse (manet, courbet, david, ingres), turner, delacroix, millet, chirico, savinio (apollinaire, breton and romantics, fauves, post-impressionists, cubism, dada, surrealism, expressionism, futurism, abstract-expressionism, pattern & decoration, conceptual, realists, symbolism, revolution, salon des refusés, african tribal masks, and ukiyo-e)

de stijl, bauhaus, the armory show, moreau, redon, ensor, seurat, rousseau, goya, degas, pissarro, sisley, bonnard, vuillard, vallotton, maillol, rodin, mucha, klimt, beardsley, schiele, kokoschka, munch, nolde, kandinsky, marc, delaunay (robert & sonia), chagall, malevich, goncharova, brancusi, arp, picabia, ernst, schwitters, modigiliani, soutine, beckman, dix, grosz, davis, dove, hartley, o’keefe, moholy-nagy, rodchenko, masson, miro, klee, albers, calder, giacometti, lachaise, moore, and gonzalez.

and on and on and on, etc. and so forth; you get the idea. in the meantime, the century plant marks time one leaf at a time.

*western, caucasian, male (for the most part), and dead.


iris, photo-realism, and lowell nesbitt

lowell nesbitt for your edification.

a man who put his money where his mouth was. we could use more like him.

these recent photo studies of a bearded iris blooming in our garden reminded me, as i was manipulating their outcome, how much i admire the work of lowell nesbitt (not that i’m comparing myself to him, but that these photographs were evocative of his work, triggering memories i have of selling his editions in the ’80s and knowing when to share the sexuality of them with a client and when to concur with the client that they were just pretty pictures of flowers. sometimes i was more successful than others when it came to sharing his rapturous abandonment to nature and form and i could always tell when i’d stepped outside the comfort zone of the collector by the look of disbelief that clouded their brow or the uneasy shuffling of feet and the rise of color in their cheek. perhaps the provocation was worth it to me, that uncomfortable moment when “sex” reared its beautiful head in conversation between strangers, some more ready than others to free fall into its embrace. okay, i may have pushed it, a bit, for the thrill, but what is the point of art if not to disturb?)


untitled (red dot auction, may 11th in costa mesa)

i’m busy,

really busy. much of my attention is focused on the 2nd annual red dot auction, the spring fundraiser for the chuck jones center for creativity.

what’s that you say? oh yes, you’d like to attend? click on ‘red dot‘ for information about the event and to rsvp. it’d be great to see you there.

more later as time allows.


post script

p.p.s. for those of you who may find it difficult to read this, it may be easier if you click on it for its full size.



someone asked me, “where do you see art?”

which i thought was an interesting, but easily answered question.

“i see art everywhere,” i replied.

“don’t you?”


flesh (lucian freud)

michael kimmelman’s remembrance of his time with the artist is here and is well-worth the read.

lucian freud, naked man with rat, 1977/78, oil on canvas, 91.5 cm x 91.5 cm, collection: art gallery of western australia

our relationship is fairly young when compared to other artists whose work has influenced my emotional, visual, and intellectual acuity, but what it lacks in maturity with those other artists (here and here)  has more than been made up by my deep visceral response to his work and i might add, my utter devotion.

he had floated around the periphery of my contemporary and modern art knowledge for a few years, but when the museum of contemporary art in los angeles hosted a one-man retrospective in 2003, my infatuation quickly turned into a case of full-blown art lust.

before you say, “well, the majority of his work is nudes, that must be what robert’s nattering on about,” i will disabuse you of that notion right now.   to be in a roomful of lucian freud’s paintings is to be psycho-analyzed by them.  he takes you down the dark forest paths of your emotional core, and at times skipping ahead as you stop to make sure you know where you are, even to catch your breath; when you suddenly realize he’s left you to your own devices (a breadcrumb trail behind you notwithstanding).   somehow you manage to go on; to go back would be a far worse thing to do, leaving you emotionally vulnerable when the end, you believe (because he seems to hold out some hope), will allow you some insight, some enlightenment, some knowledge of yourself and your place in the world (as he sees it.)  it’s not all bad.

oftentimes, his view of his subject is omniscient, standing above and looking down on, and not in a condescending manner, but, in a concerned way, he’s showing you (the subject and the viewer) his compassion through this thorough exploration of your body, your skin, your hair.  all that paint!  my god, he slathers it on in deep rushes of impasto, layer upon layer, looking at you (the subject and the viewer) as if you were under a microscope and i think, perhaps, even stripping away your facade to reveal the real you underneath all the artifice of your daily life.

and, and, you’ll see a look of what appears to be utter despair on the subject’s (and on the viewer’s) face, poleaxed with posing, holding onto that last shred of dignity that being naked/nude leaves you with after hours and hours and hours and perhaps days of his god-like examination (it is a bit of being pinned like a butterfly to a board–see nabokov for a companion in literature).  except for many of his portraits of the performance artist, the gargantuan leigh bowery and these portraits are more straight forward, your view of bowery is less compromised and in a way, even more respectful, not to say that freud is disrespectful of his other subjects, but all that looking down and then suddenly your face to face with bowery in all of his obese glory–it’s a shocking shift in tone and intent (to my eyes and spirit).

then, in early 2008 i was fortunate enough to see an exhibition of his etchings, accompanied by related drawings and paintings at MoMA and once again i was stunned by his ability to strip away, isolate and present the essence of his subjects and by that very act of exposing them, the viewer too is revealed.  this emotional use of line seemed to me to be without peer and it may be that his abstract way of looking at a subject reminds me of my love for clyfford still or it may be that his tender portraits of his dogs reminds me of my fondness for the delightfully insouciant work of marcel duchamp–it is that emotional tweaking that sparks a fire in me unlike any other representational artist i know.

i was surprised at how saddened i was to hear of his death this past week.  it was like losing someone close to you that you don’t see very often, rarely talk to on the phone, but somehow always pick up where you left off the last time you shared a time and a place together.



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© Robert Patrick, and Cultivar, 2008-2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, photographs and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Robert Patrick and Cultivar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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