beckycochrane [userpic]

Houston exhibit and New Orleans Notes, No. 7

June 18th, 2009 (11:53 pm)

current mood: contemplative
currently hearing: R.E.M.--Try Not to Breathe

I'll begin by telling you the truth. I was coming home from getting my hair cut a few weeks ago when I had an urgent need to go to the bathroom. So urgent that I called Tom and said shrieked, "CLEAR THE PATH TO THE BATHROOM BEFORE I GET HOME, AND WOE BE TO MAN OR BEAST WHO GETS IN MY WAY."

It became apparent that Tom's efforts would not be enough, and thank all that is Art that the Menil Museum was open with parking near the door, because I swear, no one is EVER in their restroom--perhaps the reason why it's always clean. But once my urgent need was taken care of, I felt guilty. I couldn't go to the Menil Museum to use the restroom and not visit my Rothkos. By "my" I mean the paintings that would adorn the walls of my home on The Compound were there any justice in the world. Stupid unjust world.

I never made it to my Rothkos because I stumbled over the Menil's current exhibit: Marlene Dumas: Measuring Your Own Grave. This is its FINAL WEEKEND for any locals who might like to see this South African artist's mid-career retrospective. Dumas's paintings are made from photographs of people and have been described as "haunting images of sex, birth, death and political repression." That quote is from Patricia Zohn's excellent article for The Huffington Post, which explains it all better than I can. Dumas's paintings are particularly timely considering the events of the past few days in Iran.

One reason the exhibit has stayed with me is that for months, while I've been washing dishes or watching TV or sewing doll clothes or sitting outside with the dogs or brushing my teeth or even sleeping, my mind has been grappling with the concept of art and its purpose(s). I have initiated conversations with other writers and just folks (i.e., sane people who are not writers) and strangers at the gym as I attempt to work this out in my head. Many thoughts have been triggered by recent novels I've read by Michael Thomas Ford and Scott Heim, as well as poetry Steven Reigns read at Saints and Sinners, and some discussions he and I had there and a message he sent me after the festival.

All I can say is that the topic hasn't formed itself into a coherent diatribe from me. Yet. Aren't you lucky?

Steven Reigns reading at Faubourg Marigny Art & Books.
Me with Steven in the lobby of the Bourbon Orleans.

As well as being a poet, Steven is an artist. Check out his his web site for more information about him and his work.


If you own any of the books in the opposite side bar and would like them signed, mail them to:
P.O. Box 924104
Houston, TX 77292
Please include three dollars for return postage. Thank you.

Follow BeckyCochrane on Twitter