We bid farewell to dear friends tonight as they head out West into deserts and the next chapter of their remarkable little adventure in art and family. Cheers, golden friends, to the good, the beautiful and the true.
I think the reason to do something in the social realm now is that America has all these spaces that are inhospitable to that kind of interaction. And also as a whole we’ve just kind of stripped away the social constructs that were always in place — little things, from manners to speaking properly to the right way to introduce someone, to more complex rituals like balls and Masonic societies. All these things had intricate structures in place that would allow someone to be in public and give them some sort of water wings so they could interact. Now we don’t have that.
I love this little museum -- designed by the late (questionably) great Philip Johnson, the place sits in a scorch zone atop a small hill in Fort Worth. It's the sort of museum that feels full of someone's private treasures and good-mannered artifacts, full of civility. Some rooms have taupe carpet that's matted from 50 years of footsteps, replete with little pedestals holding up Remington's -- bronze cowboys firing away at each other in perpetuity. And then there is the occassional delight of stumbling across a funeral-black Nevelson, a small, quiet Arthur Dove, a chalky Milton Avery or this beauty by William McCloskey that's as fresh as citrus, but rich.
There is as much to say about Piero Manzoni,the artist, as there is to say about his work. They are, more or less, inextricably bound to one another. His case is much like that of Warhol, Beuys, Duchamp, or for that matter, Hilna af Klimt. When an artist takes the risk of creating a self-invested myth, the repercussions that follow may appear overwhelming. The shorter the lifespan, the more likely the myth will survive.
To change your art, Beuys would instruct, change yourself. A fellow-student, fancying a resemblence in photographs, dubbed Peter Heisterkamp Blinky Palermo, after a Philadelphia fight fixer and ex-con... Beuys approved. What's in a pseudonym? How would it affect the aura of nineteen-twenties Paris if Man Ray had kept his birth name of Emmanuel Radnitsky, or that of the sixties everywhere if their essential voice answered to Robert Zimmerman? A gaudy alias may express identification with a radically new sensibility, stepping Venus-like from the surf of history.
You may very well have seen this already, but here it is again. We used to lose my dad in shops like this whenever we'd visit tiny towns along the New England coast. "Where's Dad?.... Let's ask where the bookstore is." We'd never have found him if he'd been hiding in Michael's shop.