Friday, October 14, 2016

From an old notebook

Alfred Appel Jr., interviewed about his book The Art of Celebration: Twentieth-Century Painting, Literature, Sculpture, Photography, and Jazz (1992):

“I began the lecture with some ringing phrase like, ‘Modern man is isolated and alienated,’ he recalled in an interview at the Museum of Modern Art, where he was about to view the Matisse exhibit. I said, ‘We are all the denizens of T. S. Eliot’s “Waste Land,”’ and I built from there.” But then, he recalled, he stopped, looked out over the students eagerly taking notes and thought, “I don't think I’ve ever seen so many happy, contented faces. Wait a minute, they’re not isolated, they're not alienated. . . . Let me think twice about this ‘Waste Land’ idea. It's what we call an epiphany.”

The current Matisse exhibit, he said, is clear evidence of what people want from art. “The great popularity of this show suggests there is a kind of exit poll being taken at the end of the 20th century, and the vote is in favor of eros over thanatos. Matisse is everyone’s person for celebrating the simple things that all the wars and disasters of the 20th century have not obliterated from the lives of ordinary people.”

From “Eros by a Landslide,” an interview with Jon Elsen, The New York Times Book Review , December 20, 1992.
Also from this notebook
Alfalfa, Ted Berrigan, Jack Kerouac, metaphors
Beauty and the Beast and kid talk
John Ashbery and Kenneth Koch
Plato, Shirley Temple, vulgarity, wisdom, Stan Laurel

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