History is a facsimile of events held together by finally biographical information. Art history is less explosive than the rest of history, so it sinks faster into the pulverized regions of time. History is representational, while time is abstract; both of these artifices may be found in museums, where they span everybody’s own vacancy. The museum undermines one’s confidence in sense data and erodes the impression of textures upon which our sensations exist. Memories of ‘excitement’ seem to promise something, but nothing is always the result. Those with exhausted memories will know the astonishment. Visiting a museum is a matter of going from void to void. Hallways lead the viewer to things once called ‘pictures’ and ‘statues.” Anachronisms hang and protrude from every angle. Themes without meaning press on the eye. Multifarious nothings permute into false windows (frames) that open up into a variety of blanks. Stale images cancel one’s perception and deviate one’s motivation. Blind and senseless, one continues wandering around the remains of Europe, only to end in that massive deception ‘the art history of the recent past’. Brain drain leads to eye drain, as one’s sight defines emptiness by blankness. Sightings fall like heavy objects from one’s eyes. Sight becomes devoid of sense, or the sight is there, but the sense is unavailable. Many try to hide this perceptual falling out by calling it abstract. Abstraction is everybody’s zero but nobody’s nought. Museums are tombs, and it looks like everything is turning into a museum. Painting, sculpture and architecture are finished, but the art habit continues. Art settles into a stupendous inertia. Silence supplies the dominant chord. Bright colors conceal the abyss that holds the museum together. Every solid is a bit of clogged air or space. Things flatten and fade. The museum spreads its surfaces everywhere, and becomes an untitled collection of generalizations that mobilize the eye.
What do people really care about? Themselves—and how everything bad that happens must somehow also happen to them. People like that belong in an audience. And there’s nothing—nothing—more typical of an audience than their heinous conviction that they deserve the milk, the butter, and the maid who churned it.
When I met with your architects and director for three hours last week, they spoke endlessly about performance art, lectures, and installations, and about “accessibility,” “transparency,” and “flow.” They never once uttered the words painting, sculpture, drawing, or photography. This disfigured logic and delusional drivel maintains that discrete objects, especially things that need walls or quiet, are suspect or wearisome. Anyone who understands art still believes that making and displaying things on the wall remains a visionary way of imagining worlds.
He’s wearing a sort of Scottish caveman thing. She looks like the reclining silhouette on a truck mudflap — topless, of course. They seem to boink on the motorcycle as it rides, gently bouncing along. That’s when we see full-on shots of Kim’s rack wobbling back and forth, heaving, defying gravity like two great cannonballs. But her boobs are nippleless. It’s a new flowering of Meret Oppenheim — whose 1936 version of The New Uncanny, her fur-lined teacup, saucer, and spoon, is still striking. My mouth still tries to spit out hairballs whenever I look at this thing.
The worst thing that could happen to you after the end of your time would be to be embalmed and laid up in a pyramid. I’m repulsed when I think about the Egyptians taking each organ and embalming it separately in its own receptacle. I want my machinery to disappear. Still, I do really like the idea of people turning into sand or something, so the machinery keeps working after you die. I guess disappearing would be shirking work that your machinery still has left to do. Since I believe in work, I guess I shouldn’t think about disappearing when I die. And anyway, it would be very glamorous to be reincarnated as a big ring on Pauline de Rothschild’s finger. -andy w.
Right after the 1977 exhibition, Pierre Matisse offered to donate this work to the Museum of Modern Art, and it was even delivered to MoMA. There it sat, stored, until 1982, when Blanchette Rockefeller, the museum’s president and a huge donor and fund-raiser, saw it and demanded that MoMA refuse the gift. It went back to Matisse’s gallery, where it was sold (to Mike Nichols), then resold again and again, ending up with the Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos. He, according to Balthus’s biographer, kept it in “an elaborately paneled bedroom, furnished like rooms at Versailles … [next to] a king-size container of Preparation H.”