slightly wonky


mooning over de Kooning & de 4th birthday…

The birthday planning for my son’s 4th birthday party has given me several more gray hairs.  Today, during his bathtime, he was mad at me and told me that I was NOT to come to the party.  I was to stay home and feel awful.  Sheesh.  Who taught him such nasty mind games?  Do I say stuff like that?  I hope not…I might have been more subtle and not stipulated that the other person “feel bad”.  He’ll learn such subtlety in time…

I am attempting to keep this a fairly DIY party.  No, I’m not hand-making artisanal balloons or anything.  BUT, I’m making the cake, have baked cookies to go with the favors, and have scribbled together the decor.  The theme: construction site.  A week after deciding this theme, my son decided it should be pirates.  Too bad, I said.  That brought on another barrage of vitrol from him.

So, here is one of my scribbly signs for the party:

Isn’t it cute?  Just say it is to humor me.  Actually, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to stop blabbering about this party, and talk about de Kooning instead.  All in good time…

This is probably the last year that I can do anything DIY for a party.  Next year, he’ll want lazer tag with spiderman and Doc Octopus.  Ummm…yeah, I can’t do that with cardboard and markers.  I’d have to be some kind of hybrid between Martha Stewart and Stan Lee.   Hmm…disturbing.

The ornament situation in our house has gotten worse:

I have completely given up.

Okay, enough about my preschool-centric universe.  So, this past Saturday…I had the WHOLE day to myself.  No, I don’t just mean from around 11 am when my husband is done with his marathon bike ride, until 5 pm, when I’m needed to relieve him from being “on duty” with our son.  I mean the ENTIRE day.  What did I do?  I went to NYC for several hours!  Okay…for my friends who are in NY…PLEASE DON’T BE MAD.  I had to do a tactical strike.  I was on a mission to go to MOMA and see the de Kooning exhibit, which is only open until January 9.  I can do a social visit another time.

It was AMAZING.  So brilliant.  That man just oozes talent.  Or, I guess that would be oozed.  Seriously.  I loved his lines, his enormous swaths of color, his manipulation of the human form…

and this:

de Kooning, Untitled – 1961

and this:

Sigh.  You must see this show, if possible.  You won’t believe the scale of some of these pieces…their textures…their energy…so amazing.

When I was rushing through the rest of MOMA, I saw a crowd gathered around something.  Naturally…I was curious.  WHAT was it?

Really!  So interesting.  I am not a fan of Dali, but it was really fascinating to see what was a “celebrity”.  I just like other stuff…I nearly plowed through several people when my eyes locked with THIS from across the room:

Rauschenberg, Bed – 1955

Yes, I nearly became a linebacker in order to look at this old quilt with paint on it.  LOVE IT.  As the old adage goes…it was smaller in real life.  (no, not that it tastes like chicken…pay attention).  Really.  If I hadn’t spent so much time mooning over de Kooning (!), I may have had more time to see everything else.  One other piece struck me:

Wyeth, Christina’s World – 1948

Okay.  This is a VERY familiar painting.  Right?  I’m not savvy in the least, but this has to be one of Wyeth’s most famous paintings.  Anyway…it always seemed to me a very “romantic” picture…I mean the romance of the agrarian.  WELL.  I had a VERY different feeling when I was actually looking at the painting firsthand (which, by the way, was stuck in a  corner next to an elevator vestible and a cafe).  First of all…her hair is not the lustrous brunette of youth…but actually a  harried mix of grey and brown.  This is not a young woman at all!  She’s probably in her late 30s / early 40s…you know…way over the hill, like me.  In addition…her body is neither youthful, nor supple.  She actually appears frail…weak…half-starved.  If you look more carefully, her bent arm in the foreground is very thin…(and not in a Marie Claire sort of way).  She seems to be struggling to raise herself.  In addtion, her dress and shoes are not fresh and new…her shoes in particular struck me as very worn and old.   So ultimately, this painting had a desperate, bleak air to it.  WELL, if my art history class in college had covered anything within the past 300 years, then I MIGHT have known that:

Okay..am I the only person in the world who had an entirely different impression of this painting than is actually the case???  This long-winded story is basically remarking on how important it is to actually SEE artwork in person…not on a screen…not in a magazine…not on some crazy person’s blog…(are you still reading?  amazing!)

As a result of all of this art viewing / party planning…I have not gotten much work done.  Sigh.  I have one drawing to show:

closer:

No, I’m not done with this “line of exploration” yet.  If you get tired of my subject matter, please bear with me.  I’m trying to focus and stay on a path, and not flit around from project to project.

Wish me luck with the party extravaganza on Saturday!  I’m sure that I’ll be crying with frustration and relief at the end of it, and will be sent home in order to have a nap.

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6 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Great work on the birthday invitation, I know my son would have loved it at that age – and still!

Comment by mediaudio

Amazing party decor! Your drawings put me to shame. Love it! Aidan would go nuts…he loves diggers, cranes, dump trucks etc. He asked Santa for a digger.
So glad you were able to get a whole day to yourself. You deserve it! What’s it like???

Comment by Lisa

Iain wanted a digger last year! You’ll come to find that your living room becomes a parking lot for these sizeable vehicles. Thanks for the kind words about my drawing…takes practice, that’s all! The day to myself was DECADENT. I highly recommend it.

Comment by slightlywonky

I agree, abstrct expressionist work must be seen in person to be truely appreciated. I remember standing in front of a Franz Kline at the Detroit art museum for a long long time. Who would imagine black and white stokes would have such power.

A couple of years ago I read a biography of De Kooning. It was long and somewhat tedious in parts but I enjoyed it… especially the parts about his early life.

Good luck with the party! Love your drawings.

Comment by lisa foster

Thanks so much for your feedback, Lisa! MOMA had a copy of a de Kooning biography. I looked at it, and decided that I was never going to get to it in my lifetime. Maybe it was the same book? I love Franz Kline too. Such cool stuff…

Comment by slightlywonky

It was one of those books that took me a long time to finish. Months! I went through a series of biographies a while back. The first was a book about Renoir written by his son. Very good. Next the de Kooning book and then one about Einstein.

It seems like every time I go to the museum there’s a painting I end up spending time with, different every time. Last time I was at the Detroit art museum I sat with a blue Picasso woman. I wish Portland had a better museum.

Comment by lisa foster




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