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Monday, September 15, 2003

Philip Guston RETROSPECTIVE at the SFMOMA 

Maggie and i have almost no money right now, so when Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy offered us free passes into the SFMOMA after dinner the other night we answered an enthusiastic and grateful YES!

what better gift than to spend time soaking in art

and when i heard that there was a Philip Guston retrospective at the museum i had a hard time falling asleep, wondering if "Source" would be in the show

i've only ever seen a painting here or there of his work, or in books (the book with Clark Coolidge for one) and was looking forward to immersing myself decade-by-decade in his life of painting

"Dawn" 1970
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about 8 ft. wide, 4 ft. high
car driving east toward the rising orange orb. tires of the gray car melting into the mirage of a summer road. this is the period where all his people are in white hoods, KKK members, or ghosties. there's a huge cigarette that could actually be a fat joint, they are after all slightly confused, pointing in different directions, and then the bloody feet sticking out the back. (it's said bloody feet, which appear frequently in his paintings, refer to his brother who suffered a car accident) what's playing on the radio in that car? well, it's 1970, maybe it's Norman Greenbaum's "Spirit in the Sky," or "Green-Eyed Lady" by Sugarloaf? hmmm, or maybe "War" by Edwin Starr. yeah, have to say i think it's "War" that's playing on that strange gray radio we can't see, but you know there's a radio in there, under the dashboard.

"Source" 1976
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this has made me very very happy! i was kind of ridiculous with joy sitting in the museum grinning like a freak at this painting! this is the Philip Guston painting used on the cover of the poetry anthology THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CENTURY. the anthology that, quite seriously, changed my life. i remember the first time i laid my hands on it, during a very hard time both emotionally and spiritually for me. my slightly demented drug dealer boyfriend Angel bought it for me to cheer me up after he saw me reading it in Robins Bookstore.

i stared at that cover for extended periods of time, seeing that head rising out of the water. it was so hopeful, but much more than that, it was a person who had been underwater, absorbing the deepest tools of the subconscious and shifting the tools into the waking life, making them ACTUALIZED to recreate our lives BECAUSE (and this is when i first started to form this idea for myself & really wanted to live it) any juncture in a life TAKEN for the improvement of the spirit will expand awareness every time contact is made with other life forms.

i'm so happy to see the ACTUAL painting! i remember having a breakthrough while looking at it and telling George Delaney and Pegalina. (this seems several lifetimes ago, and it was years ago) the 3 of us were rather drunk and/or high, and Pegalina insisted the figure was sinking, rather than rising out of the depths. i couldn't believe anyone would think a painting called "Source" would sink. it's natural evolution, rising from a sleep, moving up up up.

George tried to get either of us to suck his dick, saying his sperm would enlighten us, blah blah blah. he had such a talent for saying such bullshit without laughing. but i remember laughing at him, looking at him to see if it would fester a smile, but damn if he wasn't the coolest at keeping it hidden. Pegalina took him up on it however, no big surprise to me. she acted like i was a prude to the science of sensible spiritual progression through ingestion of George's Holy swimmers.

back to the painting though, i can't remember the colors being quite so exotic, and i wish i had a copy with me today to compare. in fact i had thought Guston had chosen duller colors to show how much more work there was for us to do, but all along it was just a matter of color transfer to print not fully taking.

"The Night" 1977
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i've never seen this painting before. it's a new favorite. wish i could steal it. it's something to really LIVE with! black canvas, water, 2 heads swimming, facing away from us on the left side of the canvas. the head to the far left is male, balding, the other right next to him is orange curly hair, alive and reflecting all light and energy at us. they are under water except for their heads, looking away. looking into the darkness, together. there's red deeply invested at the very bottom of the canvas. the deeper into the canvas, and the slower you allow your eyes to travel, the more you adjust to the powers of the red, that hidden subconscious realm Guston uncovers for us. what a brilliant fucking painting this is! the curls and waves, small, and moving out, away from the figures, more of this shared examination of the hidden tools being made available for us.

"Wheel" 1979
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the dominant feature is a large orange wheel churning a pile of red muck. blood? yeah, i'd say blood. this is the year before he died. the full moon is in the east, rising, night is coming on. the long, the endless night. it's a powerful and disturbing piece.

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Maggie and i walked back through the gallery to look at "Source" together before leaving. Jeff Goldblum was walking through the gallery with his girlfriend(?), or some young woman, chewing bubble gum with her mouth open. (Maggie says she needs to eat a sandwich) anyway, she can chew whatever she wants, i'm jealous she gets to chew on him! he's the sexiest nerd in movie-making history, next to Woody Allen. my goodness! there was NO concentrating on anymore paintings with the timber of his sexy voice asking sexy questions which were only sexy because he was asking them and i don't even remember what his sexy questions were. fuck the writers colonies! someone write me a letter of recommendation to let Jeff Goldblum know it's A-OKAY to fuck me!

did i say that?

i keep thinking i'm going to be thrown off the blog by my fellow bloggers because i have no sense in how to behave.

CAConrad

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