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Summer reading

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Sandik, I guess all was not "luxe and calme" with Matisse who uttered the comment. The London Review anyhow does tend to use quick, enigmatic headings like: "Nothing to do With Me", "Go Back to Palo Alto" [James Franco], "I Haven't Yet Been Nearly Mad Enough", "Better Off in A Stocking".

And Clark is half -mad though he does touch on good points – the rustle of language, the shudder of motifs through Matisse. The show is coming to the Museum of Modern Art in September and that was the first notice I've seen on it. The cut-outs have always been treated in a easy-going, soft-glove, soft-shoe way, but now it turns out they're as radical as anything Matisse did.

Dominique Fourcade, whom Clark cites for bravely calling them failures, says,

It is touching (and very suggestive) to see Matisse, at the end of his life, bringing his own revolution to its logical conclusion, the result of which (and this is characteristic of all revolutions brought to their logical conclusions) was a glaring contradiction.

He had the courage to propose whiteness as a primary and omnipresent element. He had the incredible courage to practice painting as a system of giving shape and breath to the world, a world in which whiteness – that is, nonpaint – had its ineluctable place. He was thus among those who realized that art encompasses the painted and the nonpainted alike.

He tried to balance one against the other. And in the end, he was no longer in control of the vast whiteness he had unloosened...

What choreographers can you think of unleashing such kinds of whiteness or negative space on stage? Wayne MacGregor a little, mayble Balanchine in Bugaku?

And I wonder what Balanchine – or Ashton of Symphonic Variations – would have thought of this painting of 1917, Bathers By a River? It was to hang along the earlier idyllic Dance and Music paintings in the house of a collector in Russia. But it was postponed and by then it was the middle of World War I and Matisse had seen and studied Picasso's Demoiselles d'Avignon.

Bathers By a River in turn hung for a long time in a gallery in New York in the late forties where it was closely studied by Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.


But back to summer reading & Kawabata's Izu Dancer ...

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Quick summer reading: a dishy biography of Johnny Carson by his former lawyer/friend. I think a lot of it is gossip but a lot of it rings very true as it's consistent with other accounts of Carson's personality (including Ed McMahon). It's weird how so many comedians seem to be extremely cold, unapproachable people when they're not telling jokes.

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There was a PBS American Masters show on Carson that was just depressing to watch - broken marriages, broken friendships. Stuff you'd really rather not know if you ever liked watching the guy. However, personality freeze isn't limited to comedians. Last summer I read Jane Fonda's memoir, and the brrr factor was very high in any household headed by Henry Fonda.

macnellie writes:

Has anyone met "Masie Dobbs"?

I haven't, but I'd be interested to hear from someone who has. Share, please. smile.png

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That I can actually believe. It seems as if the "prickly" comedians like Joan Rivers are less frozen than the "straight man" comedians. Maybe they just get out all their aggression through comedy or something. For instance I saw a documentary once with Conan O'Brien and he ... well, let's just say he didn't exactly act like the nice goofy guy he plays on TV.

As for Johnny Carson, I agree dirac, reading about him makes me depressed because I do watch his old episodes on youtube and his jokes about alimony/divorce aren't so funny when you know about his real life. It's like he made it a goal to die alone, miserable, with wads and wads of money and he succeeded in that goal.

Actually I have a hard time viewing both Ed Sullivan and Johnny Carson shows now that I know about their rather creepy off-TV lives. At least Johnny Carson was just mostly self-destructive, while Ed Sullivan ... knowing how much he pushed for HUAC testimony ... yuck.

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