Thursday, August 26, 2010

Guggenheim and art

In 2003 my son Tom and I went on a 3 week trip to France and Italy. I wanted to go to Italy to see the art, and there was plenty of it. After two weeks I stopped turning around to see another statue, though they were fantastic. We took an overnight train from Paris to Venice, and on a shuttle I met a lady who was the manager of the Guggenheim museum. She invited me to the museum, with perhaps a coffee or a glass of wine. She was attractive but I was married and thought this would only be an adventure in art. So Tom and I visited the museum, which backed on one of the large canals.

What impressed me was that Peggy Guggenheim had to be blinded by the personalities of the artists she took to her bosom, (and from what I see she held a number rather close to it), for the art at that museum consisted of smudges of paint on a canvas. There were a few pieces that had some aesthetic appeal, and I like modern art, but I remember one huge canvas with a small black brush mark in the upper left corner with a huge price tag. The only one that made sense to me was this picture I took of the horse and rider which was outside on the deck by the canal. I saw a copy of it in the Getty museum in LA as well. Not sure what it says, but art is of the soul, not of this earth, and needs no definition for it stands alone. I kinda understand this rider's problem, but art is to be felt, not understood. Right? I think it is funny, and compared to the other totally ridiculous stuff I saw in that museum is really not bad.

What started this was the article in this morning's (August 26, 2010) Writer's Almanac which follows:

It's the birthday of memoirist and art collector Peggy Guggenheim, (books by this author) born in New York City (1898). Her father died on the Titanic shipwreck, and at the age of 14 she inherited nearly half a million dollars.
She moved to Europe to live a Bohemian lifestyle. She had an affair with Samuel Beckett, as well as several other artists.
Back in her native New York City, she opened a gallery called "Art of this Century" on West 57th Street. She became the patron of an unknown abstract painter by the name of Jackson Pollock, supporting him so he could be a full-time artist, and she held a one-man show for him at her gallery, one of his first. Soon he was famous.
She wrote some memoirs about her affairs with the rich and famous and artistic, including Out of This Century (1946) and Confessions of an Art Addict (1960).

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