08 September 2012

reading and hopping











The tag "books and reading" has overtaken "galleryhopping." It's not that I don't have any galleries to hop through in the Southern Tier of western New York State. As a matter of fact, yesterday's post about Gregory Battcock was written between an opening of Josef Schützenhöfer's works on paper at the Cohen Center and that for "Reading through Beuys" at the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery. I stopped in the ceramics library to read Artforum while I waited for the later opening to open. But I do have more time for reading and less art to hop.

And I just finished reading City boy by Edmund White, his memoir of his "life in New York during the 1960s and '70s." I really enjoyed parts of it and found it all interesting, partly because I didn't come out until 1980 and have some regrets that I didn't come out during the high times of gay liberation. White is six years older than I am, not enough older that I couldn't imagine having lived through the times as he did ... if I'd lived in New York City. White is a great believer in the special glory of NYC which I understand.

And back to Schützenhöfer who lives in a small town in eastern Austria (when he's not being the Randall Professor at Alfred University) and who extolled the value of living on the periphery last night in his gallery talk. He also talked about how his Liberation Monument was vandalized and was then displayed in Graz, a much larger city, after being repaired.

The Beuys show, curated by Andrew Deutsch, includes a lot of books and other publications, not too surprising for a "Reading through Beuys" exhibition. A few of the pictures reminded me of seeing the Beuys show at the Guggenheim, oh, maybe fifteen years ago. But I generally can't think of Beuys without being reminded of the riff on Beuys and the coyote, wherein Dennis Bellone in his "Beuys" spends some very scary time with a domestic pussycat in a similar setting. I was lucky enough to actually meet that work in Ghent when it was on display in the inaugural show at the new contemporary space.

Before I "go," I want to pass on a wonderful characterization of an anarchist from the closing pages of City boy (p. 293): During the 1970s I moved away from seeing myself as a socialist and even a fellow traveler to recognizing communism for the sustained international nightmare it was and myself as an anarchist (not the bomb-throwing sort but an extreme individualist).

The illustration is a watercolor by Josef Schützenhöfer of a North Carolina hillside, 1980, from the Werkstadt Graz website. It wasn't in the exhibition at Cohen but there were some truly beautiful watercolors done in Istria as well as the more political works. Not that there wasn't some political undercurrent in some of the Istrian scenes.

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