Category Archives: Commentary

Opinion or analysis concerning whatever’s on my mind.

‘Carmen Mola’ Is Three Men

¡Me cachis en diez! Nadie está en su sitio. “Hell and damn! No one is in his place”; that was my father-in-law’s take on the hanky panky of a popular soap opera in late-Franco Spain. In post-Franco Spain what’s to … Continue reading

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Poetic Researches

Is the soul our dark matter — pervasive but undetectable by any instrument we possess? If there’s a part of me that isn’t glia, neurons, and enzymes, it has found a modicum of rest in the revelation that John Ashbery’s … Continue reading

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Marlene Dumas: ‘Art Is Not a Mirror’

This article gives a stimulating sample of Marlene Dumas’ painting. Here’s a whiff of its curatorial patter: “She is a master, in the classical sense: she makes masterpieces”… Dumas [takes] us somewhere beyond prosaic materiality… “[Faces and portraits by Dumas … Continue reading

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‘mee-HIGH CHEEK-sent-me-HIGH-ee

My title is how the NYTimes represents the pronunciation of the name of Hungarian-born psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who died recently in Claremont, California. He coined and popularized the term “flow” to describe a state of focused contentment in which time … Continue reading

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Fabulousness and Traps

Here’s a vibrant pulverization of Smith-song around the paintings of Beauford Delaney (1901-1979): Robust impasto surfaces… startling colors… visionary buzz… new kind of painterly fabulousness… sturdy realism overloaded with color… something of an Egyptian immobility… crisis-crossing strokes [sic: Is “criss-crossing” … Continue reading

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‘A Gloriously Unsatisfied Painter’

Brobdingnagian ocular hubbub. Colossus of hue and scream. Tympanic boom. These phrases leapt to mind — of course they did! — as I eyed Sarah Cain’s work. Confession though: Cain owns me for rejecting the term “murals” in favor of … Continue reading

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‘Marquetry Remains Her Focus’

In the past, Alison Elizabeth Taylor’s extraordinary wood-marquetry paintings have seemed interesting primarily for their bravura craft. Working from photographs, mostly her own, and using laser cutting (mainly), Taylor fashioned small pieces of various wood veneers into puzzle-like pieces fit … Continue reading

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‘No path to heaven / except through this dirt’

My title is from the poem by Philip Metres, “Never Describe the Sky as Azure,” in Poetry, September 2021. A Reservation Over the Fist Resisting the repressive Texas governocracy is of the essence. Are fisting poses ginned up for camera … Continue reading

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‘A Way of Understanding Who You Are’

“Human beings have always been storytellers and you use that as a way of understanding who you are, and who the people around you are, and what’s going on,” he says. “If I look back, which I don’t very often, … Continue reading

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Sancho Panza Appreciates a Nip of Good Wine

Sancho Panza takes a memorable pull from a companion’s proffered wineskin (“bota”) in this scene from part 2 of “Don Quijote.” Y diciendo esto, se la puso en las manos a Sancho, el cual, empinándola, puesta a la boca, estuvo … Continue reading

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