On Sunday morning, I strolled around my old neighborhood in Park Slope. There was a street fair setting up on Union Street, and the old Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower looked as magnificent (and as suggestively phallic) as I remembered.
Taking a break from Imagereality, I took the subway up to the Upper East Side (another old neighborhood of mine) to visit the Chaim Soutine exhibition Flesh at the Jewish Museum. The museum was free because of the holiday. What holiday? I had no idea. But I wasn’t going to say anything because – hey – Free Soutine is Free Soutine!
While disucssing the “vulnerable ferocity” of Soutine’s paintings in a recent review of the exhibition in The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl said: “There’s a strangely realist immediacy to the meat paintings. [Soutine] strove by any means expedient – palette knife, sticks, his thumbs – to transpose the forms and the substances that he saw directly into the stuff of paint. The process could seem like something between a mud-wrestling match and a fight to the death.”
Schjeldahl’s review also quotes Clement Greenberg, who once said: “one has to go back to Rembrandt… to find anything to which his touch… can be likened.” Yup, that touch is unmistakable; nobody painted a dead chicken quite like Chaim Soutine.
After the Jewish Museum, I returned to Trestle Gallery for a Q & A session and a discussion of both the exhibition and other artist’s work. I always enjoy Q & A sessions, or as I like to call them Q & R sessions (Questions followed by me Rambling on about whatever’s on my mind.)
Just enough time for one last stop before LaGuardia. When in Queens, why not stop into the Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden for Czech beer and strange European techno versions of Bon Jovi songs, right?