HOPPER, MAPPLETHORPE, LARS AND JARRET AT THE LOUISIANA

PREFACE

Lars

Lars Willum is a tall Dane
with warm brown eyes
in a large head. That isn’t poetic,
that’s the truth. He’s married
to our friend Douglas. That’s legal
in Denmark, which is why they’re there—
Canada wouldn’t let Lars marry Douglas
which pissed both me and Deb off
so we asked them to be Jarret’s godfathers.
Revenge is sweet when served a la Danoise.

Jarret

Jarret Dean is a three month old Canadian
whose cheeks are impossibly large.
He looks like Dizzy Gillespie in mid-blow.
Otherwise he is like a porcelain figure you would buy in Dresden,
or Copenhagen, a li’l bit of perfect Chinoiserie
which would not explain how or why he knows art
the way he does.

Hopper

Edwin Hopper, American—
what everyone should know, anyone
who has seen a reproduction of a Hopper painting,
is that they’re big. His paintings are about size.
The America we have inherited has ground to dust
the vision that birthed it. America eats itself
to be sure it gets its young. Hopper’s paintings
are about the size of imagination in the New World.
That’s why people mistake his paintings for images of loneliness and alienation.
Hopper’s people are looking into what is not there, and finding their place in its order.
His paintings rise above the ground to survey the new landscape
of factory roofs, giant barns, buildings that display as they swallow America
and give birth to the New World.

Not that we need a picture today
to read between the lines.

Mapplethorpe

Robert Mapplethrope, American—
every red-blooded American boy’s greatest fear:
he’s here and he’s queer.
Whatta sport—politics, sex and religion—
it’s enough to drive a man to war.

The images of the imprisoned captive
who has set himself free within his restraints—
this art toys with death and resurrection.
Mapplethorpe sets time free, once with his camera,
twice as the heretic hunted past death
by Jesse Helms, the righteous, anyone (it seems)
with an Army Base in their riding,
their pocket, or their breech.

Tinguely

mischievous perfect angel of dada:
da living line runs the world;
da mekanist will set you free.

THE LOUISIANA

Lars and Jarret are riding the handicapped lift down to the Hoppers at the Louisiana
I am walking down the stairs beside them because Jarret is fussing and upsetting me.
Neither Jarret nor Lars were upset by the Mapplethorpes though I had trouble with
the finger in the urethra, the weights hanging from a penis in bondage, but I admit
the image of the artist with the whip crammed up his tortured ass a poetic
statement. You can’t really say if this is eternal art—there are so many artists here
who I think are the product of an insatiable American taste for fashion reproducing art;
though it could be the symbol for the regurgitation of appetite and the torture of aesthetics.

It is the Tinguely that impresses me; before I see the active statue, one of Tinguely’s useless machines,
the purest expression of Dada, the purest expression of the art of this century, I hear
children laughing, stamping the button that activates the momentous pointless sculpture.
Activated, it cranks. rotates, whirrs, smashes, gravitates, pauses and settles back into nascent repose.
It leads me to believe kids generally appreciate more than they receive in respect—
a real test of art is if it holds a child’s attention—every time Jarret sees a painting he likes
his legs stiffen—now there’s a quantifiable response, which is Mapplethorpe’s message, I guess,
though I think pictures of Jesse Helms drowning in piss, or with his blood spattered cock
bound into an acceptable tasteful gilded frame might charm me more—call me idiosyncratic,
it’s the exception that proves the rule—even if it isn’t an appropriate image for a bastard ….

As I said, Lars and Jarret are riding the wheelchair lift down to the Hoppers,
to see colour planes of machined new sight, rooftops of industry recorded
for the laughter of children born after they become common, then forgotten, antique and precious.
The roofs—children take a lot of reporting to and need a lot of things explained before they can laugh,
it’s a matter of thinking for yourself—everyone in Hopper’s paintings is alone and thinking
for themselves, which doesn’t mean a lot to kids. The buttons on the lift are easy
to find and read, in a universal symbolic language—up, down, tryk for ned,
tryk for og, the brass bar swings down ponderously, the simple frame of the platform descends,
Jarret strapped into a purple stroller, decorated with images of baby mickey mouse, this is
the best art I have seen—the museum has raced to this floor with the idea
of the Tinguely and placed it with my son in his stroller—or maybe Lars and his desire
to ride the disabled lift, an aesthetic that cannot be stopped, the kinesis reassembling
the future into raspberries blown into the faces of horses’ asses.

Advertisements