Thursday, May 18, 2017

Life took Mom to art, reflections on a career in art history, a trip to Pittsburg, the Warhol Museum, and Roller Derby

Chelsea Girls movie poster bottom, above:
"This World With Devils Filled:" Gislebertus at Autun, Lintel Sculpture of the Tympanum,
and the Ghent Altarpiece Jan Van Eyck.

Time passes.  Mom started teaching at Pratt in 1994, driving  from Princeton to Pratt for the next twenty-two years. I had dinner with her most of those Thursday nights. She finished her last class last spring, although she continued advising masters students.   And last week, her department big her adieu, toasting her achievements with a glass of champagne.  Her former student Joseph Kopta was there to speak about her contributions. 
He recalled her lectures about Gislebertus at Autun, the Lintel Sculpture of the Tympanum, and the Ghent Altarpiece Jan Van Eyck, the subjects of a few of the 22 thesis papers, she advised
and her influence on his life.   Many were on hand at the ceremony.

Mom was my first art history teacher, walking me through the Kimbell Art museum in Ft Worth, touring the Met, walking through museums around the world.  These were sources of meaning and beauty for mom, taking her from South Georgia to the world. 

Life took Mom to art,
just as art takes us to places we could never imagine.  
Its always done so for me. 
I was thinking about this as we drove to Pittsburgh this weekend.  Our official reason for the trip was a roller derby tournament. 

So we took in the trees, the lovely highway, listened to music, stopped by Uncle Bruce's in State College Pennsylvania, and made our way to Pittsburgh.  

"Go to the Warhol museum," Caroline advised. 
So we explored the life of the artist who linked pop culture, aesthetics and commerce in ways few could imagine.

I never liked Warhol much. But Bob Colacello's memoir of working with him for interview magazine is one of my favorite books.  The world around Warhol, the Factory, the music, was fascinating and he documented it, took snap shots and kept journals listing the events, art shows, and parties he attended, night after night, year after year.  These journals are a work of art in themselves.

He brought together music and film, images and marketing, artists and philosophy.  He borrowed without abandon.  He took credit for Colacello's drafts of the Philosophy of Andy Warhol, without giving him credit.

And blew off those who no longer served his purposes.  
But was he good for art? 
I'm not sure.  
Valerie Solanas tried to take him out. 
Maybe she knew something we didn't ?
Who knows. 

The road takes us many places.  

The roller derby matches and road trip home to see the family, to have dinner with mom and talk about her aesthetic ambitions were a lot more interesting. Life takes us to art and performance and roller derby.  But its up to us to know what to embrace.  Thanks for reminding us of that mom.

A weekend in the life.

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