Tuesday, January 28, 2014

always already

the days stretch out again. i wake up to lavender and periwinkle framed in the window instead of just a winter dark bedroom, radioactive orange from the streetlamp. it hasn’t rained much this winter and when i leave work, pink and blue mottles the sky above the purple stretch of mountains away to the southeast.

adam cut his hair the other day. shorn short, clippered. sometimes a sharp change delineates and emphasizes some aspect, some beauty that was always there. it surprises but also comforts. i suddenly thought, it’s still there, all this attraction. it always was.

i grew up on artforum. my friend antonio, my sister, my best friend ali. we always had an issue of artforum, stolen from the school’s studio, tucked into our bags, sandwiched between our sketchbooks and school books and journals and novels and pens and everything else, our shoulders slumped under the necessarily heavy et cetera we carted around as teenagers. sometimes we even read the articles, but we had those old issues to inspire, like unread bibles on shelves or in drawers, truth and morality radiating outward from its mere presence. those images and names and dates and history just needed to be close.

i sort of lost it after college, lost that enthusiasm for the expanded field, for art and art history. i grew tired of the endless puzzle, opaque pictures and films and performances and actions and essays. i grew tired of every new modernism, of every critique of every past critique. i grew tired of words shakespeare wouldn’t have made up and the self-referential mobius strip that contains and validates and props up of the specter of contemporary art.

i love it and hate it. but i have still subscribed to artforum for the past three years, glossy magazines the shape of records but thicker and heavier piling up on my carpet, often unread.

the other week, i read an essay by thierry de duve concerning marcel duchamp and his effect on art. clear and understandable, de duve’s writing is lovely, not over technical, not dry. i realized while reading his article that i knew so little of duchamp, this giant of art history, this figure whose history seemed so pat. engaged with de duve’s article, i wondered how i would argue against it and delighted in how convincing and refreshing i found his thesis.

at some point, duchamp stopped making art and started playing chess. i don’t make art but still consider myself an artist.

sometimes when adam and i find ourselves in a bar to which i’ve never been, i feel a flash of that same warmth and unfamiliarity and uneasiness i felt when i first moved to portland. the city feels trite now, worn out and worn in, but it wasn’t always this way.

when the drought in oregon ends, i’m sure i’ll find myself tired of the long rain again, but on some quiet afternoon, not too cold, not too rainy, i'll walk down through the neighborhood to meet a friend for a drink and wonder at how lovely this place can be, lush, green, and damp, even in winter.

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