cool how a person is mostly a long tube wrapped in hair and skin
I just found a small pebble in my hair even though I took a shower this morning. I hope this means what I think it means: that I’m turning into a golem.
I cant believe that I’m thirty years old. I also cant believe in UFOs, but neither of these beliefs prevents me from living in terror/anxiety.
pro-tip: when you’re going over to somebody’s house to make sex-love, leave your throwing knives at home. this tip also applies to getting on airplanes.
the ebook version of Infinite Jest is longer than the print version because the ebook version has 2,000 extra pages that are just links to that Rick Astley song
6: Piet Mondrian and Robbie: The Happy Birthday edition!
Not to get too soap-boxy, but in what seems like increasingly high risk and high tension global-political situations, it’s nice to write about an art movement like the one today’s artist Piet Mondrian helped form: De Stijl.
Also the name of a badass White Stripes album.
De Stijl means “the style” and it sought to create artworks via pure abstraction, as such the Dutch school sought to use only horizontal and vertical lines, squares and rectangles and primary colors and black and white. The members of the De Stijl artist collective (how cool would it be to belong to one of those?) were a sort of neo-Platonists: that is, they believed that through this emphasis on preciseness and geometry, true beauty and understanding could be reached.
Mondrian himself has a moving, if somewhat obtuse quote about that: “I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that…I believe it is possible that, through horizontal and vertical lines constructed with awareness…these basic forms of beauty, supplemented if necessary by other direct lines or curves, can become a work of art, as strong as it is true.”
This description sounds so hoity-toity, but when I show you these examples, you’re gonna go, “Ohhh, I totally know what you mean.”
(That last one is today’s remade piece, called Broadway Boogie-Woogie).
In fact, while living in Paris, Mondrian knew Picasso and was influenced by him quickly. His break with cubism came via his own grappling with representation coupled with getting stuck at home in The Netherlands on the eve of WWI.
As you may have noticed, a lot of art, culture and literature movements coalesce around wars. I originally said that it’s nice to write about De Stijl in times of high tension because to me, I really see their movement being concerned with creating a realm of beauty, restraint and rationality in a wider world in which all of those things were crumbling.
Not too much longer (about 40 years) after Mondrian and his primary colored squares, poetry got an injection of thought from one Frank O’Hara and it is in the mashup of these two that today’s blank went from this:
Before we get too deep into personism, I’ve just got to say that the detail and texture on this piece (which our artist has renamed) is incredible. Each one of those print-squares was cut out and attached and every colored square was really minutely filled in.
And actually that minuteness is a good transition into our second movement, again addressing abstraction. The text in those squares and the new title comes from an O’Hara essay called “Personism: A Manifesto.” Published in 1959, this super funny essay (go read it, it’s short) outlines some ideas of this “movement which I [O’Hara] recently founded and which nobody knows about.”
Rather than reveling in abstraction, like the De Stijlers, O’Hara didn’t want to touch it. He thought the overemphasis on form was silly (my word, not his) and that poetry should address itself to one person, so that the poem “is at last between two persons instead of two pages.”
In addition to that really emo quote, O’Hara also had a kind of young Marlon Brando thing going on. Dreamboat!
Speaking of dreamboats, our artist today is one himself: a poet, winemaker and all-around super amazing guy who’s having a birthday tomorrow (in his words, he’s turning “the dirty thirty.” Probably you should read this and then blow up his twitter.)
That link may make our Dreamboat No. Dos seem serious, but luckily he’s got as good a balance of the silly in there as O’Hara (seriously: read that essay!) One of the first times I met Robbie, he gave a graduating MFA student a unicorn. Another time, he let me draw a speech bubble saying “yolo” over one of his tattoos. And he routinely recommends awesome Twitter accounts to me, such as Birds Rights Activist.
And on one final note about Robbie, abstraction and poetry, included when he sent me his artwork was a piece by his young niece, clearly also exploring the personism-De Stijl tension:
this was super fun to do, and super fun to read about it.