Dec 282018
 
I’m moving slow enough to see
A robin standing on the shoulder
Beside the cars, head twisted so,
One eye staring up to the sun,
Another staring down to salt, 
grey dust and asphalt. Hit,
It stands, caught for a moment
On two legs—for just one moment— 

Then it falls on its side
Never to move again.
Dec 272018
 

Today the Beav and I took the train into town to see the Alexander Calder show at the MBAM.

What struck me at the show, and what I’m posting photographs to try to show, is the way the curators lit the sculptures to highlight and specify the complexity in what could seem like folk art or fairly imposing abstractions.

Shadows as interpretive tool.
“Performing Seal” and it’s shadow

The show was comprehensive. In addition to the various mobiles, there were examples of juvenilia, early paintings, early wire sculptures, and an early silent documentary showing Calder in his Parisian studio making a wire portrait. There were also scale models of late, monumental works like “Three Discs” on l’île Saint-Hélène in Montreal.

Yet despite its scope, the show was also small enough to be manageable. The beauty of the objects wasn’t overwhelmed by the scale.

Self-portrait with sculpture and the Beav

Dec 272018
 

By its end, this trilogy reveals itself to be nothing less than a deep thinking through of the historical consequences of racism and its relentless transformation of the world day-by-day, year-by-year into something worse. The corruption is familial, it is sexual, it is social and political, it is climatic. 

The fantasy here is not that a wrong can be righted, even if only allegorically. The novel doesn’t right the wrong.

No, the fantasy is the idea that with courage, sacrifice and love, on-going destruction can be halted and the wound staunched long enough, to leave room for people of good will to begin the hard work of building up something better from the ruins.

What I find most political about this fantasy isn’t the representation of characters who are women and brown and queer, as powerful as that clear commitment to their visibility and their stories is. No, I think it is the hope that (and the confidence that) enough people will want to stop the destruction and that they can do so, even though the work required will necessarily begin with and take as its materials a world made a wasteland by the horrors of the past.