I was in Washington DC last week, going to the museums there. It was a good moment for me to take a break from working on my own stuff and re-charge my art batteries. I saw many fine things and was reminded that the reason I’m not in the museum is that I suck compared to the things you find there that have stood the test of time. I’m not talking about, for instance, the whole of the New York School of abstract painters, all of which will be forgotten when the living generation of people who talk the line about them die off. Except Jackson Pollock, OK. I mean something more, like the wealth of 19th and 18th century French sculpture which resides like ballast of the ship of post renaissance sculptural history.
From the Baroque to Modernism, this French sculpture stayed the course for 300 years. A panther attacking a horse upon which standing a naiad holding the reins of four stallions pulling a chariot made from a scallop shell rolling on top of two porpoises. A nobleman in a lace collar and ermine fur doublet caught in the wind with an elaborately coiffed and curled wig. I stood for as long as fifteen minutes before some of these, spellbound by the sequential vortex of complimentary details demonstrating the infinitude of creation. Like the psychedelic experience of looking at a dandelion, mesmerized, seeing more and more, on and on into infinity, the nuance and subtly of the beauty and wonder of its construction.
notes: Jules Dalou, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux