Friday, June 19, 2009

A Day at the Met, Or How Tasty Was My Bacon.

My reason for going to the palace on 5th avenue today was to check out the large Francis Bacon Retrospective that is currently on view until the middle of August. Out of Brooklyn and on to the R train for the long boring ride (two trains please) but happily I have a fun book I’m reading called “Hubert’s Freaks The Rare Book Dealer, The Times Square Talker, and The Lost Photos Of Diane Arbus” by Gregory Gibson, so the ride was not all that bad. I hate the subway but that’s another story. This story is about the Bacon Paintings, which happily still thrill and scarce me. Some of them look like the last nightmare I had, what with all those twisted and distorted faces and bodies doing some pretty nasty things, (only to some people I might add) Bacon handled space and color adroitly and with cold passion, not to mention his delightful and delicate use of texture. I know that some people (including an art critic I know) hate his work. This critic thought that his paintings just give more ammunition to the anti-gay forces (yes Bacon was gay) because to him Bacon shows gay men as ugly and predatory creatures, heavy drinkers and sadomasochists which is utterly ridiculous. And besides some homosexuals are ugly, predatory, heavy drinkers and bad dressers to boot, but so are some heterosexuals. Also I doubt many right wing yahoos and know nothing homophobes are on their way to the Met to see this show, or even know who Bacon is. To them bacon is what is on their breakfast plates next to the eggs. I judge art by how it makes me feel, not on an artist’s personal life and sexual preferences. Sure Bacon’s life was messy (get a look at the pictures of his studio) but he took the mess and made some of the most rewarding and memorable paintings of the latter part of the 20th Century. His paintings startle. I love his mixing of abstract and figurative elements, and his sarcastic portraits especially the ones of Popes with their screaming mouths. His paintings are grotesque bloody, and beautiful full of spunk and guts. This was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time. I usually can’t look at much art at one time, before I start getting tired and drained, and The Met is one of the best places to get tired and drained. I mean everywhere you look there are magnificent things, the place sags and groans from all of the stuff that’s housed there. Now this is one museum I would love to get locked in at night after they close their doors. I usually just stumble my way from one room to another, a little of this and a little of that. The Met is a visual schmorgesboard set out just for me but after a while it all starts to blend and I get a little sick to my stomach and have to leave. Still seeing some of my favorites like those gorgeous O' Keeffe’s, the great Arthur Doves, my lovely Modigliani‘s, the Soutine’s, the Hoppers, and on and on made for a very nice day and all for $1.00. That’s what I give them and not the suggested donation of $20.00. What do I look like a fucking millionaire?


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