Posts Tagged ‘John Ashbery’

The Experience Of Experience

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Irondequoit Bay from front porch of MacGregors on Empire Boulevard in Rochester, New York

John Ashbery grew up in Sodus NY, near where our literary friends just bought a house, and he went to school in Rochester, later living on Dartmouth Street where Peggi and I lived when we moved (back here in my case) from Indiana. I di not know much about him until died. I still don’t but I love the snippets o poetry hat have been quoted in his obits and related remembrances.

“I feel the carousel starting slowly
And going faster and faster: desk, papers, books,
Photographs of friends, the window and the trees,
Merging into one neutral band that surrounds
Me on all sides, everywhere I look.
And I cannot explain the action of leveling,
Why it should all boil down to one
Uniform substance, a magma of interiors.”

Ashbery claimed that he was trying to convey “the experience of experience.” What a noble pursuit.

Sifting The April Sunlight For Clues

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

Alex Katz print from "Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror" at Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY

It was still April when we saw this painting in the Lockhart Gallery at the Memorial Art Galley in Rochester. We were there for the opening of the Fiber Arts show but found the sideshow in the Lockhart Gallery more interesting. In connection with Writer’s & Books’ thirtieth anniversary they have mounted a show of the pages of “Self Portrait In A Convex Mirror”, a limited edition (175 copies) of an artist’s book centered around, literally, the pages are round John Ashbery’s poem which was based on Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola’s 1524 painting with the same title. The book included an lp of Ashbery reading the poem, letterpress printed pages of the poem and artist’s prints form Larry Rivers, Elaine and William William DeKoning, Jim Dine, R.J. Kitaj and Alex Katz.

I have liked Alex Katz’s work since Charlie Coco took me to Times Square in the seventies to see his giant murals of people’s heads. And then a few years later we were looking at the Whitney Biennial and there was some sort of installation of drum set behind a curtain in the gallery and it appeared they were inviting people to play the set so I sat down and knocked out something. I put the sticks down and came out from behind the curtain and found myself face to face with Alex Katz. He was wearing brown bucks.

John Ashbery speaks at the Gallery about his his life, the New York School and his work on June 2nd.