Friday, May 4, 2007

who gets to call . . .

i watched this documentary last night On Demand. mostly about Henry Geldzhaler, the curator famous for working so closely w/ the many of the new and controversial artists of the post-war era (mainly, into the 60's . . . famously friendly w/ Andy Warhol). he curated a show, "Henry's Show" at The Met . . . all contermporary and pop art. i loved the interviews w/ Frank Stella, James Rosenquist, and others . . . the depiction of Henry as someone who simply saw talent (what does that mean, you say? this is a little blog entry, so i'll pass on that for now). i enjoyed seeing Henry as Zelig, as a sort of shape shifter but not inauthentically so (what is authenticity, you say? not for now) and not even conscientiously so (this, i am getting from his demeanor, which was surely informed by a cultivated cool that projects as "natural"). He seemed to know what he liked or maybe what he needed to like, felt compelled to move toward/with . . . and then -- this is what feels important to me -- he became a part of it, and it seemed effortless (well, in the narrative structure of the documentary, Henry simply seemed to fit where he desired being . . . his power as a curator probably didn't hurt; a carefully crafted image didn't hurt him, and neither did his complete committement to the things he liked, a committment that had him literally diving in to participate . . . in Oldenburg's happenings, in Warhol's films . . .).
i like this one patch of voiceover from some old interview . . . someone talking about pop art, calling it "empty," and someone responding, . . . . it was either Henry or Andy from what i can tell of their voices (must have been that only the audio had survived), and the response was something like "oh, it's not interesting to think about emptiness (quiet laughter)". it was this very simple conversation from which emerged a sense of purpose or potential whereas people had been simply freaking out for an answer ("what's it mean?"), and even then, i don't think anyone bothered to stop and memorialize the moment (smart). so i'm pretty sure that few saw it as an answer, which is funny. Andy was laughing a lot at his critics, but i'm not sure it was about rejecting criticism. i love that stance. i'm ID'ing w/ it because i have to in order to write or make films or fling myself out the door in the morning.

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