Category: Art

Vila-Matas At Documenta 13

Article-HeaderDid Enrique Vila-Matas attend Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany? Was he an invited artist, albeit an unusual selection being a writer? Is his novel The Illogic of Kassel a fictionalized accounting of Vila-Matas experiences at Documenta 13 or is it a complete fiction? Is Documenta a McGuffin?

I did some quick research after finishing this novel and learned that most of the specifics related to Kassel and Documenta were true: characters, places, events. I was unable to verify the actual art exhibits but considering that there were almost two-hundred exhibits, I can accept that those Vila-Matas wrote about were real or at least variations on real exhibits.

But it strikes me that the reality or fictionalization of the author’s presumed experiences at Documenta 13 are irrelevant to the novel.

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Front_cover_of_A_Heart_So_White_by_Javier_MaríasWhile casually reading A Heart So White (Marías) I stumbled on the term “palinschematic.” Marías parenthetically states that figures of art are palinschematic if “the surface or space they inhabit illustrates a complete story.”

Uh, not only did I not understand what Marías was saying but, after a bit of internet research, almost every reference to “palinschematic” led me back to this passage in the book. I have vowed to do further research into this word or concept and I promise not to try to link it in with the wild bunch from Wasilla.

Does anyone have any familiarity with this term that can stir my muddle and help me see?

(Unfortunately, I am reading Marías’s novel on my iPad so I cannot provide a hard page number but I calculate that it is about Page 127.)

Changing How You Perceive Text

I watched a documentary on the Museum of Modern Art the other day and it was not only a fascinating history of both the museum and the artists it has collected through the years but it also posed several questions about that art. Specifically questioning what is modern art? I highly recommend this documentary to everyone but I viewed it on my Roku from a long-forgotten video site so you may have to do some digging to find the video for yourself.

One thing struck me while watching the video: modern art in many ways was involved with altering the way we see things. Not just a group of  prostitutes, but a collection of planes and lines, or a collection of colors, or some other way of categorizing the visible other than what might be captured in a photograph. Pablo Picasso’s Les demoiselles d’avignon was considered to be perhaps the one painting that forever changed the world of art.

Picasso 2

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Ageless Erotica

It makes sense. What seventy-year-old guy doesn’t imagine a hot night in bed with a young sixty-year-old woman? (or even younger: see Sleeping Beauty). Does the desire ever go away?

Ageless EroticaThe genre of erotica (AKA, dirty books) has been expanded lately to include the sexual escapades of the gray-haired set, or as I call them, my people. But the standard erotic clichés don’t work for older people. As Rachel Kramer Bussel writes in The Daily Beast:

[Joan] Price wanted stories that, while fictional, offered accurate portrayals of senior sex, “not just slapping wrinkles and an arbitrary age on the same old youth-oriented erotica.”

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