12 June 2012

In The Mauve District

"There will be no edges, but curves.
Clean lines pointing only forward.

History, with its hard spine & dog-eared
Corners, will be replaced with nuance.

Just like the dinosaurs gave way
To mounds and mounds of ice.

Women will still be women, but
The distcintion will be empty, Sex,

Having outlived every threat, will gratify
Only the mind, which is where it will exist.

For kicks, we'll dance for ourselves
Before mirros studded with golden bulbs.

The oldest among us will recognize that glow  -
But the word sun will have been re-assigned

To a Standard uranium-Neutralizing device
Found in households and nursing hoes.

And yes, we'll live to be much older, thanks
To popular consensus.  Wreightless, unhinged,

From even our own moon, we'll drift
In the haze of space, which will be, once

And for all, scrutable and safe."
 - Sci-Fi is published in  Life Of Mars by Tracy K. Smith,  Minneapolis, Graywolf Press: 2011.

 Tracy K. Smith was recently awarded the 2011 Pultizer Prize in poetry for Life On Mars.   The book includes the long poem  The Speed of Belief, an elegy for her father, a scientist who . worked on the development of the Hubble  space telescope.  In Smith's poems, religion, science, and art are the abstractions that help us to escape earth's gravity, to catapult us into the larger universe we can barely imagine.  She also pays homage to David Bowie's surreal and abstract song of the same name in more than one poem.
I've mentioned before how the support of a dedicated patron can have a  limiting effect on an artist's reputation when it results in a small number of museums displaying the artist's work.   Examples are Charles Lang Freer   and the artists Thomas Wilmer Dewing and Dwight William Tryon or Duncan Phillips and the artist Augustus Vincent Tack. Recently, in A Curator's Quest William S. Rubin of the Museum of Modern Art tells how he persuaded Duncan Phillips to part with Dune by Tack, by saying that Tack deserved to be on view in New York City. (The Phillips Collection is in Washington, D.C.)  What Rubin doesn't say is whether it was by chance or by some visual affinity that two of the paintings he acquired for the museum present the cosmos in the same unusual palette: mauve, yellow, and green.  The Hubble, launched in 1990, has transmitted back to earth images of Magellanic Clouds in deepest mauve.

1. Augustus Vincent Tack - Dunes, 1935, MOMA, New York.
2. Helen Frankenthaler - Mauve District, 1966, MOMA, New York.


Rouchswalwe said...

My prom dress was mauve ...

Jane said...

Rouchswalwe, the American print maker Gustave Baumann used a similar palette in his images of Indiana and Arizona, two very different sorts of places. Apparently, he saw those colors as real,just as Tack and Frankenthaler did in imagination.