Friday, August 01, 2008

Inspirational texts

This morning's NYT has two excellent things that...if I can channel the energy...maybe I can put it toward The Dizzies??

I. Dzyd Dennis talks to Elliott Gould:

On the phone from his home in Los Angeles, Mr. Gould spoke warmly of the movies in the series. “The films hold up as social comments in relation to what seemed to be a changing world,” he said. On the matter of being a generational symbol, though, he was more tentative. “For an awkward audience that didn’t necessarily understand the order of things,” he said, “I would perhaps say I was someone to identify with. One of the things about me is that I’m vulnerable. You can see through me.”

That touching transparency is central to Mr. Gould’s appeal both on and off screen. He has long been prone to bouts of public introspection. The 1970 Time profile pins its subject to the psychoanalytic couch, coaxing out details of his childhood in Bensonhurst, the only son of immigrant parents who had high hopes for his showbiz career, and his failed marriage to Barbra Streisand, whose early stardom saddled him with the nickname Mr. Streisand.

“I’m a little embarrassed about all that now,” he said. “I let myself be known before I understood myself. But had I understood what I was doing, I couldn’t have accomplished it."

II. Holland Cotter on Ad Reinhardt's Black (or "Ultimate") Paintings:

Done in shades of black, with subliminal traces of underlying grids, these were endgame objects, versions of an absolutist art. They embodied no narratives, projected no emotions, broadcast no beliefs; they absorbed light, gave off no heat. The primary reward they offered was the experience of being with them, which, to be an experience (as opposed to a mere walk-by sighting), required patience and concentration.

Despite their visual and conceptual rigor, though, the black paintings are physically delicate in the extreme. The mere touch of a finger leaves a permanent imprint on their matte, suedelike surfaces. The accidental brush of an elbow could create a trail as conspicuous as a tear. Reinhardt was well aware of the paintings’ fragility. Surely he knew that their precarious flawlessness was part of their mystique. It contributed to their being perceived, and valued, as pure things in a corrupted world.

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Blogger Levi Stahl said...

Gould for me is at his best in The Long Goodbye, which I extravagantly hated when I first saw it, but then couldn't get out of my head for weeks and weeks and weeks afterwards. What a performance.

9:26 AM  

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