Monday, August 22, 2016


I always wanted to write jokes,
like the stupidest of one-liner
type things. Unconscionable
crap. 'Two rather dense guys are
talking. One says, 'I went to a
Muslim restaurant last night.'
The other guy says, 'Why? 
Really? And how did you 
know it was a Muslim restaurant?'
'Well,' he says, 'the waiter said
everything was Allah cart.' 
Or, 'what kind of nuts are
put out as snacks on an airplane
charter flight of college professors
off to a conference, first class?'
The answer: 'Academia nuts.'
There's another one too, but
I forget it. There are also a few 
I won't put here, for reasons
of 'lewdness'. Once I forget
something, a lot of times now
it stays gone  -  but sometimes
there's a deep resource archiver
part of my brain that keeps 
working and comes through.
That might be, as I think about
it theoretically now, in older
age, why I'm more and more
drawn to the simple, steady 
unmanagablity of my late
drawings. They retain nothing
except what the 'line' gives
them, and it's all outside of
reason or logic. They just
'go.' And it's a very satisfying
way. Years-long studies of Art
can actually manage to screw a
person up more than anything.
I wish I had all the grand sort
of recall I used to have, but it's
just slowly fading. Like Mark 
Twain said, in the opposite 
fashion, "I remember everything; 
even the things that didn't 
happen." God grant me a long
enough life to start remembering
that too.
As I was conveying: 'Art' education, 
or any education, I guess, really can
and does strait-jacket a person into
simply no longer 'seeing' their matter
at hand, whatever the subject. You
begin only accepting the categories
and the structures  -  into which all
things must first 'fit'  -  and lose all
the forceful creativity of the make-up.
And, really, it's the creativity alone
that gives anything any sense or
'value'  -  I don't mean money.
That all was the best part of the
Studio School  -  it hadn't yet
fully established any of that
'curriculum' stuff, and of course,
and because of that too, it was
not accredited yet by the NYState
Board of Regents  -  the education 
goons who pass judgment on
stuff like that. So, we all had open
aspects to what we'd choose to do.
It was run as an old-style French
'atelier' school  -  where you'd get
studio space of your own, a few
advisers to be around and to choose
from for critiques or guidance or
discussion, and the pace of your
actual 'learning' and resourcing,
was all left up to, pretty much,
you yourself  -  plenty of library
stuff, art books, literature, etc.,
and because it was NYC, all else
was around and available 
everywhere: from Art Shows
to Galleries to Museums to
Peep Shows (for anatomy) to
zinc exhibitions (not really; I
just wanted to close it with a 'z').
And, of course, the speed and the
impetus of how you went about
all this was your own  -  as long 
as you could come back with 
something, show your selected
adviser(s) what you'd been up
to and have some material progress
or work evidence from it. No
slouchers here. We were a really
intense, well-fused group, mostly
of work-loners, just each going
about our own tasks. The place 
stunk, and thank God it did, 
of oil paint and stretched canvas, 
and lumber. You'd smell it 200
feet away, as you approached. 
For me it was the happiest smell
of all. I'd made it. I really felt
the accomplishment. The other
really advantageous thing was the
lecture series, and the nearly
constant presence of musician
Morton Feldman. That made a 
huge difference and it was as
if, almost, a 'second' school or 
a 'second curriculum' of modern 
music had been added. I really
enjoyed that. There was, and
probably still isn't, any way
to put a price, or a value on
any of this at all. For me, and
from my perspective, it was
a true deliverance. My old me
was over and done, I buried 
him a hundred times along 
the way and where I could.
This was a new, firebreathing
me. Here, now, with a means of
getting through to real life. That's
how I felt.
Remember my Marleybourne 
Fishburne thing? New York City,
as it presented itself to me, was 
filled with characters of just 
that nature. Miraculous people,
and they talked. No one got
hung about pools and gardens
and fences or cars. It wasn't 
like that. Old 1967 New York,
even with the stuff fading and
disappearing within it, was still
graspable as a place of the old. 
Fearsome leftovers. You could
still walk along Sullivan Street
and know that all along the way
there'd be old Italian thugs there, 
neighborhood guys, ready to 
come out from between the 
cracks and alleys and maybe
beat the shit lout of you just to
make a point about faggy new
hippie kids, or whatever. This all
belonged to them  -  even as it
was crumbling and they didn't
even know it. We worshipped
crumbling walls. Where I had
come from, there'd be, instead, a
worry committee of nitwits
convened to determine how to
fix up, bolster and re-paint 
that crumbling wall  -  'God forbid 
someone should see and judge us 
by that.'  Whatever they were 
thinking, anywhere else, it 
always escaped me.
This was different.
Here was real.

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