Art that can be construed as supporting LGBTQ+ rights
Stephen Lauf

Again last night before going to bed, I chose to peruse a back issue of Artforum International, November 2021, to help me fall asleep. The magazine cover, it turns out, is a delightful calendrical coincidence, a rehearsal view of My Barbarian's Silver Minds, Black Dragon Canyon, Utah, March 19, 2006. Well, "I certainly have to read that article tomorrow," I thought to myself, plus, it was fun to remember some of the stuff I did March 19, 2006, including reminiscing about a short discussion I had with the last Palestinian Governor of Galilee at his then home in nearby Wyncote, PA sometime 1977. So, this morning I again pick up Artforum International, November 2021 to do some reading before fully getting out of bed. This time, the first thing I notice is a review entitled "Colored Pencil Redux"--"Is this about race?" I wonder. No, it is not.
First paragraph: "Do real artists use colored pencils? Not often, I suppose—it’s something more readily associated with hobbyists, dilettantes—so when they do, there must be a good reason for it. “Colored Pencil Redux” was the follow-up to a show of works in this sidelined medium mounted at McKenzie Fine Art in 2019. Judging by the nearly fifty abstractions on paper by sixteen artists in this recent iteration, the explanation might involve a desire to make space for qualities of obsessiveness, eccentricity, and self-indulgence that are all too often ironed out of professional-grade artwork. Hallmarks of most of the pieces on view were precision and intricacy; symmetrical composition was also abundant. Free gesture was entirely absent; instead, subjective investment was reflected in an assiduous filling-in of predetermined shapes—a practice of devoted attentiveness."
I really like how this opening paragraph so effortlessly goes straight to the root of the issue. "Who is the author?" Well, well, well, it's Barry Schwabsky, again. Now I'm wondering, "What is it about Barry Schwabsky's writing that somehow seems to effect me?"
Last paragraph: "Outstanding among the more typically hard-edge, zingily colored works were five by Geoffrey Young. These eleven-inch squares with four-way symmetrical kaleidoscopic arrangements of ornamental geometric shapes possessed an unexpected intensity, as if they were meant to drill their way through your eyes to your brain. Despite being composed of a multitude of small shapes, these impactful drawings felt bigger than their literal size. Young’s imagery brought me back around to the question I started with--Do real artists use colored pencils?--because he, as far as I know, has never hung out a shingle as a professional artist. He’s one of the best poets around and has been an occasional curator and gallerist, too (the Geoffrey Young Gallery has been a summer staple in the Berkshires town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, for years). Well, professionalism be damned! Young’s drawings are a reminder that just as a poet can be a doctor or a lawyer by trade, a real artist is whoever makes real art, even if it’s just a side hustle or pastime. And if using colored pencils suggests an affinity with the amateur, as this exhibition showed, then their use should be all the more welcomed."
Ah yes, I remember Barry Schwabsky is also a poet.
Anyway, I go on to read about My Barbarian, and then about the art of Petrit Halilaj during which I receive a "happy birthday" text from a close friend I've known since April 1980. "Thanks Mike, I'm laying in bed reading. Not sure what I'm gonna do today, maybe just take it easy, although I feel I should maybe write something about where I am in life right now--I'm old but often feel like a fragile kid instead. Anyway, it's very overcast [so far] today, kinda more dark than light and makes it easy to be lazy."


in the works
Genetic Engineering 006a 006b
Sting/Pee-wee Herman   Pee-wee Herman/Sting

zero zero three

slide painting 006

slide painting 007

slide painting 008

slide painting 009

slide painting 010

"The great artist of tomorrow will go underground."
Marcel Duchamp
Philadelphia   1961.03.20

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Stephen Lauf © 2024.03.20