Monday, April 16, 2007


For this term I am taking a writing-intensive course at PSU. I am surprised at how much of my word-juice is already zapped from the class and it’s possible I won’t be posting as much.

Over the weekend I read an interesting profile by Leslie Camri in the Times on the persona and style of Louise Nevelson. No doubt this has all been tackled before, but this whole issue of how-she-looked vs. what-she-made has only been on my mind for the past few years. This is because I am often the Object within my art career and even in my own exhibitions and like Nevelson, some of this is probably my own doing.

Not that I was looking at it that way at all; too na├»ve and embracive to be so calculating as Nevelson, who is written as one who knew just what she was building – a legend and nothing less. But as the article reminds us, she paid a long-term price for it by not being taken all that seriously. Once she was finally shown, it was with the guys half her age.

But everyone was too busy looking at her - I know I was! I have childhood memories from the 1960s, seeing some spread on her – probably Life Magazine. You see, what is strange for me now, thinking of all of this, is that I know today how incredible her work is. Even the piece right here in the Portland Art Museum is good. It’s taken me all of these years to get over her and look at what she accomplished.

This article points out that artists for many years had personal style. Camri covers the gamut from Duchamp and Picasso to Kahlo and O’Keeffe. Artists were allowed their eccentricities, the writer seems to think, but these days we are way too involved in our careering to wage personal or eccentric veneer. The headline goes something like Can an Artist Still Look Like One?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i like what lauri simmons had to say.. “All my strangeness is channeled into my work..but I’ve always admired the idea that an artist’s persona could be seamlessly at one with her creations.”

unlike you, for many years i had no concept of what nevelson looked like...i guess her massive constructions were captivating enough for me. but, i'm glad i have the complete picture makes the work more intense.

it only makes sense to me that so much attention is paid to 'looks' in this industry...we ARE visual people, after all..