Planet Claire

I went to the dentist today. The one Michael set me up with as a parting gift. His office is up on 86th between Madison and the park.

I had time and I needed some art so I walked the two blocks to the Met. From the dentist to some of the most beautiful art (and some choice stolen artifacts) in the world in two blocks.

I picked the modern and contemporary wing, hoping to see some Chagall, Kandinsky, Rothko. But first an exhibit on the Black form captured in sculpture during the 19th century. I’d seen this great documentary on HBO this weekend about the first major Black art exhibit in 1976. One of the artists said that when he goes to museums, he looks at acquisition dates for art made by Black artists. It’s all fairly recent because museums know now that they have to get right with the exclusion that comes from White curators. So now I look too.

There was Rothko and there was Kandinsky. No Chagall today. I started at strokes. And colors. And textures. Materials. I looked at the birthdates of artists.

I read the explanations of art. I love them and loathe them. Contextualize my art but don’t make me explain it. As Matty Healy said, and as probably countless other artists have said, my art is irreducible. Don’t ask me to explain what I have already edited into its purest form. It speaks for itself.

I want to know what the artists were reading, who they talked to, what they ate and drank, what they saw in the news and the memories that haunted them. That is what informed their art. Please don’t explain to me how a certain shade of blue expressed the horrors of the machine age. That pompous buffoonery is for critics and curators. Give me soul or give me death.

The museum was about to close, so I walked through the impressionists. Van Goghs, Monets, Degas, Gauguins blurred around me as I searched for an exit. Let’s not worship them because we were told to. Let’s love them as complex amalgams of dust that became self-aware. They had hangovers. They laughed late into the night and they collapsed, sweaty, next to other sweaty bodies in the cool of the night. They poured their inner worlds onto canvas. They doubted. They peacocked.

Don’t give me pretty art.

As I was leaving, I peered into the sculpture garden and saw purple lights being installed for some to do tonight. I imagine cater waiters and women in Balenciaga drinking vodka sodas, bored to tears by yet another fundraiser, tanned from weeks in Portofino and the Dalmatian Coast.

On the trip back to the train there were countless ethnic nannies rearing white toddlers.

I’d never want to wive any of the men I pass on these streets. But I wouldn’t mind lending an ear and maybe other body parts for illicit amounts of money and privilege. This guy I slept with a while back texted me last night, back in SF after Burning Man, barking up my Brooklyn tree for things I don’t feel like giving.

I made my way home from the 4 to the C, stopping at Fulton to look at more art (the train station also houses artists in residence) and to buy everything bagel bites filled with cream cheese at Dunkin Donuts (even artists have to eat).

I came home and made sangria (Pinot noir, triple sec, lemon peel and juice, orange juice, mint, club soda). And I dehumidified under my fan.

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