Blackpaint 226

Jay Defeo

I came across her story in “The Beats; A Graphic History”,  ed. by Paul Buhle (Souvenir Press, 2009).  She was a San Francisco abstract artist, sort of AbEx, who spent eight years working on one painting, “The Rose” (presumably doing others at the same time).  Like the one painted in the garage by the dad in “Malcolm in the Middle”, it got heavier and heavier over time, as she added all sorts of metallic and other things to the surface.  Eventually, she had to move and the window and sill had to go, to get the painting out.

Anyway, she died in 1989, of cancer contracted, so the comic book says, as a result of sucking her brushes to get a point and ingesting the paint thereon.  I went to Google to check out her work, and was staggered by it.  It’s great – go to and have a good look.

Cass Art

For those readers living in London – what’s happened at Cass in Charing Cross Road?  I went there yesterday after a gap of a few weeks, and the staff appear to be all new.  Not a single one of the lovely, friendly old people – well, the old young people – were there.  Presumably they’ve all been promoted (as they deserve); they can’t possibly have been got rid of, surely.


I am just looking at a drawing by M. (a reproduction, alas) entitled “Scherzo, or the torments of the flesh”, that is kept in the Vatican Museum – “well – hidden”, according to the little Taschen by Neret.  The reason for this is that it is a drawing of a man’s profile and he wears a cap in the brim of which, over his left ear, is an enormous, engorged penis, curved and pointing skywards.  The book describes this as a self – portrait, but the profile of the face bears no resemblance to M. as far as I can see.  Perhaps Neret is referring to the penis.


From Michelangelo to Leonardo, and I’m looking at the red chalk “Study for the Last Supper (Judas)”;  again in profile ( no penis this time), the portrait shows an elderly, strong muscled, firm-jawed man with a long Roman nose and wide-eyed, surprised but not dismayed.  Odd that there is no hint of “evil” in the expression, or even weakness, given that it’s Judas.


Which US painter, known as an associate of the AbExes etc., painted George Washington crossing the Delaware river?



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