Friday, November 28, 2008

My painting XLI

As at end October 2008

Another stimulating month at Princeton. The Institute for Advanced Study was certainly the right place to see Dr Atomic in a live telecast from the Met. Much talk from those who knew Oppenheimer (notably Freeman Dyson) and fine film of the making of the atomic bomb (Wonders Are Many). I remembered the tiny triumph of finding authentic echoes of Hiroshima for A Postcard Century. Like most new operas Adams’s latest was a quarter of an hour too long but contained some brilliant episodes; and a masterpiece aria, Batter my Heart. Gerald Finlay was superb as Oppenheimer even though (according to the Institute Director Peter Goddard) he wore the wrong hat.

Mindful of all that, it was interesting for Tarik and myself to work with Jonathan Miller on a fragment of Heart of Darkness in an old New York synagogue on the Lower East Side.

In between bouts of writing about Akan Goldweights I stared at the print out of my painting pinned up on my office blackboard. In the last week of my stay I made some pencil marks on it, erased them, made some more... until I had an idea what to do next. Now back at the studio I have the painting itself to stare at. Things are somewhat promising and I’ve started tentatively attacking the last panel again.

Pencil over print out, late Nov 2008.

The day before I left Princeton I gave a short talk about making the Abbey Memorial. Part of the title refers to Baudelaire's marvelous remark that, whatever his circumstances 'the artist feels much like a prince travelling incognito'.

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