The World of Thorns,1968Hand-carved acrylic,electroplated plexiglass,on illuminated base14¾×14×14′′(sculpture) Collection of The Museum of Modern Art, New York,
Gift of Agnes Gundin honor of Joel Grey
To start the year 2020, this issue has three sections. In the first, seven poets reflect on the work of the artist Romare Bearden. In the second, an architect reflects on the art and architecture of Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The third section is an essay about my transformative experience of the Agnes Denes retrospective, Agnes Denes: Absolutes and Intermediates at The Shed in NYC through March 22, 2020. At 88, Denes is an artist who blends philosophy, mathematics, ecology, and science with the human condition in this significant exhibition of five decades of her work.
I am a mountain climber. My struggle is visible from up close and from afar. People watch me, some with awe, others bemused or even derisive. They watch my climb from far away or from below for few ever attempt to climb a distance with me. Some give it a whirl, fail and leave town. Or go into related professions. Almost anyone I know was once a mountain climber of sorts. They would like to climb the mountain, or rather be at the peak, but are not willing to make the effort, do the climb, and stick with it, day after day, year after year. They usually start puffing and complaining, tire and get frightened fairly soon, as if some kind of punishment awaited them beyond a certain cliff, and not pleasures beyond belief. The fear of knowing and the exertion keeps them spectators. They watch from below where it's safe. But one often hears them tell the tales of mountains climbed, or else, how easily they could do it, if only they really wanted to, or if someone had not stood in their way, or something, like having to make a living had not interfered. – Agnes Denes, Confessions of a Mountain Climber, 1980.
The idea of artists responding to one another’s work has been the premise for many articles published in The Art Section throughout its nearly 13-year history. George Hornbein, who has been hiking his way around the globe, is an architect. For TAS, Hornbein writes about and documents his visit to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa, Spain, the museum designed by architect Frank Gehry. Gehry changed the face of his city forever with his design for this museum in the Basque Region. Since it opened in 1997, over ten million people have visited the museum. In his essay, Hornbein reflects on the connections between Architecture and Art.
Connections between things and the layering of art upon art are always worth exploring. On January 3, 2020, The Art Section for the first time presented a live event in collaboration with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta as part of the High Frequency Friday series. Poet Opal Moore curated the poets whom TAS has commissioned to write poems in response to the exhibition Something Over Something Else: Romare Bearden Profiles Series (on view at the High Museum until February 2, 2020, then traveling to the Cincinnati Art Museum where it will be from February 28 to May 24, 2020). In this issue, we are publishing poems by Jericho Brown, Melba J. Boyd, Sharan Strange, Felton Eaddy, Frank X Walker and Rachel Eliza Griffiths along with audio recordings of the poets reading their work. Opal Moore has included a new a poem for this issue as well. This is the first of many live events The Art Section hopes to produce.
All my very best,
The Art Section