Friday, August 11, 2017

All the Way to Basel for Art?

Ellsworth Kelly at Kunstmuseum, Basel

     True confession: I didn't make the two hour train trip to Basel for art, or the one hour trip to Bern for rhubarb tart. Incessant hammering on the roof of our building has meant that I can have peace and quiet to write on the train, which are quite empty most of the day.
     Basel is the city for art, and I only scratched the surface. I sat with the Kelly, because he was the artist who most inspired me 50 years ago. Back then, I did a series of large canvases based on his principles of color and illusion. I learned the techniques for building the shaped canvasses and the hard edges, work I'm still proud of.
     Geneva is less that an hour away. I spent most of my time there in the house where Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born. His mis-fortunes forged his philosophy, which is one of the foundations for liberté-egalité-fraternité  and the rights of man. 
     What a contrast to what I'm reading: the French author, Jean Guéhenno's Diary of the Dark Years, 1940-1944. He survived the Nazi occupation of Paris with integrity. His quotation of the racial and anti-international words of the Nazis echoes ominously. 
     If four years was insufferable, I ask myself how long people of color in the United States will survive. I do know that in resisting, the writers and thinkers of Black Lives Matter, and those that came before, stand for integrity. I know that in the context of longer time and the larger world, they are heroic.

1 comment:

  1. This is a beutiful post. Bravo. I adore the last paragraph. So well felt and so well said. "They are heroic." Longer time and larger world. Stunning. Betsy