Monday, July 25, 2011

Blinky Palermo: Retrospective 1964-1977, CCS Bard, Annandale-on-Hudson NY & Dia: Beacon, Beacon NY


If you only see one show this summer see Blinky Palermo’s retrospective which is currently installed at CCS Bard and at Dia: Beacon. Go to Bard first. These are the early works 1964-1970ish when Palermo was a mere 21-27 years of age. Some of these earlier works belies Palermo’s influences; Beuys, Knoebel…but they also posses this eye gaping astonishment. Within this exhibition there are some perfect pieces of art, just so damn good it makes your chest clench. It’s a disservice to describe, just go see it. Most wonderful to see in real life are the cloth paintings, the seams, THE SEAMS. There is unimagined sensitivity and history in those seams. Then go to Dia and in those hallowed walls you can see the zippity clean, color spatial genius of Palermo’s “mature works” (he was 32ish). His German flag colored (posthumously titled) To The People of New York, 1976 is a wall poem or actually good jazz. This display is concertedly more austere but being in the Dia catacombs gives it gravitas and firm posterity in certain fields of art history which is good in this case. The Dia installation is the first time that just looking at colors made my eyes hurt, effecting retinal strobing eye ball seizures.



Instead of going on and on about the, oh my good godness of this show, I will embark instead to contextualize these works and this young German fellow with an unlikely moniker. He was born Peter Schwarze in Leipzig, 1943, was adopted with his twin brother (what in the world happened to that twin?!) and his name became Peter Heisterkamp. He was taken under the tutelage of Beuys when he attended the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He visited his friend Gerhard Richter in New York in 1970 and then moved there in 1973.



Like many post WWII Germans, Palermo is said to have had a fascination with all things American. The time in which he made these works, even though mostly in Germany, was saturated by American culture and most especially its music. Who knows what Palermo was actually listening to really, but the below are a few songs that may bring to mind the time this young twenty-something was being influenced by. These songs are selected in particular to reflect my unrequited love for Palermo, as a man and as an artist.



Palermo died mysteriously in 1977 at 33 (Jesus age) in Maldives. He is now a member of the dead-too-early-beautiful-gifted art club, a club we all grossly glom onto, and like its other members, Palermo’s death is viscerally sad in that he never had time to fail and also that it was so obvious he had so much to work out and bring to the table. Some artists make it because they work hard as hell and don’t give a fuck who says otherwise. Others, like Palermo, are gifted. Can art be a gift? With Palermo as example, yes.



Now here are some tunes…


Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go? 1964


Baby, baby
Baby don't leave me
Ooh, please don't leave me
All by myself

I've got this yearning, burning
Yearning feelin' inside me
Ooh, deep inside me
And it hurts so bad

You came into my heart
So tenderly
With a burning love
That stings like a bee

Now that I surrender
So helplessly
You now wanna leave
Ooh, you wanna leave me

Ooh, baby, baby
Where did our love go?
Ooh, don't you want me
Don't you want me no more

Ooh, baby
Baby, baby
Where did our love go
And all your promisses
Of a love forever more

I've got this yearning, burning
Yearning feelin' inside me
Ooh, deep inside me
And it hurts so bad

Before you won my heart
You were a perfect guy
But now that you got me
You wanna leave me behind
Baby, baby, ooh baby

Baby, baby don't leave me
Ooh, please don't leave me
All by myself

Ooh, baby, baby
Where did our love go?



Rolling Stones, Paint It Black Lyrics, 1966

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they're all painted black
With flowers and my love, both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a newborn baby it just happens ev'ryday

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not forsee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/r/rolling+stones/paint+it+black_20117875.html ]
I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

Hmm, hmm, hmm...

I wanna see it painted black, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun, blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black
Yeah

Hmm, hmm, hmm...



The Guess Who, These Eyes, 1969



These eyes cry every night for you.
These arms long to hold you again.
The hurtin’s on me yeah,
But I will never be free no my baby, no no.
You gave a promise to me yeah and you broke it, you broke it. Oh, no.

These eyes watched you bring my world to an end.
This heart could not accept and pretend.
The hurtin’s on me yeah,
But I will never be free no no no.
You took the vow with me yeah.
You spoke it, you spoke it, babe.

These eyes are cryin’
These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you.
These eyes are cryin’
These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you.

These eyes are cryin’
These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you.

These eyes cry every night for you.
These arms, these arms long to hold you, hold you again.
These eyes are cryin’
These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you.
These eyes are cryin’
These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you.
These eyes are cryin’
These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you.
These eyes are cryin’
These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you.
Baby, baby, baby, baby.