In September 1979 I moved to New York City from Chicago after finishing graduate school at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and began to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art every Wednesday between part time jobs. I saw your exhibition. More than once. And a volunteer from AMNH who was a friend, Ellen Friedman, gave me the catalogue. Twenty five years later I visit the Clyfford Still gallery for long periods of time–just sitting and absorbing the painting. It is generally quiet with only a few tourists moving through. Most don’t appear to understand the art movements of the twentieth century. Yet sometimes there are others who also sit quietly and muse.
Your aesthetic morals were right for painting. Thank you for their purity. Mr. Still. You wouldn’t approve of the dominant mode in New York City today. Even I’m estranged from the sensibility of the powerful trustees at the Whitney Museum and their curators. I’m 54 but see myself as far older than my years, even though I use fake fur and artificial flowers as points of contrast rich with meaning about life today. Because I believe that visual art should be a power object to be revered I am quite alone. Today being an artist is seen as an avenue to wealth and status more so than a serious calling. Our country is superficial in its interests–sports, sexuality, youth rather than introspection or philosophical questions. But my communion with art connects me to the past, the present and the future. Awareness of culture creates community. The visions of one person become the awareness of many.
As Charles says to me , “Irony is cowardice.” I believe in making brave paintings.