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September 30, 1979 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-09-30
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Page 8-Sunday, September 30, 1979-The Michigan Daily

--

newman -

(Continued from Page 6)
Wrap over Guston's toilet seat!.
(much giggling) . Oh brother, you
think you know what the term "action
painter" means, you should have seen
that guy move! Actually, yes, we had
lots of fun, and none of the artists still
around seem to have any regrets on
missing out on any frivolity. But it's
hard to defend those who say we were
hopelessly stodgy. Barney said in his
work would be found such "themes" as
man's creation, man's loneliness,
outlasted only by the blank eternity that
promises to watch him pass away, and
the growth of organization within
chaos. With themes like those, you want
Laurel and Hardy?
Now zip, you made your first
public appearance in a shot in New
York in 1950' Why did Barney
choose to use you? If you'll excuse
my coldness, why did he never move
on to anything else?
Don't worry about it, R.J., it's some-
thing that I get asked more times than
you could imagine. Actually, I first
started working for Barney only by ac-
cident. I was waiting around for
Lichtenstein to make his move with
Johns, Bob Rauschenberg, and the rest
of the pop artists. At the time I had all
these lofty designs on becoming a Ben
Day dot, if you can believe it. But it
wasn't in the stars, I guess. For one
thing I got tired of waiting for him. But
if the truth be known, I also at about

that time had a serious bout with
anorexia nervosa, which pretty much
necessitated taking the zip job. Since
then,-of course, I grew to adore the job,
and I never thought of leaving Barney.
The reason I never got the pink slip
from Barney is really simple: I was the
best damn thing in the world for what
he wasdoing! I ain't no Mondrianesque
snippet of geometry-some square or
something which might .as well be a
mountain or a house in the painting,
because all three are the same. They
are figures positioned to balance each
other, figures that establish an objec-
tive depth like all landscapes do. And I
used to get into hassles all the time with
people who said I had a resemblance to
any of the various things Kandinsky
was doing-at least, I used to fight the
ones who insisted on it too strongly.
What I am is . . well, Arj, have you
got a book to write, or just a column?
Think of me as something which
doesn't even really exist in western art;
think of me in terms of what primitive
artists, archaic artists, have done. In
touch with the demons of their internal
existence, aware of their longings and
urges, they lived in an age when the use
of real objects in the creation of art
could be understood as having nothing
to do with those objects, existence in the
world. They created not faces, say, or
depictions of animals, but they merged
those things with their understanding of
all those longing, urges, pains, etc.
Those- were saner times-and those

people knew -what they were really,
looking at. Today, things are different.
We're impossibly lost within our
dependence on images from the outside
world. We need a brick to strike us on
our heads, we must call for the
systematic annihilation of the depiction
of objects, the mere reference to objec-
ts: We need new subject matter to-in-
vest with those notions of the gargoyles
and terrors inside us, a subject matter
that refers to nothing else but that
which is within us. And you'll excuse
me, I hope, if I take a quick bow for
being that new subject matter.
Handsome, am I not? Just looking
at me strikes people with wonder, I am
told. Of course Barney's giant canvases
do a good job of that, too,4and if they
succeed in wrapping you up in them,
well, then they deserve a bow too. But I
think I am the star, putting all modesty
several city blocks aside. I have the
elegance and starkness of a totem pole,
a shaft of light beaming through a win-
dow, the Christian cross, or a Brancusi
sculpture, do I not?
(After all that, there was this eerie
silent period, which went on for a bit.
When the waiter came with the check,
the spell was suddenly broken, and we
both laughed loudly for long minutes.
We talked about this and that for maybe
half an hour, and then resumed the
conversation.)
If I could, zip, I'd like to read

you one more thing before we finish
up. From all I know, the years you
came up through-the pre-war
years, the late forties, even into the
fifties--were in so many ways ex-
crutiating for people like you and
Newman. I know Newman wrote
that "in 1940, some of us woke up
to find ourselves without hope-to
find that painting did not really exist
.. .His who/e evocation of the war
era is often one of loneliness and
impoverishment. Newman often
speaks of those artists who lost all
desire to paint and turned to other
professions.
With all that in mind, and with
your recollections of the era I hope
primed, I would like your reactions
to this stanza from W. H. A uden:
"I have watched through a
window a World that has
fallen,
The mating and malice of
men and beasts,
The corporate greed of quiet
vegetation,
And the homesick little
obstinate sobs of things
thrown into being.'
It's been quite a while since I heard
that one. (chuckles) Thanks.
Well, yes, those of course were
terrible years in many ways. This was
all before the massive modern art
business was firmly established in
America; it was before every
Congress member loved to allocate
money for the arts, because it would
warm the hearts of those back home.
But most of all, it was before there was
anything which stacks up to today's
following for art. Artists were by the
nature of our culture at the bottom of
the list of necessities, and folks like
Newman, Pollock, and the rest weren't
exactly creating images which fed the
public's dependence on objects.
Mythologizing the life of the artist is
something I suspect most every artist
in some ways enjoys-if nothing else, it
is a way to compensate for being able to
look through Auden's- window.
However, I have absolutely no time for
it. I will only say that there was a time
when what held all of us
together-those of us who met in the
galleries, in the studios, in the lofts, in
the cafes-was something a lot slimmer
than Iam.
If I may, I'd like to leave you with a
favorite quote of my own, one also by
Auden. Barney told it to me, and it very
much makes me think of him. "The
fellowship of suffering lasts only so long
as none of the sufferers can escape,"
writes Auden. "Open a .door through
which many but probably not all can
escape one at a time and the neighborly
community disintegrates."

5undag

tigers

- (Continued from Page 7)
production tailed off significantly
following the All-Star break.
'he two slugger's statistics will have
to improve next year, because it's
doubtful Kemp can duplicate this
season, throughout which he's been
among the AL leaders in nearly every
important hitting category.
In addition, the Tigers need some
right-handed power-hitting, along with
at least two proven pitchers, if they
wish to eventually contend.
A surprise mainstay of the staff the
past two years, Jack Billingham, is 36,
and how much longer he can last is a
mystery. After Jack Morris, Milt
Wilcox, and this year's relief sensation
Aurelio Lopez, there are a lot of young
and as yet unproven arms.
It's easy to say what's needed, but
getting it in today's major league
market is another matter. The two
routes open to Campbell are either to go
with what developing talent he's got, or
to work a one-sided trade. For the tight-
fisted Campbell, the free agent route is
out of the question. He's not about to
open the Detroit purse to someone
who's played out his option, which is, in
his mind, unfair to the other players as
well as a needless gamble.
Campbell has been criticized for this
type of approach, yet in his defense it
should be noted that the free agent
game often includes a high-priced risk.
For every great "catch" there's been
an equal number of free agent flops.
Remember former pitching star Don
Gullett? Andy Messersmith? Or Wayne
Garland? They all went the megabucks
route, then faded badly. That's
something Campbell doesn't want to
chance.
So it's up to the man who boldly hired
Sparky Anderson this year in mid-
season, who in 1970 got Aurelio
Rodriguez, Eddie Brinkman, and Joe
Coleman for Denny McLain and next to
nothing from the Washington Senators
(now Texas Rangers), to come up with
another such coup. Failing to do that,

Putting dirigibles to use

'Over the years, the
philosophy has seen few
changes. The Tigers will
continue to build their
teams with their own
young talent, indulging in
little of the trading frenzy
which characterizes other
major league teams'

0 ----

Campbell will go with the talent he's
got, not budging from the old values he
has held since day one with the Tigers.
But maybe that's a key to the appeal
the Tigers hold for Detroiters-the con-
tinuity of the franchise. The aging
ballpark, filled with old baseball
ghosts, hasn't given way to the imper-
sonable, ultramodern facilities of many
other cities. In Pittsburgh or Cincin-
nati, you might find yourself sitting in
the third deck of a stadium designed for
touchdowns and field goals. Binoculars
are required in these kinds of arenas for
any sporting event. But Tiger Stadium
was built solely for baseball in the early
1900s and has retained its now unusual
quadrangular shape. Much of the
seating puts the fans close to the game,
where the players' cheers and curses
can draw them into the contest.
In that sense, the stadium resembles
the club itself: Over many years, the
philosophy has seen few changes. The
Tigers will continue building their
teams with their own young talent, in-
dulging in little of the trading frenzy
which characterize several other
major league clubs. Many players will

spend the bulk of their careers with the
Tigers. Change will be piecemeal and
calculated.
And throughout the dynamic down-
town facelift, throughout shifting
demographic patterns, and throughout
recession and labor strikes, the Detroit
Tigers will continue to be the team to
capture Michigan.

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5undog

Co-editors

Owen Gleiberman

Elizabeth Slowik

Associate editor
Elisa Isaacson

Cover drawing by Lynne Schneider

I

Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, September 30, 1979

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