New-York-City-Art

Dave Heath     Poets Leroi Jones and Allen Ginsberg, 7 Arts Coffee Gallery, New York City     1959


Lately, I’ve become accustomed to the way
The ground opens up and envelopes me
Each time I go out to walk the dog.
Or the broad edged silly music the wind
Makes when I run for a bus…

Things have come to that.

And now, each night I count the stars.
And each night I get the same number.
And when they will not come to be counted,
I count the holes they leave.

Nobody sings anymore.

And then last night I tiptoed up
To my daughter’s room and heard her
Talking to someone, and when I opened
The door, there was no one there…
Only she on her knees, peeking into

Her own clasped hands

–Leroi Jones, “Preface to a 20 Volume Suicide Note” 1961


-


For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894-1956

Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on
  the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I’ve been up all night, talking,
  talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues
  shout blind on the phonograph
the rhythm the rhythm–and your memory in my head three years after–
  And read Adonais’ last triumphant stanzas aloud–wept, realizing
  how we suffer–
And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember,
  prophesy as in the Hebrew Anthem, or the Buddhist Book of An-
  swers–and my own imagination of a withered leaf–at dawn–
Dreaming back thru life, Your time–and mine accelerating toward Apoca-
  lypse,
the final moment–the flower burning in the Day–and what comes after,
looking back on the mind itself that saw an American city
a flash away, and the great dream of Me or China, or you and a phantom
  Russia, or a crumpled bed that never existed–
like a poem in the dark–escaped back to Oblivion–
No more to say, and nothing to weep for but the Beings in the Dream,
  trapped in its disappearance,
sighing, screaming with it, buying and selling pieces of phantom, worship-
  ping each other,
worshipping the God included in it all–longing or inevitability?–while it
  lasts, a Vision–anything more?
It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my shoulder,
  Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office buildings shoul-
  dering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the sky an instant–and
  the sky above–an old blue place.
or down the Avenue to the south, to–as I walk toward the Lower East Side
  –where you walked 50 years ago, little girl–from Russia, eating the
  first poisonous tomatoes of America frightened on the dock
then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what?–toward
  Newark–
toward candy store, first home-made sodas of the century, hand-churned ice
  cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards–
Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching school,
  and learning to be mad, in a dream–what is this life?
Toward the Key in the window–and the great Key lays its head of light
  on top of Manhattan, and over the floor, and lays down on the
  sidewalk–in a single vast beam, moving, as I walk down First toward
  the Yiddish Theater–and the place of poverty
you knew, and I know, but without caring now–Strange to have moved
  thru Paterson, and the West, and Europe and here again,
with the cries of Spaniards now in the doorstops doors and dark boys on
  the street, firs escapes old as you
–Tho you’re not old now, that’s left here with me–
Myself, anyhow, maybe as old as the universe–and I guess that dies with
  us–enough to cancel all that comes–What came is gone forever
  every time–
That’s good!  That leaves it open for no regret–no fear radiators, lacklove,
  torture even toothache in the end–
Though while it comes it is a lion that eats the soul–and the lamb, the soul,
  in us, alas, offering itself in sacrifice to change’s fierce hunger–hair
  and teeth–and the roar of bonepain, skull bare, break rib, rot-skin,
  braintricked Implacability.
Ai! ai!  we do worse! We are in a fix!  And you’re out, Death let you out,
  Death had the Mercy, you’re done with your century, done with
  God, done with the path thru it–Done with yourself at last–Pure
  –Back to the Babe dark before your Father, before us all–before the
  world–
There, rest.  No more suffering for you.  I know where you’ve gone, it’s good.
No more flowers in the summer fields of New York, no joy now, no more
  fear of Louis,
and no more of his sweetness and glasses, his high school decades, debts,
  loves, frightened telephone calls, conception beds, relatives, hands–
No more of sister Elanor,–she gone before you–we kept it secret you
  killed her–or she killed herself to bear with you–an arthritic heart
  –But Death’s killed you both–No matter–
Nor your memory of your mother, 1915 tears in silent movies weeks and
  weeks–forgetting, agrieve watching Marie Dressler address human-
  ity, Chaplin dance in youth,
or Boris Godunov, Chaliapin’s at the Met, halling his voice of a weeping Czar
  –by standing room with Elanor & Max–watching also the Capital
  ists take seats in Orchestra, white furs, diamonds,
with the YPSL’s hitch-hiking thru Pennsylvania, in black baggy gym skirts
  pants, photograph of 4 girls holding each other round the waste, and
  laughing eye, too coy, virginal solitude of 1920
all girls grown old, or dead now, and that long hair in the grave–lucky to
  have husbands later–
You made it–I came too–Eugene my brother before (still grieving now and
  will gream on to his last stiff hand, as he goes thru his cancer–or kill
  –later perhaps–soon he will think–)
And it’s the last moment I remember, which I see them all, thru myself, now
  –tho not you
I didn’t foresee what you felt–what more hideous gape of bad mouth came
  first–to you–and were you prepared?
To go where?  In that Dark–that–in that God? a radiance? A Lord in the
  Void?  Like an eye in the black cloud in a dream?  Adonoi at last, with
  you?
Beyond my remembrance! Incapable to guess! Not merely the yellow skull
  in the grave, or a box of worm dust, and a stained ribbon–Deaths-
  head with Halo?  can you believe it?
Is it only the sun that shines once for the mind, only the flash of existence,
  than none ever was?
Nothing beyond what we have–what you had–that so pitiful–yet Tri-
  umph,
to have been here, and changed, like a tree, broken, or flower–fed to the
  ground–but made, with its petals, colored, thinking Great Universe,
  shaken, cut in the head, leaf stript, hid in an egg crate hospital, cloth
  wrapped, sore–freaked in the moon brain, Naughtless.
No flower like that flower, which knew itself in the garden, and fought the
  knife–lost
Cut down by an idiot Snowman’s icy–even in the Spring–strange ghost
  thought some–Death–Sharp icicle in his hand–crowned with old
  roses–a dog for his eyes–cock of a sweatshop–heart of electric
  irons.
All the accumulations of life, that wear us out–clocks, bodies, consciousness,
  shoes, breasts–begotten sons–your Communism–‘Paranoia’ into
  hospitals.
You once kicked Elanor in the leg, she died of heart failure later.  You of
  stroke.  Asleep?  within a year, the two of you, sisters in death.  Is
  Elanor happy?
Max grieves alive in an office on Lower Broadway, lone large mustache over
  midnight Accountings, not sure.  His life passes–as he sees–and
  what does he doubt now?  Still dream of making money, or that might
  have made money, hired nurse, had children, found even your Im-
  mortality, Naomi?
I’ll see him soon.  Now I’ve got to cut through to talk to you as I didn’t
  when you had a mouth.
Forever.  And we’re bound for that, Forever like Emily Dickinson’s horses
  –headed to the End.
They know the way–These Steeds–run faster than we think–it’s our own
  life they cross–and take with them.

  Magnificent, mourned no more, marred of heart, mind behind, mar-
ried dreamed, mortal changed–Ass and face done with murder.
  In the world, given, flower maddened, made no Utopia, shut under
pine, almed in Earth, blamed in Lone, Jehovah, accept.
  Nameless, One Faced, Forever beyond me, beginningless, endless,
Father in death.  Tho I am not there for this Prophecy, I am unmarried, I’m
hymnless, I’m Heavenless, headless in blisshood I would still adore
  Thee, Heaven, after Death, only One blessed in Nothingness, not
light or darkness, Dayless Eternity–
  Take this, this Psalm, from me, burst from my hand in a day, some
of my Time, now given to Nothing–to praise Thee–But Death
  This is the end, the redemption from Wilderness, way for the Won-
derer, House sought for All, black handkerchief washed clean by weeping
–page beyond Psalm–Last change of mine and Naomi–to God’s perfect
Darkness–Death, stay thy phantoms!

–Allen Ginsberg, “Kaddish, Pt. 1″  1961

3

Graffiti artist Lady Pink photographed by Lisa Kahane wearing a Jenny Holzer T-shirt,1983.

“The ‘Truisms’ (1977- 79) were perhaps an overly ambitious attempt to make an outline of everything that I wanted to do. I’m not sure I knew that at the time I wrote them, but that’s what I’ve come to recognize. I wanted to have almost every subject represented, almost every possible point of view, and then I had to sort out what those sentences should appear on.” - Jenny Holzer

Looking back

“If I could tell a 15‑year‑old self something, it’d be to try not to care about your appearance. Besides that, I think to always hold on to that sense of childhood wonder, that excitement. I always try to make sure I remember to put that back into my work, to remember that from doing it because I love it, and it’s not just a job, and doing it for play. As an artist, I think it’s incredibly important to hold on to the fearlessness that you have as a child. It helps you take risks in your art.”

In honor of International Women’s Day this week, we are posting quotes from our latest Creative New York interview with Petra Collins, highlighting important issues relating to body image, openness and collaboration, and health care access as an artist. Read the entire interview at nyc.moma.org.

Join us on 3/18 for PopRally’s Petra Collins: In Search of Us, an evening of performance, music, and digital art conceived and developed by Collins and artist Madelyne Beckles. Tickets and more info at mo.ma/poprallyxpetra

[Portrait of Petra Collins by Nguan]

“My work is always about mapping.”

“My work is always about mapping. About mapping sometimes in a more literal sense, where I walk around in space in order to be able to reproduce it in a narrative way and also overlay that space with stories of people and stories of particular spaces. Then, there’s also mapping in a larger sense, which perhaps has more to do with understanding that [cartography] is making something visible. It’s drawing a line and grouping elements together so that those elements become visible as a part of a single space.”

–Valeria Luiselli, author of Story of My Teeth. PopRally spoke with Valeria about her nomadic upbringing, living in Harlem, and the pleasures of a good walk. Read the full interview at nyc.moma.org

[Polaroid by Valeria Luiselli. Courtesy the artist]