In his poem “America” (1956) Allen Ginsberg addresses the nation as if it were a codependent lover, asking, “Are you going to let your emotional life be run by Time Magazine?” followed immediately by the confession, “I’m obsessed by Time Magazine. I read it every week.”
Poring through a cache of my late uncle’s works on paper, I come across an arresting print purporting to be a self-portrait. It is on delicate and weathered paper. The notes at the bottom state simply: “10/10 Self-Portrait Serigraph, 7 Color” followed by an undecipherable signature that ends with the year “’64.”
Stendhal on Correggio, Baudelaire on Guys, Zola on Manet, Proust on Moreau. It’s a long-standing practice, French poets and novelists taking up art criticism. In the 20th century, the roster continues: Apollinaire,Breton, Leiris, Malraux, Sartre, Bataille, Bonnefoy, and there’s the French poet-painters: Picabia, Cocteau, Nouet, Jacob.