Posted inArt

Languages of Devotion: Basil King’s Life in Art

One day in 1965, as he was walking by St. Mark’s Church in New York’s East Village, Basil King came to a dreadful realization. “You’re a painter,” he told himself, “who’s never been.”

The verdict, which he relates in Learning to Draw / A History (Skylight Press, 2011), was, of course, wrongheaded. King had been making art since he was a boy. Still, he brought it up again during my visit to his brownstone in Brooklyn, where he and his wife, the writer Martha King, have lived since moving from Manhattan in 1969.

Posted inArt

Painting at the Speed of Sight: Franz Kline’s Rapid Transit

On leaving the recently closed exhibition, Franz Kline: Coal and Steel at Baruch College’s Sidney Mishkin Gallery, I wasn’t thinking of the remarkable range of work on display. Instead, I kept dwelling on a small ink painting doubly named by Kline “Untitled-Locomotive” (ca. 1945-1947). It was one of a series of very small works with a private warmth that called to mind Van Gogh’s letter sketches. But that wasn’t the only reason why I remembered it.