This Date in Art History: Born 2 August 1871 – John French Sloan, an American painter and illustrator: Part I of II.
Below – “Six O’Clock, Winter”; “Spring Rain, New York”; “Helen in Green Suit”; “Girl, Back to Piano”; “Green’s Cat”; “Nude at Piano.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 2 August 1972 – Paul Goodman, an American novelist, playwright, poet, literary critic, anarchist philosopher, psychotherapist, and author of “Growing Up Absurd.”
Some quotes from the work of Paul Goodman:
“The philosophic aim of education must be to get each one out of his isolated class and into the one humanity.”
“The issue is not whether people are ‘good enough’ for a particular type of society; rather it is a matter of developing the kind of social institutions that are most conducive to expanding the potentialities we have for intelligence, grace, sociability and freedom.”
“Suppose you had the revolution you are talking and dreaming about. Suppose your side had won, and you had the kind of society you wanted. How would you live, you personally, in that society? Start living that way now!”
“Anarchism is grounded in a rather definite social-psychological hypothesis: that forceful, graceful and intelligent behaviour occurs only when there is an uncoerced and direct response to the physical and social environment; that in most human affairs, more harm than good results from compulsion, top-down direction, bureaucratic planning, pre-ordained curricula, jails, conscription, states.”
“It takes application, a fine sense of value, and a powerful community-spirit for a people to have serious leisure, and this has not been the genius of the Americans.”
“In America you can say anything you want – as long as it doesn’t have any effect.”
Below – “Dust Storm, Fifth Avenue”; “Sunset, West Twenty-Third Avenue”; “The Cot”; “The Haymarket”; “South Beach Bathers”; “Chinese Restaurant.”
This Date in Literary History: Born 2 August 1924 – James Baldwin, an American novelist, playwright, activist, critic, poet, and author of “Notes of a Native Son.”
Some quotes from the work of James Baldwin:
“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
“Ask any Mexican, any Puerto Rican, any black man, any poor person – ask the wretched how they fare in the halls of justice, and then you will know, not whether or not the country is just, but whether or not it has any love for justice, or any concept of it. It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
“You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.”
“The purpose of education…is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions.”
“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”
“Artists are here to disturb the peace.”
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
“If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected – those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most! – and listens to their testimony.”
“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction.”
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who ever had been alive. Only if we face these open wounds in ourselves can we understand them in other people.”
“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”
“I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
In the words of one writer, “Subjects selected from the artists photographs become significant within the work. Working with oils on paper and silk and traditional methods of Intaglio printing.”
Below – Untitled (Commuter II); “Fallen”; “Commuters II”; “Smithfield Central Market”; “Cocomo Old Street”; “Black Coat”; Untitled (Commuter).
“Disillusionment of Ten O’Clock”
The houses are haunted
By white night-gowns.
None are green,
Or purple with green rings,
Or green with yellow rings,
Or yellow with blue rings.
None of them are strange,
With socks of lace
And beaded ceintures.
People are not going
To dream of baboons and periwinkles.
Only, here and there, an old sailor,
Drunk and asleep in his boots,
In red weather.
Contemporary British Art – David Axtell
Below – “The Skimboarding boy”; “Skimmers II”; “Sublime Scene”; “Yellow Bucket”; “The Red Umbrella”; “Beyond the Pail II”; “The Weather Girl”; “Jailbreak Johnny Cash.”
This Date in Literary History: Died 2 August 1990 – Norman Maclean, an American short story writer, essayist, scholar, and author of “A River Runs Through It and Other Stories” and “Young Men and Fire.”
Some quotes from the work of Norman Maclean:
“Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, Lord, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don’t know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them – we can love completely without complete understanding.”
“Yet even in the loneliness of the canyon I knew there were others like me who had brothers they did not understand but wanted to help. We are probably those referred to as ‘our brother’s keepers,’ possessed of one of the oldest and possible one of the most futile and certainly one of the most haunting instincts. It will not let us go.”
“I had as yet no notion that life every now and then becomes literature—not for long, of course, but long enough to be what we best remember, and often enough so that what we eventually come to mean by life are those moments when life, instead of going sideways, backwards, forward, or nowhere at all, lines out straight, tense and inevitable, with a complication, climax, and, given some luck, a purgation, as if life had been made and not happened.”
“Many of us would probably be better fishermen if we did not spend so much time watching and waiting for the world to become perfect.
“The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana.”
“When exhausted and feeling sorry for yourself, at least change your socks.”
“One great thing about fly fishing is that after a while nothing exists of the world but thoughts about fly fishing.”
“A river, though, has so many things to say that it is hard to know what it says to each of us.”
“The nearest anyone can come to finding himself at any given age is to find a story that somehow tells him about himself.”
“At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. You can love completely without complete understanding.”
“As I get considerably beyond the biblical allotment of three score years and ten, I feel with increasing intensity that I can express my gratitude for still being around on the oxygen-side of the earth’s crust only by not standing pat on what I have hitherto known and loved. While oxygen lasts, there are still new things to love, especially if compassion is a form of love.”
“At the time I did not know that stories of life are often more like rivers than books.”
“Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn’t. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.”
“I sat there and forgot and forgot, until what remained was the river that went by and I who watched. On the river the heat mirages danced with each other and then they danced through each other and then they joined hands and danced around each other. Eventually the water joined the river, and there was only one of us. I believe it was the river.”
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”