This weekend we visited the deYoung for Revelations, Art from the African American South. Some of you know that I wanted to be a painter, and studied art before becoming a mama and going in another direction. This exhibit knocked me out a little.


In the Village of Tholonet
Learning about the lines the simple lines
of Cezanne and late Picasso and Modigliani
and the ceaseless celebration of Monet’s colors
Learning the names of the men the white men
who make the art deemed worthy
of committing to memory
getting lost behind their eyes

In the Jeu de Paumes
Seeing the work of female impressionists for the first time
Muted, sensual, pale figures in white dresses
on rose colored seas
Each silver framed work a perfumed powder
dusted decoupaged superimposed
on the male canon
Discovering that a woman sees

At the de Young
Staring into giant canvases by black men and women
Names I have never heard of until today
Quiltlike color blocks, that should be as famous as a Mondrian
Parker’s AntiMass: Burnt embers of an Alabama church ascending, that should be as famous as Guernica
Black men in the Garden of Eden, with more than whispers of Manet and Gauguin
A different accounting of life in a body, a new gaze

History is written by presscrank and purseholder
A smug insulation that renders so many miracles of brush and word unseen
Art has missed the full accounting, and made us liars
We lie to ourselves and to each our progeny
About what is real
We see such a tiny slice of the infinities of life in a body
And call it a wholeness-

#deyoungmuseum #RonaldLockett #robertcolescott #Corneliaparker#purvisyoung #thorntondial #art #revelations #painting