Sunday, 17 May 2009

Weimar Redux Six

I got so hungry for English language reading materials I checked out Hungarian short stories before the Dodd. Actually quite tasty. Petra took me to Stuttgart last week where her nephew was getting christened--not really, Father, at a Lutheran Church! Afraid of excommunication I wandered off to the highly touted Staatsgallerie (it's the capital of Baden-Wurtemberg, squeezed between Hesse and Bavaria) by the British showboat architect James Stirling.

They had a rich special exhibition on Eugene Atget. Knowing how you like old photos it would have knocked you out. Me, ho hum. Actually, when Man Ray asked EA's help on a Dadaist exhibition, he grimly consented only if MR would never refer to him as an "artist"--just a little old documenter. Atget was right.

John Szarkowski must have gone intellectually blind looking at all his stuff. The old geezer was benignly obsessed, but he was just a tourist in his own home town. They're all framed correctly and in focus (except where the slow exposure time blooms light at windows), but A-R-T they ain't. And not one person in the whole kit and caboodle.

He deserves a merit badge for lugging that 40 pounds of equipment around the streets of not so gay Paree. The only artistic photo in the whole show is Berenice Abbott's sidewinder portrait of hisself (1927). Yes, Father, I took it down--for "1927: A Festschrift for Myself", that goofy idea you laid on the history majors in 101.

(Figure out what was going on in the world the year you were born, you intoned from your imperial podium.)

And get this gem--the new Dorint hotel on Beethoven Platz across from my flat at Ackerwand 19--is after a 1927 design the Austrian modernist Adolf Loos did for banana shaker Josephine Baker in Paris. I must find out why she never sprung for it. And sharing your onomastic fervor, please be advised that the name of my street derives from its being the village's limits at the end of the eighteenth century: Acker for "field", Wand for "wall".

Henry has started to twit me with his half-aphorism "Etymology is geriatric sex".

No comments: