July 1. 2020 - Caligula Street - Minneapolis

  1. Thinking about the absolute nature of the unknown. In Wittgenstein’s critique of metaphysics the natural sciences have limits beyond which language becomes useless. We simply can not know what exists beyond this life because it is beyond our knowing. Metaphysics was a category just beyond the physics which by inference is about the mystical.
  2. Why Paint? was the title I supposed for a 12 Step Program to help painters give up the habit; the habit being painting.. I supposed this might be useful given how many artists never really make a go of it, damn few.  I was being sarcastic but having taught painting it did seem the case that most of these young folks wind up doing something else... Painting is often dying it has been dying since photography was invented . And in our times the idea that painting is dead has been pervasive. Conceptual art seemed to be the stake in the heart of painting. But painting keeps rising from the dead like a vampire.
  3. The pursuit of the sublime the mystical the experimental act lies at the root of the enquiry indeed when I was a youngster music seemed to be the first art which I …saw some evidence of this in childhood  at the tender age of 12 and 13. I was in a large choir of soprano boys around a hundred voicesI first felt this sensation of something sublime. The blending of all these high pitch voices creates a very peculiar ethereal harmonic and melodious even mystical sound. I often thought it was as angels would sound and singing in Latin it also just had this spatial effect of a sort of timelessness. The church was a huge place a cathedral of a sort which further magnified the sonic experience.
  4. July 6,  A few days later.  ( Nero Avenue ) This is in Chicago many years ago
  5. I was paid 50 cents a week to sing which included rehearsal every Friday.
  6. The work  was singing the scales to warm up and then the material to be sung that Sunday it took some time to do this.
  7. We shot baskets after I had a hook shot but I was rebounder being 6 feet tall I was able to get many rebounds. My elbows got me in many scraps but I was not inclined to fight and  besides this we were all sort of strange young children so to speak creative and mostly very pretty with very high voices and lots of  faux innocence. This age was the cusp of childhood where when your voice changed you were to leave the choir.
  8. My father had a lady friend who was a church supporter who fancied my father’s company after services. The church was near Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. This church lady lived in what seemed to me to be a stone mansion. I would wait in the foyer whilst my father would service the older woman’s more earthly desires. In the foyer hung a gorgeous oil painting by Georges Rouault , a glowing master work in ultramarine blues deep crimson and dark blacks. At the time I did not know whose painting it was but I learned about art in high school visiting the Art Institute every Thursday. I never had to wait very long but long for my father but enough to let the painting cast a spell over my time there.
  9. My father was born in Norway he was a union house painter his speech was accented deeply from growing up in Western Norway and not a city boy but a rough laborer. But he had enough charm to be a bit of a lady’s man or a gigilo.
  10. He was just as they say opportunistic.
  11. At the number ten my ladder is complete and as Wittgenstein wrote when you are done climbing a ladder you put it aside. The mystery of those days was that music,choral music became my entrance into the enchantment of art.  When I would hear John Dowland and Henry Purcell I simple swooned with delight.  Later I came to understand that Sigmar Polke the famous German artist was a huge fan of Purcell  this completed a circle for me, a mystical connection. When the past makes a circle with the future one feels something very sublime. Yes I love Polke’s art it has given me pleasure and permission to be me.