de la Warrhol

February 12, 2012

The De La Warr Pavilion makes me dizzy  . . . .

. . .   with quite a good deal of delight every visit I make. Many locals seem to come in here for a sit down and, hopefully enjoy it too,  especially when the sun floods into the hall and staircase. The current exhibition is . . .

With some of his early work from illustration, he started his working life as an advertisement illustrator. These are quite girly and whimsical and  . . . .

and then the more well known – Marilyns, Maos, Electric Chairs, Soup Cans and Brillo Boxes, and then a room of posters . . . . . . .

. . . all interesting and brilliantly graphic. But a tiny port-hole in the door drew me to gaze through and enjoy how the pattern of light flooding in makes a strong composition too . . .

. .  on the first floor, there’s another room of work. The view out was so compelling that my intention to capture this was misunderstood by the attendant – ‘No photography Madame!’ – so duly rebuked I made it straight out onto the landings, stairwells, and terraces. The De La Warr won out against the Warhol!  The view of The Colonnade . . .

. . more veiled threats and admonitions on the windows and doors. Skate boarding isn’t welcome either!  Just behave!

When I left Eli Zabar the cut-out star on the window

was whirling in the animation of the rich and hungry

hunched over tables for a $30 sandwich and a Diet Coke.

It was raining and the blurred glass of the galleries

was the gold leaf of the Carrig Rhone frames—

Childe Hassam’s dabs of Connecticut trees

the diaphanous blue on the fleshy rocks,

the melting opal of the shoals.

Inside the Whitney the rain trailed down my face;

and I found myself in a quiet corner staring

at the pink face of Marilyn Monroe.

I could still smell the smoldering high-tech plastic

as it burned the air. In the whiteness of her teeth,

in the almost aahh of her mouth and the half-drugged eyes

under the lids of teal shadow, the air kept singeing my nose.

Against the pale walls Marilyn’s face dissolved

like a stretched mesh and litho ink

where plain form is a place of no desire

like the empty mirror of the Hudson at dawn.

In the fissures of her make-up, the planes of color

led back and back behind her teeth longing—

to the deception by the Falls on her honeymoon

(with Joseph Cotton in Niagara)—where we found her clothed

and alarmed, and later desperate for the affirmation,

of a President’s limp dick and the crisp sheets

the same color of these walls—as my t shirt dries to my skin

and the faintest scent of ground zero

sifts down on the walls

whiter than the wingtip vortices

of melting in the morning light. Peter Balakian  Warhol/Madison Ave./9-11

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