Notes on the Margin of the Black Book, photographic prints with text clippings, Glenn Ligon, 1991-1993. Guggenheim, New York, USA.
“Maintaining Mapplethorpe’s original order, Ligon installed framed pages from The Black Book along the wall in two rows, inserting between them small framed typed texts by diverse sources, including philosophers, activists, curators, historians, and religious evangelists. These seventy-odd texts, some written specifically about Mapplethorpe’s images, others not, suggest a variety of interpretations while also foregrounding the various fears and fantasies projected onto these black male nudes, as the quote from Baldwin makes clear: ‘What one’s imagination makes of other people is dictated, of course, by the laws of one’s own personality and it is one of the ironies of black-white relations that, by means of what the white man imagines the black man to be, the black man is enabled to know who the white man is.’ In Notes, as in all of Ligon’s work, sex, race, and desire cannot be disentangled, and questions are raised about the complex nature of the self and its relation to culture.“
the world is terrifying me
That is not a typo.
- me: I call the shots around here
- me: ....
- me: MORE TEQUILA!!!!
Peter Paul Rubens
Oil on wood, 212 x 214.5 cm.
Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
I think we all need to take a moment to appreciate just how INCREDIBLY upset this painting and Ruben’s apparent love for it have made the curator at wga.hu:
In Greek mythology Silenus is a rural god, one of the retinue of Bacchus, a gay, fat old drunkard who was yet wise and had the gift of prophecy.
In Rubens’ painting he is shown drunkenly tottering, his belly swollen with meat and drink, and supported by a disparate collection of dotards, drunkards, blacks, children and young women. The careless inebriation of this bacchanal is expressed by a thicker touch that conveys the unwieldy weight of the drinkers’ gait.
The composition was originally conceived with half-length figures, but was later enlarged by Rubens himself. The painting hung in Rubens’ house.
Ha ha ha ha ha…my goodness. There is only a single Black man in this painting, but perhaps the incredible force with which he is pinching Silenus’s “gay, fat old drunk[ard]” ass* is enough to chagrin this curator into thinking there must be somehow more than one?
Apparently the thought of Rubens staring at this piece and smiling every morning while eating his breakfast sausage was just too much for some people.
As you may have noticed by now, Rubens adored drawing and painting Black people and included them in many, many of his paintings, as well as having done studies, portraits, sketches, and other works of art used for his workshop and apprentices. Many of his works he kept for himself in his personal collection.
*The pinch is actually an important part of the original story: Silenus is awakened from a drunken stupor and bound with his own garlands by nymphs and satyrs and made to sing a song of creation and the forces of nature for an important ceremonial dance.
I truly hope you understand how happy this painting makes me. I want one for my own (nonexistent) breakfast nook. This subject is also referred to as “The Triumph of Silenus”.