Morris Hirshfield (1872 – 1946) began to paint at the age of 65, after retiring from a career making women’s coats, suits and slippers. The flattened, decorative forms of Inseparable Friends (1941) echo his garment-making work. Without distinguishing between the floor and the wall, Hirshfield creates a room through thee planes of shapes and patterns: the women at their mirror, the tasseled curtain above them, and the plant and shoes at their feet. While Hirshfield’s compositions are simplified and stylized, he aimed for meticulous, realistic detail and believed that his figures represented the human body “better than the camera can do.”
Chicago-based surrealist Gertrude Abercrombie (1909 – 1977) was acclaimed for her enigmatic paintings of stark interiors and illusory landscapes. On first glance, Self Portrait As My Sister (1941) appears to be relatively straight-forward representation, lacking the idiosyncratic imagery of her complex, dreamlike works. But Abercrombie was an only child, and the title’s allusion to a sister heightens the paradox of the painting. She frequently used self-portraiture as a means of trying on new guises and personas, later observing, “It’s always myself that I paint, but not actually, because I don’t look that good or cute.” Indeed, in her records she referred to this work as “Portrait of Artist as Ideal.” Her reference to a fictitious and prettier sister hints at desire to be a different person, a longing she could satisfy through her painting.
Greatest Living American Songwriter: Born May 24th, 1941
It is probably impossible for me to name just one favorite Bob Dylan song because, as the greatest living American songwriter, he has written practically every amazing song on the planet (with the exception of those written by any member of the Beatles, or Led Zeppelin). Think about it: “All Along the Watchtower,” “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “My Back Pages,” “Tangled up in Blue,” these are all fantastic songs. Nobody can turn a phrase like Dylan. Bob celebrates his Birthday today (having been born on May 24th in 1941) and I’m sure he still has a million great songs inside him waiting to be written.
The Singer Becomes The Song
If you’re at all a fan of Bob and/or ex-Roxy Music front man Bryan Ferry, you will want to checkout Bryan’s new CD Dylanesque, which is a collection of Bob Dylan covers. Dylanesque is just absurdly awesome and my favorite album of 2007 so far.