Originally trained as an architect, Roberto Matta settled in France in 1933, where he worked with Le Corbusier. During a visit to Spain in 1934, he befriended the poet Federico Garcia Lorca, who was assassinated two years later by agents of the Fascist leader, Francisco Franco. In a tribute to his friend, Matta composed a screenplay called The Earth Is A Man, and the text’s apocalyptic imagery, rapidly shifting perspectives, and emotional language became the principal source of his artistic work over the next five years.
This large canvas is the culmination of Matta’s project. Exhibited shorty after its completion (in 1942) in New York City, where the artist had immigrated at the onset on World War II, the painting’s abstract and visionary qualities influenced a new generation of artists, who would later become known as the Abstract Expressionists.
This painting depicts a St. John’s Day eve in the Brazilian town of Ouro Preto, whose central plaza is illuminated with colored lanterns to mark the end of the winter solstice. Lincoln Kirstein commissioned Guignard to make the painting after seeing a drawing of the same subject. His description of the artist’s work — “tight and detailed’– characterizes much of the art that Kirstein favored. Guignard’s meticulous craftsmanship and attention to particulars are visible in this works finely rendered architectural features, tiny revelers, and distinctive indigenous flora.
Ouro Preto: St. John’s Eve (1942) by Alberto da Veiga Guignard was photographed as part of the exhibit Lincoln Kirstein’s Modern, on View at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art Through June 15th, 2019.
Lou Reed, whom I think we can all agree is a Rock Legend, was born on this day, March 2nd in 1942. I can wish Lou a Happy Birthday for giving us great songs like “Perfect Day” and “Satellite of Love,” but I can’t seem to get past that mortifying horrorshow of an album he made with Metallica last year.
Jerry Garcia, guitarist and songwriter for the Grateful Dead and undeniably one of contemporary rock music’s most enduring pop culture icons, was born on this day, August 1st, in 1942.
Today is also a day to remember the late Tommy Bolin, guitarist for the James Gang and Deep Purple, who died of a heroin overdose at the very young age of just 25, and who was born on this day in 1951.
Last but not least, Happy Birthday to Joe Elliot of Def Leppard who was born in 1959. Def Leppard can still kick any band’s ass live.