Aug 8, 2017 · 4 min read
Paul Maziar, TIMES (2017), ink sketch from NYTimes images

So honey, it’s lucky how we keep throwing away
Honey, it’s lucky how it’s no use anyway
Oh honey, it’s lucky no one knows the way
Listen chum, if there’s that much luck then it don’t pay.
— Edwin Denby

It’s less flight of fancy than a sign of pure imaginative genius for someone to see, and then proclaim, that the moon is, or was, made of cheese. Looking up during clear daylight hours, it must still be the case. Clay was not the original medium.

Whenever the new corporate-owned stadium names are mentioned (e.g. “The Staples Center”), the branding on players is intensified, made utterly clear. Again I think of Rome.

The Union Station slate rock stacks wearing hats are more lifelike than the gallery mannequins — the apparently friendly shopowners too.

He didn’t need a problem in order to paint life into his figures — but, like a lot of life, it helped to ramp it up.

Counting money while eating disrupts digestion; laughing in entertainment is your free upgrade.

You can’t think and play at the same time.
— Sonny Rollins

“Social art” can often have a surprising aesthetic quality, often drowned out by ideas. And then the situation becomes a futility, scratch that, a fusillade of images — all ready for the pretty-up, decoration, fanfare, decorum, lights of a simulated world.

His idea of sloppy painters applies to his own prose, but only opposite — a seething confusion as opposed to intellectual rightness marks his reviews all the more surprising, accessible, worthy of many returns.

The word “details” comes to mind. You want to talk to the expert, but sense and intuition are the only sources. You can’t trust the opinion of the artist for facts — what they have made is an enigma. It’s bananas to expect art today to conform to the knock-your-eyes-out code of the old world.

During sixteenth century France, the peasant population was either illiterate or had zero reliable source of literature. Because this was also around the advent of the printing press, for the proliferation of religious tracts, the plight of the so-called poor seems even more pronounced. The opiate of the masses comes to mind, as ever. That it was used to keep the non-elite (masses) from asking questions, thinking for themselves, and rising up to overthrow the “elites” is not lost on the us today — being force-fed even worse and yet, many deluded into loving it (hey: fast food, smartphones, mega-screens).

Talking with painter friend, riding bicycles across the river, I mention his former collaborator, who also happens to be his former coworker. Using the word “work” in relation to art, he naturally thinks I’m meaning money-work, and talks about the old job. To me, this is telling, but it’s too soon to know of what.


The most conventional, puritanical art there is, way back to Athens when Xerxes painted the “actual” grapes.

Reading Lost Illusions, I come across this term “disinterested” in the context of a poet wishing to meaningfully engage with other writers who would pay attention to his work “disinterestedly.” Living in 2016, I had no knowledge of this usage, and yet I don’t know why I would have. The materialism of today’s world fascinates, now mortifies.

In an artcritical Review Panel, the writer John Yau commented on his wanting to be baffled by art. Laughing, imagining a person going through a gallery irked at not being dumbfounded enough, I realize that’s a lot of what I go for as a fan of art, in any medium. And maybe it’s a writer’s take — one ends up describing things that are impossible to describe, analogous to the puzzles and conundrums that’ve always fascinated.

Billions and Billions and Billions and Billions…

In what other scenario would a man — possessing the supreme privilege to say anything, out of the 200,000 words in English alone, to the keen ears of literal masses — idiotically repeat himself throughout the decades? And given his popularity and what repetition can do, one has to wonder: to what is it they’re dedicated?

One is always reacquainted with language, and oneself, with the world in a constant state of reconfiguration (even national boundaries are not natural ones). A photographic moment, one without present words, occurs to me at Stark and Broadway, a strange and austere confluence of buildings beneath, or before, this backdrop of blue-green-gray — a sudden maritime scene resolved by nothing but its being there for viewing or some intervening action. And just as soon, at the smell of cigar smoke and some flower perfume, it floats away.

The reemergence of the lever, the crank, the spindle and wheel in high-traffic public restroom hand-dryers — in place of the automatic function — somehow brings a sense of relief. I guess it’s automated insofar as



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short reviews & occasional works @rrealism_ http://artsletters.org/writing



short reviews + occasional pieces by paul maziar

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