Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Everything Old is Really a Whole Lot Better Than Anything New Again

I usually pass Paul Kasmin Gallery by. The stuff they always have on display is so impossibly beyond blue chip, I've either seen too much of it, or I was never interested in it to begin with. Like whenever I pass by some place that has Jasper Johns or Robert Rauschenberg on display. Dare I say it? I don't care! Oh, I like a thing of Johns or Rauschenberg here and there; I really like Johns' sculptures more than anything else. But voice these sentiments aloud, and people treat you as if you'd just called Grandma a whore.

For me, however, there is an exception to the old timer rule. I never, ever get sick of Warhol. Go figure.

However, yesterday, when I was walking past Paul Kasmin (the place I always blow off, as previously stated), and I saw that they were showing Warhol drawings, and I just thought, in my slacker-y way, that I'd seen enough of him and needed to move on. I don't know why I turned around; I have a feeling it had something to do with the pale, pale, Pepto-Bismol pink shade they'd painted the front display wall. But inside were drawings, according to the gallerina, that had not been released by the Warhol estate until very recently.

All were delicate drawings of people of all ages, many of them executed with the ink transfer method he used on his original drawings. Each was of a modest scale--less than 20", which, of course, lent an air of intimacy. But it was Warhol's use of tempera and ink in muted pastels and faded grays--in some pieces filling the negative space around the line drawings, in others cascading down the page and through the lines--that made them so exquisite. I have seen (and loved) a lot of Warhol's drawings--the cats, the shoes, etc. But this set of drawings, all dated 1953, was something I hadn't happened upon before. It was a great surprise for me.

From here on out, I promise not to be closed-minded about all those old farts like--oh, God, what am I talking about? One should never promise to quit being disrespectful and irreverent if one has no intention of carrying that out.