Art's spacious graces.

Miscellanie went to the Brooklyn Museum this weekend, and since she has asked me to fill in the blank in my comment that said museum owns one of my favorite paintings, I will oblige--with a tiny story, and an image.

Fall 2002 was a dark season. Taking the long view, I can see that I have a knack for turning my autumns into tests of will, spirit, body, heart, faith--pretty much anything that can be tested. But fall 2002 marked my first entry into the academic job market, as well as the ruthless flowering of a romantic interest that was a kind of self-cursing from the start. By the time I reached mid-November, I had spent a couple of months alternately hollowing out and refilling with anger and bewilderment, cut with a terrible self-doubt. And so it was with great gratitude that I boarded a plane to LaGuardia to spend a weekend with my beloved Brooklynite. That fall, the Brooklyn Museum featured an exhibit called "Exposed: The Victorian Nude" (it may even have been "Exposed!"), and so on Sunday afternoon we wandered down the block to look at roomsful of nineteenth-century flesh. (That morning, we had bagels from Le Bagel Delight, instead of going to Tom's.)

But before we looked at the Victorian nudes--which, to be honest, was going to be both play and work for me, given the parlous-feeling state of my academic career at that moment--we wandered around the rest of the museum. On the second floor, we turned a corner into a gallery, and a vision rose up before us:

It's Hans Hofmann's "Towering Spaciousness" (1966), and I turned to my friend and said, "That's my painting. That's the kind of painting I needed to see." I promptly misremembered the title of the painting as "Towering Magnificence" and was not able to find an image of it for years and years. I'm glad to have it back in my visual repertoire--for its energy, its movement, its gamut of blues, its having given my heart a powerful touchstone when I needed one.

But as for Miscellanie's comment that she stared at the Walton Ford paintings: well, I would have been staring at those today, too. I did not know about his work until this evening, and the Brooklyn Museum's "Tigers of Wrath" exhibit will be gone before I next make it to the borough. To see why I'm bummed, take a look at Ford and his work here and here.

source for tonight's image: the Brooklyn Museum of Art.