As we enter the last few weeks of our landmark exhibition The Steins Collect, Open Space is pleased to present a special two-part feature from essayist, cultural critic, and poet Wayne Koestenbaum. For this year’s Phyllis Wattis Distinguished Lecture, held on June 2, SFMOMA commissioned Wayne to write and perform a new work related to the exhibition. His topic: painting and writing. The result: “The Desire to Write.” Enjoy. (Part two, next Monday.)
The Desire to Write about Blue Nude
Writing, alas, is never nude. Grammar clothes me with adjectives, prepositional phrases, and dependent clauses — a costume I didn’t choose, a costume that clashes with my native inclinations, which respect no division between the body’s secret holes and that bleak fringe of futurity where Matisse, in _Blue Nude_, 1907, might have wished to point, if paintings can point, if paintings can embody a wish to plunge forward.