Thursday, February 9, 2012

Times Obit Hits Grand Slam

The Times obit page hit a grand slam on February 2. The following obituaries appeared. “Dorothea Tanning, 101, Surrealist Painter of Dream Images.” Tanning was the wife of Max Ernst. Grace Glueck, the Times art critic, who wrote the obit remarked, “in the mid-1950’s Ms. Tanning broke from the mirror like precision of narrative Surrealism to take up what she called her ‘prism’ paintings later renamed ‘Insomnias.’ These are enigmatic canvases in which bodies and body parts, barely discernible visages and biomorphic forms float in dream spaces generated by fractured planes and diaphanous scrims.” The obit of Mike Kelley (“Mike Kelley, an Artist With Attitude, Dies at 57”) was written by another Times art critic, Holland Carter.  Commenting on "a series of sculptural pieces using children's stuffed animals," which Kelley had done, Carter said, “On one level the pieces were sardonic send-ups of trends like Minimalism, which Mr. Kelley despised as elitist. On another, they took aim at the strain of too-easy sentimentality he found repellant in popular culture. At yet another level, these pieces, with their martyred dolls and ruined promise of warmth, were innocence-and-experience metaphors, suggesting the trauma of hurt and loss that underlay the juvenile delinquent antics that surrounded them.” “Don Cornelius, ‘Soul Train’ Creator, Is Dead at 75” was written by James C. McKinley, Jr, the Houston Bureau Chief of the Times, whose piece about the gang rape of a ll year old girl back in 2011 had created controversy.  Describing “Soul Train,” McKinley said, “In its heyday, it was a formative experience every Saturday morning for young people of all backgrounds and afforded some of the most important soul and R&B acts their first national television exposure. It was also a platform for white rock musicians like Elton John and David Bowie to reach black audiences.”  “Wislawa Szymborska, 88, Nobel Poet,” was written by Raymond H. Anderson who contributes to the ArtsBeat blog at the Times and wrote the obit of Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky back in 2010. “The Nobel announcement surprised Ms. Szymborska, who had lived an intensely private life, “ Anderson commented.  “She was kind of paralyzed by it,” Anderson quotes Clare Cavanagh, one of her translators as saying. “Her friends called it the ‘Nobel Tragedy.’ It was a few years before she wrote another poem.” "Anthony J Bevilacqua, 88; Led Philadelphia Catholics” and “Ian Abercrombie, a Boss on ‘Seinfeld’” were the two other obits which rounded out the page that day.

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