Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

I just read this article in the New Yorker about Donald Barthelme.

I didn't know about Donald or Frederick until I moved to Houston in 1999. Their presence is such a big part of the creative writing scene in the Bayou City. I haven't read Donald's work but am fascinated by Frederick's. Anyway the article was interesting in how it placed D. Barthelme in the Houston art scene and Postmodern writing and art in general. I kept waiting to see Fredericka appear in the text offering some anecdote but that never appeared.

My memory is a little fuzzy but I do remember Ian telling a story about Frederick. Apparently when he went to the grocery store and bought a loaf of bread, he would convert the whole loaf into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They would be pre-made and ready to consume for lunch each day. He was well prepared.

The article about Donald focuses on his biography and the beginnings of Postmodernism in the art world. I am interested in all of that - its importance is never underestimated but I also want to know about every person's version of PBJs.

There is so much history and theory written about the Earthworks, their relationship to Minimalist sculpture, the dematerialization of the art object, the pilgrimage. I don't want to repeat any of that (how many people have made the trip we plan on making this summer in the last decade?). I want to find the anecdotes; I want to know what falls in between and to convey the details that no one would mention (aside from Jerry Saltz seeing the fat, naked man swimming in the Great Salt Lake).

Nancy, let's look for the peanut butter sandwiches. Let's make it the whole of our experience. Let's find the metaphors no one has written about and let's make art inspired by the works that we have always dreamed of seeing.

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