Bookworm: Cy Twombly Paradise

Cy Twombly Paradise | The Silver Pen

If ever there were a wonderful new art book, it is Cy Twombly: Paradise.

This book accompanies the much-anticipated 2014 exhibition Cy Twombly: Paradise, at Museo Jumex in Mexico City–the first time a comprehensive exhibition of the American artist’s work has been mounted in Latin America. It’s not likely that I’ll be in Mexico City to see the show (unfortunately), but the book is a great Silver LiningCy Twombly has always been one of my all-time favorite artists.  When we lived in Chicago, one of my most favorite things to do was to wander the Modern Wing of the Art Institute to drool in front of (rather than over) Cy Twombly’s work.

Anyway, the Mexico City exhibition and book include works on paper, paintings and sculpture that span Twombly’s career, from early works of the 1950s to the Camino Real series of paintings that he completed shortly before his death in 2011. The book includes 57 works of art, along with double-page, full-bleed detail photographs that capture Twombly’s dramatic gestural style and lush palette.

An essay by curator and author Philip Larratt-Smith contextualizes the works and this monumental exhibition. In his essay, Larratt-Smith (quite brilliantly I must say!) considers the abiding presence of Roman and Greek mythology in Twombly’s art: “For Twombly, the myths of antiquity are dreams and mirrors. Mythical characters are archetypes, and the sequence of events follows an oneiric logic that is intuitively convincing even when irreducible to reason. Twombly finds his own passions reflected in the external patterns of myth; the mirroring effect between aesthetic experience and psychic response is profound and generative. His works are never literary depictions of a myth, though myth may suggestively open the work up to narrative. Myth permits emotional expressivity without disclosing biographical origins and, conversely, provides an objective correlative to the realm of sexuality and fantasy.”

The Silver Lining of not being able to make it to Mexico City is that there is an exhibit called Treatise on the Veil at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York. Since I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in New York, I’ll definitely be able to catch this exhibit!

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