I took a lovely class at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery last weekend. While indulging the nascent comic artist, the instructor, Sean Murphy, took us through a number of exercises that engaged multiple artworks. There were two that I created word sketches for in a effort to get at the depth and complexity of the work.
The first was a video piece, a critique of a social media life by Amalia Soto. We had to draw and write a before and afterward of this scene and my poem is the afterward:
She felt that it’d be better that
the bed stay empty than
try to exist at all.
The second is a self portrait of Chuck Close. This was from a close looking and sequencing exercise. The poem does double duty with expressing raw emotion and a bit of critique of Close and the art world. The poem is all raw material that has not gone through any editing process, but I think it’s fitting just the same:
If I could
take myself apart
then put myself
together again I
might leave out
the broken pieces.
And I wonder
if I did
would you mind?
Artist credits: Amalia Soto, Who’s Sorry Now, video with sound, 2017
Chuck Close, self portrait, due diffusion transfer prints, 1989