Greenpoint, October, 2015

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Mugging, Jersey Style

I finally got to the National Academy Museum yesterday to see the show See It Loud: Seven Post-War American Painters. I'd never heard of any of them, liked most of them. One large canvas called me back several times (even requiring a second trip up the ornate circular stairway), Paul Georges's noir fairy tale, "Mugging of the Muse."

Mugging of the Muse, Paul Georges (1974)
The label told the story of a libel suit against Georges by two other painters, Anthony Siani and Jacob Silberman, for using their faces as the muggers' masks. Georges admitted that he had done so but that the painting was meant as an allegory for the the contemporary art world. (They won, but it was overturned.)

It struck me as an allegory with a different object: the so-called Bridge-gate (traffic-study) scandal roiling in New Jersey. It's not hard to see Christie as one of the muggers hiding behind a mask of ignorance. Who is his masked partner in crime? David Wildstein or somebody higher up at the Port Authority (Bill Baroni, David Samson)? Is that Kevin O'Dowd, Christie's Chief of Staff and nominee for Attorney General, looking on but not holding a knife?

And who are the children? Innocent people of Fort Lee? Or is the boy the "little Serbian" (Mayor Sokolich)? And the girl Bridget Anne Kelly about to become the fall guy for the whole sordid mess?

However you read it, there's blood in the water. (And no parking, 7 AM - 7 PM, Mon. thru Fri.)

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