Thursday, August 16, 2007
in memory of Elizabeth Murray
I heard of Elizabeth Murray's death on Monday. I felt sad. I knew she had cancer and so I was not surprised by the news, but I still remember back in my earliest days in NYC, when I spent much of my time in Tribeca, I would see her frequently on the street. You could not miss that head of white hair. At that time I did not much like her work; it seemed to me too flippant. I wanted everything to be Serious. But the respect that other artists had for her was so obvious and so consistent that I ascribed my feelings to a kind of aesthetic difference. But I knew she was the real thing, and she inspired me with how cool she was.
Now as I am getting older I have much more of a feeling for her work, and I admire it on so many levels. But the thing I know most is that back then she struck me as so human, on the street buying vegetables at the little market, or talking energetically on a corner. Paint-splattered artists are an infrequent sight these days.