Entry for March 26,2006

The above illustration is from  Mapping the Dark:  A Museum of  Ambient Disorders by Rosamond Casey, whose work was featured in this winter’s  Virginia Quarterly Review with an introduction by Lawrence  Weschler. She spoke at 3 at the Bailey as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville.

I am staying at Rob and Sue’s.  This moring the shortage of eggs and the corner store’s delayed Sunday opening led to blueberry pancakes  with what Rob called as a boy, ‘realVermontmaplesyrup.”

I decided to attend Weschler’s talk at Culbreth, about his new book of art criticism, Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences (McSweeney’s , 2006, 200 pages, ISBN 193241634X ).

Weschler expounded on his version of art critic John Berger’s theory—that certain powerful images reappear again and again–maybe his version of Jung’s collective unconscious?

The first example he recounts is from Berger–the similaries between Rembrandt’s 1632 painting,  “The Anatomy Lesson,” and Freddy Alborta’s 1967 photo “Che Guevara’s Death.”

 In “The Anatomy Lesson,” Dutch physicians in black coats and white ruffled collars study a corpse laid out on the table while the instructor points with his right hand toward the corpse’s arm.  In Alborta’s photo the dead Guevara lies in a similar pose, surrounded by Bolivian army officers in uniforms arranged in virtually the same composition as the painting.  Even the chief officer points with his right hand toward Guevara’s mid section in an eerily similar pose.

Then Weschler showed Joel Meyerowitz’s color photographs of Ground Zero and juxtaposed them to paintings and even to a photograph of  a Civil War encampment.during the site’s cleanup and reconstruction have been widely published. Weschler says that Meyerowitz admitted that the composition, tone and even the quality of the light in many of his Ground Zero photographs owe something to famous paintings that came before.

Weschler is a former art critic for the New Yorker and current consultant to the Virginia Quarterly Review,

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