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Blinky Palermo

Once in the same week, as a testament to my capacity for patience, I stood over a hot plate for over an hour, exchanged some words with my local post-office about a Mike Kelley catalog that has been in the mail since  spring, and sat through the better part of Jurassic Park III, but there is something in me, that can not, will not, and has not been able to give Blinky Palermo's work the time of day...Until I saw (and hated) the Sigmar Polke retrospective at MoMA and thought I was either dying, choking, hung-over, or hallucinating and then saw Palermo’s Untitled, 1970 and realized I was just being dramatic about everything, ever.

Acquired by the museum in 1997, Three cool colors, horizontally arranged and stretched over ordinary painter's frames Untitled, 1970's wall text states, "Dyed cotton mounted on muslin" and is part of a larger body of work made throughout the early seventies, all derived from the artist's pretty straight forward/certainly anti-climatic use of synthetic dyes on, or more appropriately in fabric.

Untitled, 1970. Blinky Palermo, image courtesy of MoMA

Born in 1943 Leipzig, Germany Binky’s dyed works are fast and assumptive: blocks of analogous colors neighbor, but never mingle. Space and division is not only key but paramount in works like "Soft Speaker" and "Speaker in low voice II" whom are categorized as "Cloth A" and "Cloth B" in wall text descriptions.

Speaker in a low voice II, 1969, Two pieces: piece A, cotton; piece B, cotton on wood; total size ca. 57 1/2 x 84 1/2 x 4 inches

Much like his first name would suggest (a self-selected nickname stolen from a 1920’s mobster)  Binky’s works are fast, potentially dismissible from the get-go, and dangerously agreeable, Palermo died in 1977 and was recently given a retrospective at The Dia Beacon, in Beacon, NY. For more information about the Dia exhibit or the artist himself, please follow the links either here or here.

To the People of New York City (Part VIII), 1976–77. Image courtesy of Dia: Beacon

Finding their voice in between indignant observation and cool-kid-clam Palermo's dyed paintings can only talk the minimalist/ nonobjective talk in one way and one way only  and it goes: "Look at me or don’t, it’s super cool. I’m super cool, you’re super cool. Everything is really chill. I’m chill….”and so on and so forth.

Soft Speaker, 1965, Blinky Palermo

For more information and course offerings check out: Sewing Seeds and natural dyes.


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