Human Flower Project
Monday, August 25, 2008
The Many Flowers of D. Tanning
Can there be a second act at age 89? And a second language? Just ask Dorothea.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, by Dorothea Tanning (1943)
Photo: Tate Online
Several months ago we came upon this work—Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (A Little Night Music), from 1943 by Dorothea Tanning. Who wants to venture in—presuming to explain these tense, swooning girls, or the broken sunflower at the top of the stairs? We are, thank you, very much more comfortable hovering at a bit of a distance, above and outside wooden railing. (Note how DT has not just permitted but encouraged that perspective.)
We were even more impressed by this lesser known painting “The Mirror” (no date, sorry.) As Human Flower Projects go, this one manages a sublime, nightmarish comedy minus the screeching and dismemberment typical of 21st century art. Where have you gone, Dorothea Tanning? A nation turns its bloodshot eyes to you….
…Tanning turns 98 today. Not everyone would attempt a career change at age 89. But she did it, or perhaps we should say—is doing it.