Jennifer Gross

Poetry/painting/history/hermeneutics

On 'Cy Twombly: Making Past Present'

‘Untitled (Say Goodbye, Catullus, To the Shores of Asia Minor)’ (installation view), 1994, oil, acrylic, oil stick, crayon, and graphite on three canvases, 157½ × 624" (400.1 × 1585 cm), The Menil Collection, Houston. Gift of the artist. Photographer: Paul Hester. © Menil Foundation, Inc.

For me, that tension between poetry, writing, and drawing is utterly captivating. So much so that I have spent the last two years writing poems that enter into conversations with Twombly’s work, a project I have found both humbling and transformative. In fact, the last real public outing I engaged in before the pandemic lockdown was a visit to the Cy Twombly Gallery at the Menil Collection in Houston.

Interpretation, based on the highly dubious theory that a work of art is composed of items of content, violates art. — Susan Sontag, “Against Interpretation”[1

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