The Master Of Scratching And Scribbling

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 6 2011 @ 2:52pm


by Zoë Pollock

Cy Twombly died yesterday. Jerry Saltz memorializes the artist, and his "tantalizing, orgiastic scenes of scrotal shapes, flying vaginas, floating pudenda, abstract anuses, and a liquidity that art critic David Sylvester once compared to stains left on bed sheets after lovemaking":

Twombly’s fusing of thought, mark-making, narrative, history, myth, and formalism made me see that there is no such thing as purely abstract or representational art. He’s the artist who made me see that all art is equally abstract and that something as simple as handwriting and scribbling, unleashed, can be art.

Twombly’s paintings allow one to rise to the heights of Abstract Expressionism without the air being so thin. His art gave me my first true abstract representation of sex, allowing me, as Patti Smith said of the Rolling Stones, to begin “thinking between my legs.”

He died in Rome at age 83. This sounds sweetly familiar:

After completing a painting, "I usually have to go to bed for a couple of days," he said in a rare interview.

There's a great gallery of his images here.

Image by Flickr user zeze57.