|Clyfford Still painting. The damage to the painting is |
identified as "1957-J-No. 2." (Denver Post file photo)
Denver District Attorney's Office
But Tisch is reported to have been drunk at the time, and the single mug shot of her tremendously tattooed self seems to grant universal permission for the press to ask no searching questions—particularly since it's paired with the image of the victim, an enormous, zig-zaggy canvas that probably means nothing to most norms-defending journalists. "She's a drunk slut," is, I'm betting, as deep as this inquiry ever goes. Any questions of motive or meaning will remain rhetorical.
The entrance to the new Clyfford Still
Museum at dusk. Visitors enter the museum through
a landscaped forecourt, which provides a transition
from the surrounding urban context.
All photography by Raul J. Garcia.
Image courtesy Clyfford Still Museum.
|Andres Serrano, Piss Christ, 1987|
Maybe she felt the complications of hope, the nuanced indirection of life possibilities the artist displays through the painting: Maybe Still's abstraction moved her, bafflingly, hopefully—tormentingly?
Defacers of art are getting something wrong. In most cases they are are doing it out of ideology and they take extremely simplistic views that hope to strip art of any but literal value. The motives are explained by politics, power, and grandiosity.
The case of Tisch in the Still Museum seems to be profoundly different, and in a way that should give art lovers heart. Tisch went to an altar of thought or feeling for soul-searching. I think she responded to the complexity and ambiguity of the art. It's humanity made it the generous, place lacking ideology and prescription where she could resign herself to a transition. It was her place to collapse and force the issue of getting up.
However it fell out inside Carmen Tisch, even in its destruction, the art itself seemed to speak to her, to make an intimate, if highly confused, difference.