Untitled, 1968, Cy Twombly
In visiting the Cy Twombly Gallery at The Menil for the first time, it was impossible not to look at his work without thinking: these are the efforts of a man who recently died. But not in a terribly sad, mournful way. I don’t know why it’s different than looking at the work of someone who has been long gone—and of course, really different than looking at the work of someone who is still living, will keep on making things, at least for a little while, though we always know not forever—but it definitely changed the way I saw his work.
Or maybe it was just the experience of seeing more of his work in one place than I had seen before… Anyway, walking through counter-clockwise, the arrangement is roughly chronological: Cy gets older, less anxious, more sure. More intimate with ugliness and with brilliance—close enough to both to know how quickly they come and go but not fearful of having or lacking either. Increasingly confident, more fun, more fluid. He seemed, from this side, to be figuring out the way to the other side—what may or may not be there—not afraid of it at all.