Kitaj’s Diasporic Literariness

Been reading R.B.Kitaj’s Second Diasporist Manifesto. I read the first one many years ago and found it unsatisfying, but this one is so optimistic and cheerful, it’s a pleasure. The change is that he unreservedly proselytizes a Jewish art—previously he hedged a tiny bit. His last Tate retrospective was heavily criticized because of his commentaries on his own works—but he defends them as in the Jewish tradition of exegesis, midrash. The enthusiastic and open embrace of writing as part of his practice has made him one of the best and most interesting artist-writers. He constantly talks about death, and how close it is to him, and that also makes the book compelling. I like the idea of the bookish painter, though far from that myself. Probably need to make a few posts on artists

David Hockney, Kitaj in his studio 1974

who write—Frances Stark will be one, in addition to Kitaj and Stella.

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