Museo de la Cuarentena – Marsden Hartley

I’m still processing a lot of the thoughts on Hartley, and the Berlin paintings in particular. The avant garde writers and painters in Europe seemed to have such a perverse fascination with Fascist imagery, and often the Fascists themselves. I’m not sure exactly the psychology involved but Nazi imagery for example seemed to last far into punk and gay cultures well into the 70s and 80s. What some saw as “biker from The Village People” had far more sinister roots, so…

I don’t know, really. It’s a curious phenomenon.

I saw this particular piece recently, in person at The Whitney, and while I know more about Marsden Hartley’s Dogtown paintings and reflections on his rural Northeastern roots, this one is definitely more jarring. There’s no mistaking in an instant what this is. They style may be abstract but the imagery is simply not. Not that I condemn the artist for his inspiration, but it definitely brings some weird psychology into play.

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