I don't know whether Guston (who was the best-read high school dropout ever) was familiar with Friedrich von Schlegel's concept of romantic irony, but it illuminates the shift in his painting, for what Schlegel advised was the acknowledgment of artifice and the pursuit of self-parody--a determined lightness of being in face of the absurdity and chaos of life: "It is the freest of all liberties," the German poet wrote, "since it allows one to rise above oneself." Schlegel's concept harmonizes the two antithetical reactions to the Marlborough show: de Kooning's exclamation "It is freedom!" which Guston loved, and Hilton Kramer's review in the New York Times, "A Mandarin Pretending to Be a Stumblebum
," which he hated.
Guston's transit from abstraction to cartoon was cruelly portrayed by Hilton Kramer in a widely cited review as a passage from "mandarin" to "stumblebum
." The term "mandarin" was intended to diminish what had set Guston apart as an abstractionist.
with no conceivable chance called Chuck Wepner took the money and the chance of fame.
A tail of heat, bending stars, poured from the engines, curving off into the violet light of the refineries and suburbs as the tracks curved away and the train cut its path through the wetlands; it was later, perhaps in some recollection of that night, the body, another drunken stumblebum
finished off by his train--it was his third such incident in two years--later that he would also remember the sight of that plane taking off; not that he made a connection between the two events that night, but he felt somehow that there was one between the plane and the death of the man whose body had wedged beneath what was once a cowcatcher and now was just a square-cut chink of metal frame meant to blunt the impact if the train did come into contact with anything.
SIX dAyS, SEVEN NIGHTS BBC2 6.10PM Stumblebum
pilot Harrison Ford is stranded on a tropical island with mouthy New York women's magazine editor Anne Heche.
To that extent, it's possible to see Chekhov's abiding affect distilled in Simon Russell Beale's poignant stumblebum
of a Vanya, whose glasses hide a carefully parceled-out ardor and anguish that just cannot be contained.
The review's headline, quoted now whenever Guston is written about, was "A Mandarin Pretending to be a Stumblebum
." Not only are the words demeaning, but together they condense Guston's career into an unedifying tale of artistic opportunism.
Reilly as a scagged-out drummer whose stumblebum
manner is funny, till it's not; and Max Perlich as a puppy-dog of a delivery boy whose job leaves him so emotionally unencumbered that he'll gladly donate his heart to the first taker who comes along.
Hilton Kramer called him a mandarin pretending to be a stumblebum
, but this was quite wrong: these paintings expressed a genuine and timely refusal to tolerate rhetoric.
Tories criticised the 'stumblebum
activity' of MoD ministers.
When he could hang on to the mike when the Great Stumblebum
did not steal it from him with idiot soundbites.
Or, confronted with the opposite sex in the person of Cunningham alumna Meg Eginton, Irwin is a Chaplinesque stumblebum
in wistful pursuit of a woman to whom he's invisible.
This is unbelievably rich coming from a stumblebum
who stole the US presidential election.
To take just one example, Keenan decoded a list of rare and mysterious words, which were once explained as Turkic terms or tribal names, as a playful, derisive series of stumblebums
and fakers, tatterdemalions and crybabies.
In case you didn't deduce it from the title, the film concerns two stumblebums
who decide to impersonate police officers for kicks.