Friday, September 21, 2012

Alzheimers and de kooning

How Our Lives Effect our Art

William de Kooning 
William de Kooning       google image
abstract artist 

One of the interesting things that I remember reading about de Kooning was how he continued to paint after he had alzheimer's disease. It interested me in how the brain continues to function after such a horrific assault. As the brain becomes more diminished how can an artist continue to create?  Does the mind retain reflex memory like muscle memory?  Did his paintings just become more simple?  Here is a paragraph I found about de Kooning during this time.

one of de kooning's women painted before alzheimers
google image
Painting William de Kooning did after alzheimer onset
google image

  "In later years, de Kooning was diagnosed with the probability of suffering from Alzheimer's disease.[3] After his wife Elaine died on February 1, 1989, his daughter, Lisa, and his lawyers, Lee and John Eastman were granted guardianship over De Kooning.[3]
There is much debate over the significance of his 1980s paintings, which became clean, sparse, and almost graphic, while alluding to the biomorphic lines of his early works. Some have said that his very last works present a new direction of compositional complexity and color juxtaposition, and are prophetic of directions that some current painters continue to pursue. Some speculate that his mental condition and years of alcoholism had rendered him unable to carry out the mastery indicated in his early works. Others claim some of these paintings were removed from the studio and exhibited before de Kooning was finished with them. Unfortunately, de Kooning's last works have not been afforded the amount of critical commentary or substantial serious assessment that his earlier works received.[9]" Wikapedia 
So how is our art effected when we are ill, traumatized, handicapped or otherwise severely challenged in our lives?

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