Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Sister Wendy explains it all


Sister Wendy. She was on PBS several years back. A nun stalking the great works of Art, gliding through the halls of great museums in her nun's habit like a listless Whistler's Mother.

Sister Wendy Beckett. A consecrated virgin, an expert on Art, an unfortunate last name for a nun.

So, like, Greg and I have started watching the series Sister Wendy made for PBS, and it's a nice, appealing show: the nun going on and on about the heaving breasts of this work, or the phallic symbols in that work, or the Titian reds or the Seurat dots... the Marc Chagall interpretation of America, the Joan Mitchell interpretation of a city landscape.

Sister Wendy says this about Hopper's Nighthawks: "I've never actually been in a college dorm, but I'm told there was a period when every college dorm in America had stuck up on the wall a poster of Hopper's Nighthawks."

Sister Wendy says this about Wood's American Gothic: "She doesn't look at us. She looks away, as if, though her face expresses the impassivity... she wants more. And although her dress is absolutely form-disguising, how pathetically she has tried, the braid around the pinafore, and the cameo. Which shows the head of a beautiful woman with free-flowing hair."

Sister Wendy. She knows Art, and is Art herself, a consecrated virgin, in a habit, who has never entered a college dorm, and who scrutinizes the clothing of the woman in American Gothic, calling the clothes "pathetic" and "form-disguising." I like Sister Wendy. But I wonder if she is a scholar of Art because she enjoys it, or because she pretends she's not a nun while discussing it.

2 comments:

Phillip said...

Hello from Florence! I loved this series - do you know if these are new episodes or the older ones?

MM said...

It's the older one's, from '97. I don't think she's done recent episodes, tho she has written a few books.

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