Ezra Tessler reflects on Blinky Palermo's Grey Disk (1970).
Tessler writes: "Once Grey Disk made its way into my mind I had a hard time not seeing it everywhere. Turn Grey Disk on its side and walk through the Met: there it is in the rounded-faces of the lifelike Roman funerary portraits painted in encaustic on wood, in the hand-carved cameos of the late nineteenth-century, and so on down the halls. Or leave it horizontal and think of nearly any painting. It mimics the golden orb of the kneecap at the center of Caravaggio’s Narcissus, the shape of Braque’s Violin and Music Score, the dark cutout oval in Picasso’s guitar sculptures, the black elliptical sphere in Dana Schutz’s Guitar Girl, the biomorphic shapes in Ron Gorchov’s pieces, and the swollen lumps of elephant dung in Chris Ofili’s work. It’s the bowl of fruit in every still life from Claesz to Matisse, the muted and dusty grey saucer in Morandi’s Natura Morta II, the skulls in seventeenth-century vanitas paintings, the ominous cloud covering Gerhard Richter’s Table and the carnal orifice of his Mouth. Cloud, face, saucer, saddle, stage, shield, palette – how can one begin to capture everything that it invokes?"
Blinky Palermo: Works on Paper 1976-1977 is on view at David Zwirner Gallery, New York through June 29, 2013.