UPDATE: Dick found some mistakes in my transcription of his voice mail and I corrected it.
Note the new addition on the side bar, on the right hand side, the widget with Dick's book recommendations. To start with, it contains books, which Dick either mentioned to me in our conversations or handed me to peruse. The first was Kenneth Clark's "The Nude."
It was not the first time that I came across it. In my own research on the body in the films of Claire Denis I came across this title. It's interesting how such a "classic text" can be used even for contemporary film analysis, the text I have to admit I did not use to its full potential.
Later, Dick surprised me a bit, but not really, mentioning The Black Book. I think it's a natural due to Dick's interest in the nude. Here is what he told me he came up with before breakfast, "when often interesting thoughts occur," today and left it on my voice mail, to clarify the reasons behind his interest in Mapplethorpe's photography and in particular in his nudes.
"Whenever the human body appears in life or art, clothed or unclothed, there is an erotic potential. In art, whenever the erotic goes beyond potential to become itself the subject one may easily cross the line between art and pornography.
In art, the nude body is neutral. Sexual differentiation is a fact. Unless the artist has intended the erotic to be the subject, whatever further happens lies in the eye or rather the mind of the beholder.
For myself, the subjects of the nudes are the particular individuals, which I have painted, male and female, having 3 dimensional form in the painting as well as in life, capable of movement, and in their posture expressing the connection between their inner self and its physical manifestation.
I am interested in Mapplethorpe's straightforward nudes, not his homoerotic images or for that matter, his still lifes." Francis Cunningham 8/6/09
Finally, a title that Dick refers to in his writing a lot, but was cautious when mentioning to me for material for the blog. But I think Italian Painters of the Renaissance is a wonderful inspiration.
When on the Renaissance, there was a great show at the Met "Art and Love in Renaissance Italy", which I was lucky to see earlier this year and found it great and on top of that packed with visitors of all ages.
A quick final note to close the circle, Kenneth Clark was a great British historian, but also a TV personality, here is a DVD title, a series that covers a big chunk of European art history.
I understand the show was a hit when it was running.