Desperate for Words

Poetry, prosetry, revelry, riotry

Abstract Expressionist, Grace Hartigan, dies at 86

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Grace Hartigan, Abstract Expressionist and one time New York painter has died at the age of 86, reports The Baltimore Sun. Hartigan was a confidante of the poet Frank O’Hara who had posed for her and written poems to her. She said that although he was homosexual, their emotional intimacy was more intense than any she had with a heterosexual man. O’Hara’s biographer, Brad Gooch, believed the lines “Grace/ to be born and live as variously as possible,” which are engraved on O’Hara’s tombstone, were written for Hartigan. The artist credited O’Hara with influencing her on the use of popular culture. O’Hara’s poetry could jump from Picasso and Lana Turner. She told The New York Times: “Frank broke down the barriers between so-called high and low art.” She took to Abstract Expressionism in the late 40’s but not long afterward began spiking it with images of ads and department store mannequins and street life, early evidence of what she calls her “desire to get the balance of abstraction and imagery, like the porridge, just right — not too hot, not too cold.”


Poet stirs up religious storms over new book


Written by alanhay68

November 18, 2008 at 1:16 pm

2 Responses

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  1. What’d Frank say about his lovely Grace? He sd:

    For Grace, After A Party

    You do not always know what I am feeling.
    Last night in the warm spring air while I was
    blazing my tirade against someone who doesn’t
    me, it was love for you that set me

    and isn’t it odd? for in rooms full of
    strangers my most tender feelings
    writhe and
    bear the fruit of screaming. Put out your hand,
    isn’t there
    an ashtray, suddenly, there? beside
    the bed? And someone you love enters the room
    and says wouldn’t
    you like the eggs a little

    different today?
    And when they arrive they are
    just plain scrambled eggs and the warm weather
    is holding.

    Frank O’Hara

    Grace and Frank fell out a bit over Grace’s going off with this guy Win Price but I think they made up before he died. I bet she was pleased to see him today, in his silver construction-worker’s hat, showing her around the breakfast joints up on the Fire Island of the very final moments.


    November 18, 2008 at 4:09 pm

  2. […] Abstract Expressionist, Grace Hartigan, dies at 86 […]

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