Thursday, May 15, 2008
FRANCIS BACON AT SIXTY
His room is not so much untidy as beyond any notion of tidiness or untidiness; an equinoctial tide of printed matter, much of it illustrated, washes against the walls. There are two jumbo sofas, both covered in spinach-green velvet, a bed the shape of an elephant's foot, a large Boulle chest of drawers that might have come from a French provincial town-house, a mirror cracked in several places and a plain wooden table that would suit a dinner party of eight or ten. The books are there for use, not for looks, and the electric light hangs unshaded from the ceiling. The telephone usually functions only in an outgoing direction, for Bacon inclines toward Degas' definition of the telephone as a tyrant that would have us drop everything and come running. As far as humanly possible he has disembarrassed himself of possessions and of everything else that could inhibit the drives of instinct. He uses money as an instrument of liberty, not as an instrument of power-- and by "liberty" he means the freedom to go or not go anywhere, at any time, in any company.
--From "Francis Bacon At Sixty", by John Russell. Art In America, January 1970.