henry geldzahler – regarding criticism of his curating of the show at the new york met (metropolitan museum of art) in 1969 “new york painting: 1940-1970” but dubbed “henry’s show” by those opposed to his choices.
“that whole concept of pc; politically correct. is it really politically correct or is it politically comfortable?”
“all the criticism is about what something isn’t. if it’s chinese it’s not japanese. if it’s long it’s short. if it’s old it’s new. i mean, uh- of course it isn’t what it isn’t. uh- everybody’s so polite. everybody wants to include everybody.”
regardless of henry’s predilections, what was essentially happening in the responses of those opposed to his choices is a big but subtle issue that insinuates itself daily into the standard of daily human behaviour. people want to be comfortable. it is instinct to find what is familiar and recognizable. comfort is an indicator of good grounds for home and family. but things are not so monolithic and absolute as all of that. when it comes to what we each value and believe and support, we are arbiter- no other. we are protector of our dynamic. by knowing ourselves we may know our surround. by knowing our surround we may see ourselves.
compromise, but not in giving up who you are- “selling one’s self out.” if you have to think of it as “compromise” then think of what the benefit is to all including yourself and not just yourself. in this sense it is more like a “cooperation.” but i don’t think in terms of “event” such as “compromise” or “cooperation.” those are great words to connect and communicate ideas between people, but for myself it is all seamless. compromise is an ingredient in existence. it’s not something that occurs but something that is always contributing to the soup.
we are not all everything, we are not all the same. the human known as henry geldzahler got to a point that enabled him to choose what he thought was best. the museum chose to hire him (he even turned down the first offer by the met). sure a human in a certain position of influence or social hub has certain perceived burdens, responsibilities. but there are no rules, no absolutes that dictate anything. we fashion rules to create comfort, to sustain survival. to apply to a wider and wider group, those rules have to either be so broad that many loop holes and gaps will exist for people to slip through or nit-picked where the wrong groups are inevitably persecuted.
ultimately we each will be who we are. we each serve our own dynamic. i’m not implying selfishness, i’m suggesting a more enriched nucleus to radiate from; to enable strong connections in the experiences of our existence.