A word about method: I relish drawing and the craft of engraving, and, contrary to contemporary custom, everything in this image – dramatis personae, details, architecture – is drawn by hand. During the first, planning phase of the image, I construct an initial collage, and I do find a photocopier useful at that point for enlarging and reducing elements. But in the next phase I modify and change these elements quite intentionally in a drawing which serves as the basis for the finished print.
- Pennsylvania Station, N. Y. C. 1910. First proposed in 1902 by PRR president Alexander Cassatt -- brother of Mary. Torn down in 1963.
- Marcel Duchamp is fleeing the wreckage with the breaks and cracks from his Large Glass and a modified portfolio from his “Box in a Valise” series.
- Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, 1915-23. Also called The Large Glass.
- A puzzle about this print.
- René Magritte, The Treason of Image, 1929 and Frank Lloyd Wright, model for the Guggenheim Museum, N. Y. C.
- Quasi Jean Dubuffet women jumping ship, symmetric to the Dubuffet cow, (no. 27.)
- Taken from an indistinct memory of a flaming giraffe by Salvador Dali. Now the whole herd is burning as is the non-pipe of Ceci n’est pas une pipe, (no 5.)
- Track signals intended to guide the racing train. Constructed from elements of The Large Glass.
- Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram, 1955-59.
- James Bolle, composer and conductor.
- Jackson Pollock, leading the Fellini parade.
- Oeuvre of Pablo Picasso in a crate too heavy to carry.
- Alberto Giacometti, various figures.
- Andy Warhol, Marilyn Monroe Diptych, 1962.
- Marcel Duchamp, LHOOQ, 1919. Pronounced “Elle a chaud au cul.”
- Duchamp playing chess with a naked Eve (Eve Babitz – godchild of Igor Stravinsky) at the Pasadena Art Museum on 18 October 1963.
- Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, Louise Bourgeois, and two mystery women.
- The ants are carrying an approximation of an insect version of a quasi Chuck Close.
My Y2K reference started in 1997, long before "Y2K" became ubiquitous. It began as a simple "K", referring to Franz Kafka and the hero, K, of his novels. That led me to Metamorphosis, Kafka's bug story, and, with the Y2 added, finally became the millennium bug itself.
After finishing Twentieth Century Limited, I discovered another Kafka / Metamorphosis / train connection. Kafka said that he wrote Metamorphosis "all in one go," in einem Zug: literally, "in a train."
Now, in September 2001, in the shadow of the association of terrorists with the millennium, I see even darker threads as I revisit one of the print's major under currents: a questioning of twentieth century art's ultimate relevance.
- An anonymous refugee from the Bauhaus (Germany 1919-30.) He is carrying Josef Albers’ favorite dictum “less is more.” Albers was a Bauhaus exile who became chairman of the Yale Art School at the beginning of my Yale years in the 50's.
- More, or, actually, less, from Duchamp’s Box in a Valise (see no 2.)
- Francis Bacon, left panel of Triptych inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus,1981. The other panels have been appropriated by the insects and Duchamp’s shrinking millennium box. The ants are me, with engraver’s loupe and burin, traveling tinily around a huge copper plate.
- Robert Hughes survey of 20th century art, The Shock of the New, 1980. An aardvark, having only “a” vowels, has eaten the first “e.” He is after the ants and may develop a taste for all the art rescuers.
- Philippe Vermès, from his cycle of biker photos, 1990.
- A quasi Frank Stella.
- Clockwise from the top: Wilem De Kooning, Woman II, 1952
Stuart Davis, Rapt at Rappaport’s, 1952
Peter Milton, Homage to Kandinsky, 1954
Josef Albers, Homage to the Square, 1954
Jasper Johns, Target With Plastic Casts, 1962
- A Piet Mondrian dangerously close to the back end of a Dubuffet cow. Form follows function.
- Jean Dubuffet, The Cow With the Subtile Nose, 1954. Overtone of Mark Tansey’s, The Innocent Eye Test, of a cow regarding a painting of cows.
- Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic 34, 1954.
- Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl, 1963 and As I Opened Fire, 1964.
- Pablo Picasso, Guernica, 1937. The bovine which the Dubuffet/Tansey cow is looking for is the great bull in the unseen center section of this painting.
- The Twentieth Century Limited. New York Central’s luxury supertrain, which ran between New York and Chicago starting in 1902. Pennsylvania Railroad’s answer was the Pennsylvania Special, 1902, later renamed the Broadway Limited. Alexander Cassatt’s need for an elegant start for his supertrain led to the construction of the 1910 Pennsylvania Station, designed by Charles McKim, of McKim, Mead, and (Stanford) White.
- One of the magnificent 2-8-4 engines, American Locomotive Company, Schenectady, N.Y., 1928, returned to service to celebrate the millennium by the P. E. & R. (Post Edge and Retro Lines) in 1998. There is another millennium acknowledgment in the yXXoo symbol on the central stanchion of the station, (No. 32a.)
- The running Duchamp carries the little vial of Paris air with which he exemplified an invented category he called infra-mince or sub-tiny. The category could include the little random energies of a giggle or a sigh: art too insignificant to be Art.