“The Hat Makes the Man“, 1920, Max Ernst
Images of things seen push around and populate the crevices of my brain. Or maybe not the images themselves; the feelings experienced when seeing images is what lurks there. In the example above, finding the image again and presenting it here was a surprise. It looked unexpected, but was the one. An artist takes away what she needs and flings away the rest. Steal the core of the thing and push on. “You take it, it’s yours”, Picasso said.
Why do I think of this famous image? It has to do with the way aluminum tumblers are piled up on my fireplace. They are not all the same size or color or style, but they are cylinders, irregular, unstable. They have potential energy, but happily, they do not fall.
All things are connected: from Max Ernst and Surrealism to my sister to my husband to my father to men in hats to my St. Louis childhood and then back to art like a cat who chases her own tail. Inside that circle is my reality.
“Hats are chick-magnets”, said my stepson. He is right. He learned that from his dad. I love his hats and caps. In St. Louis this weekend, we went to Levine Hats. Glenn had spoken of this place, and I wanted to see it. Glenn wanted a hat.
The place is a hundred years old. The pattern and organization there is stunning. That is what art IS, bygawd, pattern and organization.
Did not expect the hovering hats when I walked in. Or the beautiful armature. It was magic.
Upstairs, better deals.
And a closer examination of the shelving structure. Common string stretched in diagonals between parallel lines, letting the hats breathe and making them seem to hover in space.
This color is a neutral, try it with anything.
For use on March 17, and Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the back.
On both levels of the building, one can see the original metal pressed ceiling. Long ago, felt hats were actually made here. Now they are only modified when sold.
Love this misalignment of shapes which approaches the Ernst image. They are only similar in that there are hats present, but the variety of sizes of shapes between the hats feels familiar.
When I showed the pictures on my camera to sister Nancy, she recognized Levine’s immediately. Said she had been there when small with our dad; the business had been almost fifty years old then. I missed out on what would have been an important early experience for me. Always keep your eyes open.