Matt Keegan, “I Apple New York”

D’Amelio Terras, New York
April 23 – June 18, 2011

Matt Keegan interviews Milton Glaser

Matt: In Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight, Wendy Keys’s 2010 documentary on your life, you briefly mention that you went abroad for a semester as an undergrad at Cooper Union, and studied in Bologna with Giorgio Morandi. Could you elaborate on what your experience was like?

MG: It’s interesting. I always tell the story about Morandi and the fact that we essentially never spoke about art, and he never really reviewed or criticized one’s work. He was teaching at the Accademia in Bologna, and he taught kids who had no experience with etching, or in many cases, who had no experience making art at all. He was a modest man. If he had been in the United States, he undoubtedly would be teaching some kind of master class in advanced painting, but in Bologna he taught the most basic introduction to the mechanics of etching. What I learned about him more than anything was his commitment to the idea of making art. Morandi was a man of incredible integrity. His work possessed him. He would teach a couple times a week, but then he would go home and paint the rest of the day, every day, until his death. He also enjoyed a good meal, and in Bologna he was fortunate to be in a place where the food is arguably the best in Europe. So—he liked going to nice restaurants. But besides that, he seemed to be a man with almost no personal needs except to make his paintings. And thank God for that. When I finally saw the 2008 survey of his work at the Met, I realized the extraordinary variation and development in his paintings more than ever. When you look at Morandi’s work quickly, you think that it’s the same thing over and over again. But when you regard it with some attention, you discover that the range is fantastic. The modesty of the paintings and their lack of drama keep you from noticing at first. Later you feel changed by the experience, and you no longer look at the world the same way. The sense of attentiveness that art develops is one of the distinctions between what is art and what is not.

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