As seen by Steinberg

Saul Steinberg's drawings have been seen in one-man as well as group shows for four decades, not to mention in the pages of The New Yorker and at the Pace Gallery, which represents him in New York. His latest solo exhibition, in which the above recent drawing appeared, was held at the Sert Gallery of Harvard's Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts in Cambridge, Mass. It seemed in the spirit of our forum to accompany the work of the artist's hand with -- by his kind permission -- a few of his words on his study of architecture, on memory as a computer, and on various other topics (as brought together in the book, ``Saul Steinberg,'' published in conjunction with the large traveling exhibition organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1978). The study of architecture is a marvelous training for anything but architecture. The frightening thought that what you draw may become a building makes for reasoned lines. I am among the few who continue to draw after childhood is ended, continuing and perfecting childhood drawing -- without the traditional interruption of academic training. Los Angeles is the avant-garde city of parody in architecture and even in nature (canyons and palm trees). Difficult to draw, a trap -- like portraying clowns. Nothing is lost of what the memory accumulates, an immense computer that continues to register and classify data that are used only in a minimal proportion for conventional and monotone life. Life in this sense is like a huge ocean liner in which only one cabin is used. The artist (and my idea of the artist, poet, painter, composer, etc., is the novelist) investigates all the other lives in order to understand the world and possibly himself before returning to his own, often for a short and dull time only.

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