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A Poet and His Muses: A Conversation with Jim Dine
by Colette Chattopadhyay

When the staff at the J. Paul Getty Museum invited Jim Dine to visit the Getty Villa and develop a contemporary work related to the collection, they may have been expecting a suite of drawings. Although Dine began his career by creating Happenings in New York City during the late ’50s, since the ’80s, he has exhibited drawings of antique sculptures from some of Europe’s most prestigious art institutions. On arriving at the Getty Villa, which is dedicated to antiquities, Dine had no trouble finding sculptures to study. He selected three ancient works, which he inventively combined in the installation Poet Singing (The Flowering Sheets). Given an enclosed gallery in which to realize his vision, he created five larger-than-life sculptures inspired by the life-sized Sculptural Group of a Seated Poet and Two Sirens (350–300 BCE) and two small, impromptu clay works, Statuette of a Dancer (300–200 BCE) and Statuette of a Dancer Playing the Lyre (200–100 BCE). Poet Singing not only twines poetic myth and sculpture, past and present, it also embodies the 72-year-old artist’s private ruminations on the passage of time. Casting Dine’s own likeness in the guise of the ancient poet Orpheus surrounded by sirens, Poet Singing resides in an arena-space, listening to music sung by time’s ancient muses. A broader selection of Dine’s sculpture is being shown at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, January 28 through May 8, 2011.


Poet Singing (The Flowering Sheets), 2008-09. View of installation at the Getty Villa, Malibu, CA.


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