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I have been thinking about the Italian artist Carol Rama (1918-2015) since I first ran into her work at a big show at the New Museum. I joined the museum so I could look at her work again & again, & have been back 3 times now.

I still can't articulate what grips me so much.

When I first walked in to the show, not knowing anything about her, I immediately felt: She's the real deal.

That continues to be my main response. She makes the art she has to make & wants to make. There's no nod to the styles or expectations of the day, or if there are (I don't know much about art history, certainly mid-century Italian), she took what she needed & made it her own.

She was fairly unknown till late in life but she kept going. Like a poet she made art not for fame or money but because there was nothing else for her but to keep going.

I really like what Greg Masters wrote me after seeing the show: "A good number of her images were disturbing, but the act of depicting seems always to be reaching for a transcendence of the agony. If the images are not a solution and a transport out of that hard world, they are a sharing that at least allows the artist to escape isolation and the angst of going through the experiences without witness."
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