Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Golden Age Microbrewery

The Dutch Inn Model—or, as it is more popularly and recently known, the Golden-Age Microbrewery—was first brought before the curious public in April of 2008 at an Art Fair in the city of Chicago. As you gaze at these images I’d like first of all to banish the idea of the dollhouse from your mind. The Chadwicks were always very touchy about that comparison. And in fact it was one of their main reservations about letting their study model out of Chadwick Manor. Such a crass comparison is the main reason why the object that was presented in Chicago was not the original, but a reproduction of the even more detailed seventeenth-century Dutch tavern reconstruction that still belongs to the family (which, incidentally, one can catch a glimpse of in a rare filmic document of the Chadwicks at home, titled, rather ploddingly, At the Family Manor, The Chadwicks Demonstrate the Golden-Age Microbrewery with a Rendition of Jacob Cats).

As two bachelors who devoted an enormous amount of time to the elaborate construction of what appeared to most viewers indistinguishable from puppet theaters or miniature playthings, the Chadwicks were forced to appeal to the theoretical works that emerged from these three-dimensional models—like their Foreground Floor Debris—as proof both of their art historical worth and of their difference from the amateurish reproductions of Victorian interiors that remain the imaginative domain of pre-adolescent girls, where Mama and Papa are always right downstairs.

Ultimately, it was only through our own repeated reassurances that the Chadwicks were prevailed upon to let us construct a reproduction of the original tavern for the benefit of the curious art public. While painters have for centuries used such models to study the effects of light and shadow and the workings of perspectival illusion (Poussin, in fact, had a series of wax figurines for which he developed special, individualized accents), the Chadwicks apparently made rather a different use of their own device. After the purchase of genre paintings for Chadwick Manor, they would "restage" the speculative events that led to the various brawls, French exits, and to the copious arrays of mugs, tankards and pewter dishes that so consistently litter the foreground of golden-age Dutch paintings. Then Dalton would hold forth to assembled guests, discoursing on his eccentric theory of genre painting through one of the model inn's windows or doors. Not to be outdone, Torrent, too, used the model for his own purposes. And yet, less interested in the history of painting, Torrent took rather to a kind of ambient genre theater—endlessly casting down tiny tankards, upsetting mugs—and accompanying this activity with imitations of Dutch insults and exclamations.

The Chicago viewing of the Golden-Age Microbrewery marked the first time audiences outside Chadwick Manor saw even a reproduction of the device. What the Chadwicks refused to stage in the mall-like context of the art fair, however, was a live reading of the actual poems, especially by the seventeenth-century Dutch poet Jacob Cats, which they recited through the models various portals, both in the original Dutch and in the Chadwicks’ somewhat eccentric translations. Cats was a popular writer whose works on everyday life were eagerly read both by genre painters and by their patrons. While there is some debate about whether the Chadwicks knew enough Dutch to accomplish the translation accurately (those versed in the language may judge for themselves), we feel nonetheless that the Chadwick Dalton’s translation captures the multi-voiced atmosphere of the tavern that was its ostensible site.

Gronthowelick dat is:

Op, droeve sinnen, op. Waerom aldus geswegen?
Waerom soo langen tijdt in uwen rou gelegen?
Ey! drijft het swaer ghepeys ten lesten op de vlucht;
Het graf en gaet niet op hoe seerder yemand sucht.
Wien eens de bleecke doot heeft uyt het vleys genomen,
Die kan noyt wederom hier opter aerden komen;
Of yemant treurigh is, of byster ongesint,
Het is een stale wet, die alle menschen bint;
Ghy, schoon u wederhelft is van u afgesneden,
Troost efter u gemoet, en stelt u des te vreden;
Ghy sult haer weder sien, naer uwen lesten dagh,
Daer noyt de wreede doot haer pijlen schieten magh.
Mijn geest is nu belust aen Hollant yet te schencken,
Waer door men over langh noch onser sal gedencken,
Koom laet ons op een nieu yet brengen aen het licht,
Dat leet versoeten kan, en swacke sinnen sticht:
Yet dat een jongh gesel voor eerst behoort te lessen,
Yet dat een echte man sal dienstigh mogen wesen,
Yet dat een teere maeght sal leyden in de jeught,
Yet dat een deftigh wijf sal stijven in de deught.
Ick heb by een gebacht verscheyde trougevallen,
Om daer te mogen sien hoe jonge sinnen mallen,
En hoe een rijper aert bequamer wegen vint,
En hoe een reyne ziel haer tochten overwint.
Maer dat is niet genoegh. Wy moeten ondersoecken
Uit al wat Reden hiet, uyt alderhande boecken

—Jacob Cats

Grown so thick that it’s …

Up (droves singing) Up! We’re in all this—get swigging!
Wear ‘em swollen tits, into it, rude leggings!
Eh! Drift head! Sway the gypsy tent—loosen up the folk!
Heads crafted in grey night upholstery (demands suck):
Weenies, blackened soup, catsup, head fleas—you name it.
They cannot wear the wrong hair after ardent coming.
If you meant true rye, it’s off by stairs on descent.
That isn’t stale yet (they all mention pints).
Guy showing you where to have his van fumigated.
Trust after you get most installed—you test for vermin.
Guy sold her water scene, near Uncle Lester’s dock.
Day or night the reedy dock, her pidgin’s shitting mud.
My own guess is noblest in Holland—yet it takes shaking:
Weird door-men over lengths of notched osier solemnly thinking:
Comely tones open new yens, bringin’ a headlight!
That late they’re shooting cans and thwacking some old snitch.
Yet date a young gazelle? Four ears report to listen.
Yet date an icky man? It’s all dynasty, Moog investment.
Yet date a teary Meg? Guess I’ll lie down in the yuke.
Yet date a deep-dish wife? It’s all staged, Indie dude.
A cab buying good rock (very shady trucking fellow).
I’m there till morning—see’n all the young single mom’s in.
And who is reaching for air guitar, raging Vince?
And who is raising real hair, touching over wigs?
Mayor, that is not enough! Wine moldy, unders-soaking.
Hit at what reddens heads, and underhanded break-it.

(Trans. Chadwick Dalton)

Groan... tho he licks at its...

Up drove sinning, up. Why, all this swigging?
Why so long and tight ‘n Owen rowdy, jealous?
Hey! Drift head swear happiness won’t lessen up
Hat grabs and gay nights whose sister you want to kiss.
Wine eyes the bleak dude heaved right here lies nameless,
deacon not welcome here; sightly airs coming
of wanting truly, these pungent bystanders
My hat is stained, stale and wet, all these men are stiff;
guy, show’n you whether he’s fun, and you off guessing
True it’s after you gambled and folded….and your testy friend;
the guy with soiled hair, better scene near you when Lester dragged off
Darn right we wrecked that dude plying shitty hash
My guest is new and lost in Holland yet he’s thinkin’
Where dour men over long nights, honor all while sinkin’
Come lay it on me, new yet braggin-a hot light
That seat is soakin’ man, and smack that singer with a stick
Jet, that young gazelle her first cavorting session
Jet, she ain’t much man, Solomon (Ruysdale) danced a jig, muggin and weezin
Jet, that wine’s tearin me up. Sol’s got van der heyden in a headlock
Jet that ain’t delicate with Sol suckin’ in the dark
Yuck! Heddje… A wine debauched Versailles merchant passed out in the trough
I’m there till morning, seen old john sing’in and wailin’
Then home in a “ripped skirt” quandary, leggings stained.
And who ain’t payin! It’s all here… touching o’er th’ wind
Sir, my hat is not good enough?! Why moping with beer soaked undergarments.
you all drunk and red pete, old platters dammed broken,

(Trans. Torrent Chadwick)

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