The New York life depicted in John Koch's paintings is about connecting. Many of his paintings seem to be about listening as well, and not simply because his wife Dora was a music teacher and theirs was a household filled with music (including the delicate tintinnabulation of the cocktail shaker) and musicians.
Picture after picture offers an image based on the sociability and togetherness predicated on voluntary coexistence, on the company of other people, on a love of the surrounding world, of life as a frame and setting for people, and of people as the vital force in life.
Michael M Thomas from Painting a New York Life
I was thinking about Koch while I watched, I Am Love last weekend. Each scene in the movie reminded me of a Koch painting. Compared to Vermeer by art critic, Robert Hughes, Koch's scenes are not just American as opposed to the film's Italian aesthetic, they are every bit of New York City. In style, manner, humor and sex.
John Koch was a self taught painter who lived most of his life in New York City, and for the last 24 years of his life, in a 14 room upper west side apartment in the El Dorado overlooking Central Park. Hugely overlooked then and today, John Koch (pronounced Coke) is HIP (Hugely Important Person). At least in my book. Maybe yours as well.
It's all about that nostalgia for something I never experienced. And just because I didn't experience it doesn't mean I can't love it. Isn't that the point of art? To look at a painting and feel like you were there? Koch takes me there. I long to live in his New York of the '50s and '60s and even '70s. I want to be at that party. I want to hear his wife's piano lessons. I want to smell the cigarette smoke and hear the tintinnabulation of the cocktail shaker.
Instead, I was in a mall over the weekend.