vincent van gogh / crab on its back / 1889
when i was young, i remember seeing this painting in an exhibition somewhere in l.a. the colors really caught my eye. a fairly childish way to pick out a piece. all the same, i examined it with great scrutiny. the thick, thick paint. the energy in the brushstrokes. i undoubtedly had no idea how to verbalize these thoughts at the time, but i liked it, and it left an impression on me. years later, i discussed the work with my mother. i vividly remembered it. it seems to be one of the first significant interactions i had had with a work of art. i described it to her. “that’s sad,” she said. “what do you mean? why?” “because a crab on its back cannot get back up on its own.” the crab was painted in 1889; van gogh admitted himself to a psychiatric center that same year.