Magazine article Artforum International

Willem De Kooning: Clam Diggers, 1964

Magazine article Artforum International

Willem De Kooning: Clam Diggers, 1964

Article excerpt

I

It might be the light over Antwerp, the Antwerp of Peter Paul Rubens. Antwerp. Ostende. The light over water and sand from any of umpteen

dank-dismal skies, any of umpteen dreary-drab northern European skies. But this is the light over Long Island Sound, over Springs, East Hampton,

where things are ever so slightly out of focus. We might be forgiven for thinking that these, for example, are two glam

hoofers from Las Vegas - two not-so-glam Vegas hookers, even - rather than a pair of ladies digging for clams.

II

Rather than a pair of ladies digging for clams they might be two columns from an infinitely receding colonnade of flesh. There's a dull glint

off the pail, if pail it is, that's strapped to the back of one. All's so opaque I can't say if it's the pail or her tangy cleft she grabs at with her left

hand which, if it is her left hand, points to the quick of the matter - the hood pulled back off her friends Venus mercenaria,

as they term the quahog in these parts, as if her friend would-never mind could-somehow struggle free of her body's snare. …

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