Saturday, November 15, 2008
He wanted to watch a piece of art, so he walked the ten minutes to a bookshop and went inside and heaved a big book off a shelf and opened it randomly and watched the artwork, whose edges bled right to the page’s edges, and he thought about what he saw and what it meant and how it made him feel. He closed the book, and thought about why he would never be the sort of person to understand abstract intentions. Three minutes later, and he had the finger-burning start of a takeaway coffee in his hands. He held the polystyrene by his fingertips, waiting for the lovely moment when the coffee would be cool enough to drink and enjoy. Why was this something he understood more than 400 year-old brushstrokes, paint, oils, canvas? Why did a thought, a word, affect him more than the deliberate evocation of one artist’s eye? What if all the great artists sang or spoke or did all the actions that more easily summed up a thought? Perhaps not. Art was—after all—merely the act of obscuring truth and beauty in the smoke of their own descriptions.