Things About Which I Have No Authority to Speak.
December 13, 2009 § 1 Comment
I’m finding that I can neatly summarize the last several days by linking some thoughts together, thoughts I thought, with numbers in front of them in the hopes that some sense of order might lend them more authority.
1. I know nothing about art.
2. My trip to the Menil Collection was pleasant. As I moved with what I hoped was just the right amount of pensiveness from the series of rooms marked “Surrealism” to the single room that showcased Cy Twombly’s Treatise on the Veil, I thought a little about what makes me like a piece of art (the former) versus what makes me hate a piece of art (the latter). I’ve found, from my visit to this museum & others, that I am a lazy art-looker-atter.
3. Here’s something I think I might prefer about art-things: When a piece contains something I recognize—an object, say, a puzzle piece or an apple or a piece of cheese—& then puts that thing in a strange or unrecognizable context. I think I like this because it’s like the art-maker is saying, “There’s something you’ve never thought about that I want you to start to think about. But I’ll allow you to start with what you know.”
4. Here’s an example of what I’m doing in my head (quick shift to the present tense!) when my face is trying to look all intelligent & pensive in an art museum. I put myself in front of a Yves Tanguy piece that has some melty-looking puzzle pieces rising up from the ground. I think, “Puzzle pieces. I know what those are!” My brain starts looking for a corresponding puzzle to associate them with. There isn’t one to be found, or at least not one in a box labeled X number of pieces. “These must not be ordinary puzzle pieces,” I think. “This guy must want me to wonder what these puzzle pieces are doing coming up out of the ground like that,” I think. I think, “What are these puzzle pieces doing coming up out of the ground like that?” At this moment I realize I’ve forgotten to look pensive. I think I’m doing it by accident now. “Accidentally looking pensive,” I think, “sounds an awful lot like actually thinking.” I think, “Very clever, Tanguy, you’ve tricked me into thinking about art. I think.”
5. Fast forward a day to sitting in Waldo’s Coffee House listening to David Byrne. I’m thinking again, but only a little, when it occurs to me that David Byrne owes a lot to Rene Magritte. This is not his beautiful house. Or a pipe.