Saturday, January 8, 2011

Artsy Afternoon

Went to an opening at the local arts center this afternoon.  It was a big show--two whole floors of a largish building--because every member of the arts center was guaranteed to have at least one piece accepted.  Alas, almost everyone at the reception was an artist, and I saw no more than three red dots (indicating sales) while I wandered around.  This was the first time I showed one of my new clay pieces, and the setting hen, which had seemed so robust and substantial while I was working on her, looked pale and wan on her shelf in the show.

Afterwards we met several artist friends at a Chinese restaurant.  While I ate my eggplant in garlic sauce--it was actually eggplant in syrupy glop--there was a discussion about whether the work of certain accomplished but conservative local artists had "soul."

Things got intense, and I kept fighting the urge to shout, "Hold it for a minute!  Would you please define your terms?"  But I held my peace--every "definition" would have sparked another discussion--and concentrated on the sticky eggplant.

The old questions about art that used to set me on fire--what gives it soul, what makes it honest, what makes it good or bad--now leave me tepid.  Art, I have decided, should be looked at in silence--reverent or irreverent depending on the looker.  And it should be enjoyed, if it is to be enjoyed at all, in solitude.  Talk just gets in the way.

Back home I was glad, when I went to shut the chickens in for the night, to see that my real hens are as robust and substantial as I could wish.


  1. i know what you mean, exactly. talk does sometimes get in the way.

  2. This may sound like heresy from a former lit crit prof, but often talk gets in the way of writing, too.

  3. "certain accomplished but conservative local artists" !! Struggling against paranoia, working towards a Zen attitude...