Thursday, August 18, 2005

One good idea

The idea that an artist is a different sort of person is a lie. “To live intensely is one of the basic human desires and an artistic necessity,” writes Mr. Kimmelman of Pierre Bonnard and us all. These essentialist ideas about artisthood scamper—discreetly, for the most part—throughout the book. Mr. Kimmelman’s thesis and, I think, his true belief is that the joys of art may be found in pilgrimage, in obsession, in collecting, in enjoying extremely private activities, even in just looking. Any of us, artist or not, can experience this joy. But Mr. Kimmelman cannot quite shake the mistaken idea that artists are a race apart.

“Most artists, like most people,” he writes, and the emphasis is mine, “have one good idea or maybe two in life, and that sustains them.”

Choire Sicha, from his review of Michael Kimmelman’s The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa [via MAN]

2 Comments:

Blogger John K said...

This is a very good point. I would imagine that the sort of experiential aesthetics that Dewey espoused, or Wittgenstein's notion of all humans' capacities for language games, or Freud's discussion of dreams, daydreams and art creation, or Ernst Bloch's assertion that not only artists but all of us possess utopian impulses and wish-landscapes, etc., don't factor into Kimmelman's thesis. As for artists themselves, Duchamp immediately comes to mind, and.... Plato and Aristotle early on set artists apart, and there's a long tradition of aestheticians--including Winckelmann, Schiller, Nietzsche, etc.--that continues this line, though even Kant argued more than once that the judgment of taste was universal, as was the capacity for genius and the appreciation of the sublime, no matter what he may have thought of women, Blacks, etc.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Geoff said...

“Most artists, like most people,” he writes, and the emphasis is mine, “have one good idea or maybe two in life, and that sustains them.”

Two words: Giant Clam.

9:38 PM  

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