Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pretty writing


By Michael Kimmelman in today's New York Times. "Bonnard's art, steeped in memory, registers in the here and now, at the instant it is seen, thwarting encapsulation, demanding repeated viewings that then disclose fresh discoveries." and "You might say that the pleasure of seeing a Bonnard, like the pleasure of summoning up any memory, is inextricable from its own elusiveness and from the struggle required to make it, even if only for an instant, seem whole." And "Artists — I would add, good ones anyway — try to generate as many "a-ha" moments as possible..." and his conclusion:
Of course, in dreaming of arriving on butterfly wings, Bonnard could not have known that young artists in the year 2006 would operate in a commonplace world of budget air travel, proliferating art fairs and museums for contemporary art, where peripatetic pilgrims encounter endless objects once and mostly never again. This, the artist and writer Art Spiegelman pointed out to me recently, may be the biggest change in art during the last half-century or so: that more and more artists make works they never expect will be lived with, looked at day in, day out by the same person; that much art is made for fairs or museums, designed to grab a distracted passerby's attention without needing to be experienced twice. Culture slides into the realm of entertainment.
It is no wonder, then, as Bonnard could say even about his own day, that "few people know how to see, to see well, to see fully." In our visual age, amid a glut of freshly minted, clueless collectors, it's truer now.

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