This weeks Mot du Jour is again courtesy of Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic of The New York Times, who generously sanctioned the use of his erudite verbalisms for the purposes of our deified feature. Thanks also to Amir Bar-Lev, award winning Director/Producer who worked with Michael to generate this text.
“There is a certain point at which it may be obligatory for you to make some effort to try to understand something that doesn’t automatically explain itself to you. And if a plain white canvas in a museum doesn’t speak to you, then you may wish to try to find out what it’s doing there as opposed to just saying “It’s just a white canvas, what difference does it make?” Or you can choose not to, it’s your choice. Art is not an obligation, but where as other achievements in human culture, for example science, are granted a certain trust, the majority of people seem to treat art differently. For some reason people do not require physicists to make themselves perfectly understood in order to be believed, nor does string theory have to be automatically obvious to be considered potentially valid, so why should art be any other way? It’s not like art is any more complex, or ridiculous, or that in order to be moved by it you have to have in depth knowledge or be familiar with the context in which it is presented. You can, in fact, be moved by lots of things; even simple things. You can be moved by ideas. You can be moved by the beauty of an idea and the expression of that idea. And the physical expression of that idea might even be so minimal as an all white canvas, or a black circle on a white canvas, or even nothing more than a lot of drips and splashes. Ideas can be pretty powerful things sometimes[.]”
Michael Kimmelman is Chief Art Critic of The New York Times. He is now based in Berlin, writing the ‘Abroad’ column for the Times on culture and society across Europe.
For more information on Michael Kimmelman please visit: www.nytimes.com