Michael Kimmelman Mot du Jour: Open-ended
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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.
“I think the beauty of art is in so many ways open-ended. And we should have this in life: that there should be cultural things which allow us add our own thoughts to them and to decide for ourselves whether we like it, but the truth is a lot of people don’t want to have to bear that burden. We want to be told what we are supposed to think; we want to be spoon fed stuff and the fact is that most of our culture is about that. You know, making things convenient, instantaneously obvious. Whether its fast food or most bad television shows or whatever, it doesn’t really take much effort on our part and so it relieves us of this obligation we actually have as human beings to try to make a little effort sometimes to ‘get’ something which might be worth it if we put in the effort. But its funny because we will accept it in certain ways and we wont in others. I think that people accept the idea that you’re not going to play baseball like Derek Jeter if you just decide one day to pick up a bat; that you’ve actually maybe got to practice a little bit, be in little league, have some skills and so forth and that effort is required and then we admire that effort. It’s just that in art the end result isn’t as clear to people when they haven’t made any effort at all. In other words, when Derek Jeter makes an amazing catch or hits a home run we think: “Yeah, that’s achievement, we get it!” But when Pollock is doing his drips, because most people have never made any effort to understand why that’s an achievement, they just think: “It’s meaningless[.]”
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