A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Michael Kimmelman Mot du Jour: Lie

Study for public art commission under the Miami Metromover. Image courtesy of Swampstyle.

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.


“All art is in someways a lie. Its looks like a picture of something, but it isn’t that thing, it’s a representation of that thing. We have devised all sorts of ways to make something seem like its real, but it’s a flat canvas, usually. 3-Dimensions are often represented in certain ways and we have conceded that to agree that this is what ‘it’ would look like. One thing that the surrealists did was to say you can lie entirely. A locomotive can come out of a fireplace. You can paint a pipe and you can say “This is not a pipe,” and that’s an interesting thing. Of course it isn’t a pipe, it’s a painting, it’s a painting of a pipe, but on the other hand it is a pipe, or at least what we have conceded to say is a pipe. This is one of the ongoing games of modernism and it revolves around the understanding that at the heart of art is the idea that it’s a lie. Its a kind of agreed upon social way of representing things in the world[.]”


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.

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  • I was there

    Lie lie lie lie liar you lie
    Lie lie lie lie lie tell me why
    Tell me why why dyou have to lie
    Shouldve realised that you
    Shouldve told the truth
    Shouldve realised you know what Ill do

    Youre in suspension youre a liar

    Now I wanna know know I wanna known why
    You never look me in the face
    Broke a confidence just to please your ego
    Shouldve realised you know what I know

    I know where you go everybody you know
    I know everything that you do or say
    So when you tell lies I always be in your way
    Im nobodys fool and I know all cos I know
    What I know

    Lie lie lie liar you lie lie lie lie
    I think youre funny youre funny ha ha
    I dont need it dont need your blah blah
    Shouldve realised I know what you are

    Youre in suspension youre a liar
    Youre a liar
    Youre a lie
    Lie lie lie

    sex pistols

  • Richard Haden

    I remember that song.

    I remember those huge ugly nuns who liked to wack us with rullers to…I really liked to lie to them. Their habits got easily frustrated…

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Michael Kimmelman Mot du Jour: Lie