Monday, March 23, 2009

SEEING ART

Today a person who is not connected to the art world came to my studio -- as she was visiting my friend down the hall.

I realized immediately that this woman had only one motivation and that was to sell me something, or perhaps she was just distracted, but I was struck that she has obviously never looked at a piece of "art" in her life. She seemed in such a hurry and with no focus.

Her way of looking at my stuff was just to walk fast and her eyes briefly lit on things. I felt that nothing registered. Even my huge picture seemed not to stop her for two seconds, and everyone else always stops and looks at it for a while. To me it seemed her mind was going at such a rate that most of what she was seeing didn't register. I doubt she could be a crime scene investigator or detective remembering details! I tend to be so much the opposite. I have to let a picture "sink in" and look at it a long time, feeling it deeply, letting the colors textures and the images do their work on me.

I felt sort of insulted at first, but then thought about it and realize that to learn to look at art is an art in itself. You have to learn to open your eyes, and although there are things that can be comprehended immediately the act of connoisseurship is a slow process. I cannot imagine this woman would understand a Gaugin, or a Miro. The pictures of Paul Klee would be to her simply child's play.

The seer of art must be an artist too.

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