August 25, 2016
In my favourite art bookstore there is a new edition of Isabella Rossellini’s biography Some of Me, published in 1997. Salesperson P. told me that it’s not a good book, but it does have some good insider news on Rossellini’s mother Ingrid Bergman. Apparently Bergman liked the homely life, taking care of the kids, cooking, etc. And there was one advice she gave to Rossellini, so P. told me: “Du kannst immer etwas mit in der Küche nehmen.” (You can always take something with you to the kitchen). It means, when you’re on your way to the kitchen, why don't you look around to see if there’s anything that needs washing, like an ash tray or a wine glass, and it’s true that you will always find something, isn't it. Very good practical advice from Ingrid Bergman that can make life if not easier, at least cleaner.
August 24, 2016
Oscar Wilde took in 1881 (he was twenty-seven years old at that time) the boat to the United Stated on his mission to spread beauty in the country of industrialisation. In his Lecture for Art Students he told the students not to copy beauty but to create beauty in their art. He was kind of pre-Duchamp because he told them not to lean on "ready-made beauty." Wilde had also some simple advice for the viewer of art: “All pictures that do no immediately give you such artistic joy as to make you say ‘How beautiful!’ are bad pictures.” In 1964, an equally young Susan Sontag continued along that line in Against Interpretation - a manifesto against the killing of the art work by wanting to nail it down to a “what does it mean?” It's a simple truth, isn't it, but the level of feeling and experiencing in the understanding of art seems often to be ignored or muffled away. Here, for your convenience, are Oscar Wilde's guidelines to express feelings when looking at pictures:
- for archeological pictures: "How curious!"
- for sentimental pictures: "How sad!"
- for historical pictures: "How interesting!"
- for all pictures: "How beautiful!"
August 18, 2016
To make great art, you need to have an open mind. I’ll give you an example of such an open mind. I read this story in Andy Warhol’s Philosophy, or it might also have been his Popism. I don’t remember but let me paraphrase it for you: “I have a problem,” Warhol said, “something is wrong with me. Every time I watch a detective story on TV, although I’ve watched it several times before, I always forget who’s the murderer.” Of course, there was nothing wrong with Andy Warhol. I think this story is an excellent example of an open mind: it doubts what one thinks one knows so that it opens up to possibilities: the murderer could always be somebody else.