Sunday, May 17, 2020

drinkdrankdrunk: "The Secret Of Great Art" by Victor Schwartzman

Melvin loved re-watching movies, rereading books, looking again at paintings.  Every time he revisited certain works he found something new.  It was not the pleasure of experiencing favorites again, but there was, in a select few artworks, something always new.   

How could he always see something new?  Was he stupid?  This did not happen elsewhere.  He thought of his colleagues, family and friends:  although there were surprises; it was nothing new.

Art was complex, full of details and rhythms and inner meanings even the artist did not always understand.  That explained why he always saw something new, because it was so complex.

Or did it?

Melvin figured that the artists themselves should be able to say why some of their work always seeing something new.  So he did research, reading about artists throughout the ages.  The standard response was, “I don’t have a clue.”

Some said they wished they knew what they’d pulled off in certain works--so they could do it again.  But for both artist and audience it was a mystery.

Eventually, Melvin concluded that certain unique works were alive.

He saw something new each time because there was something new each time.  The art was alive and, like any living thing, regularly changing.

He approached paintings in museums (he needed originals; copies were useless) and talked to them.  They never responded and the guards would take him away.  It was the same with movies or books.

Melvin could only observe.  Once, Bogart winked at him.

Eventually he was forced to accept that the communication was one way.  A select few pieces of art were alive, perfect examples of their kind, unique, and therefore were constantly changing.

They existed for themselves.

It was then Melvin had a final realization:  for true art, audience was irrelevant.

He wondered in what other ways he was irrelevant.

Turned out, most everything.

Victor Schwartzman is a Canadian writer with whom I used to be in the Underground Literary Alliance.  I am quite happy that he is still writing and willing to share some of his work on drinkdrankdrunk!

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