Category archives for on art
What [Adorno and Horkheimer] championed was neither high art or low culture, but art that exposed the contradictions of capitalist society rather than smoothing them over — in short, modernist art.
— Stuart Jeffries in Grand Hotel Abyss
This semester I’ve been thinking a lot about preaching and what it is. It is not primarily art and it’s not all about capitalism and society, but still — exposing the contradictions, crossing high and low; I would be very, very proud to be called a modernist preacher.
“Now listen to me, please: On a winter day, when you were a lycée student, it was snowing, and you were lost in thought. You could hear God inside you, and you were trying to forget him. You could see that the world was one, but you thought that if you could close your eyes to this vision, you could be more unhappy and also more intelligent. And you were right. Only people who are very intelligent and very unhappy can write good poems. So you heroically undertook to endure the pains of faithlessness, just to be able to write good poems. But you didn’t realize then that when you lost that voice inside you, you’d end up all alone in an empty universe.”
Orhan Pamuk, Snow
Art elevates us by intensifying and densifying the world. Of course, this is true only of good art; the least trace of anything awkward or amateurish, and we remain in our unelevated state, our reality of blushing, stumbling, idiotic misunderstandings and blunders.
— Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “Saga” for the New York Times, one of the most awkward essays I’ve ever read, but some densifying I’m on the fence about.
The writing of a book gets under way when the writer discovers that he is magnetized in a certain direction, toward a certain arc of the circumference, which is sometimes minimal, delimitable within a few degrees. Then everything he comes across — even a poster or a sign or a newspaper headline or words heard by chance in a café or in a dream — is deposited in a protected area like material waiting to be elaborated.
Roberto Calasso, La Folie Baudelaire
Anyway, Merry Christmas!
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me.
I was thinking the other day about Art and how though I think I’d kind of questioned it or given up on it, it has shaped me. Photographs really permanently palpably changed me.
It would be hubris for me to echo all Paul claims, and I don’t mean to do so, but still, it makes sense right now.