Saturday, January 31, 2004

   "The Lineaments of Gratified Desire"

He retired to the sea.
There he found what he needed:
a surf-screen to shine his thoughts on,
a solitude wide and dark enough and seamless;
rocks to build the theater physical.

Only the gulls saw stone pile upon stone,
like the identical days of his stone exile
converging to a point just short of the sun
the round irregular walls.
He said the tower would give him a place to write
in the peace he'd sacrificed everything for,
but his typewriter's mute, and the tower continues to rise.


Art is a refutation and an antidote to simple materialism. However, consumerism can effortlessly co-opt it, unless the artist takes care to control the post-production life of his work. His greatest enemy then is not rejection but uncritical admiration; a willingness to remain, in ignorance of the person who made it, at the superficial level of textures. This would be like illiterates buying books for their covers, --except of course people do that also, don't they?-- a denial that art has meaning beyond its sensual qualities. (And Moby Dick can be read as a fish story --i don't mean just paintings)
   An artist of mass produced objects (like xoxes or texts) can consciously choose to have a limited audience. This is in fact the usual route (it fits right in with society's pluralistic atomism). Or you could make them by hand and give them only to your friends. (The primitive/amateur/child/mad artist's way) Or you could include your autobiography and a detailed commentary (art school does this with students before they visit a museum--if ever). Or you could make art with several levels of meaning....the top one, almost a cliché... (Shakespeare)

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