Monday, May 20, 2024

The Enigma of Art


"Made in Heaven" (Jeff Koons and La Ciciolina)

"The Enigma of Arrival" was a wonderful piece by VS Naipaul that ran in The New Yorker decades ago charting the writer's path from Trinidad to Oxford. It's always "enigmatic" to discover the divergence between mellifluous and sensitive prose with reality of the creator. It's not trite to invoke The Picture of Dorian Gray. Naipaul was a legendary sadist who actually disfigured one of his mistresses while cheating on his long suffering wife. Art in general doesn't square with its market place. Jeff Koons who is unfairly dismissed has actually devoted his life to the subject of commodification. He pulls no punches. What you see is what you get. Oscar Wilde famously said. "It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances." An enigma is a wonderful way to describe the Bildungsroman that can be written about all the world's Tonio Krogers. My Architect director Nathaniel Kahn's film about the art market,The Price of Everything, says it all in describing the reality behind the veneer of humanism. Every would-be writer or artist falls hard when they arrive on the scene strutting their feathers only to be chastened by their forbears (now gatekeepers) who have become hardened by the very world they once sought to enter.

read the review of The Kafka Studies Department in Booklife

and listen to "Cool Jerk" by The Capitols

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