Baudelaire and Dickinson: Religion for Moderns

Where do we find spirituality in a world without absolutes? Charles Baudelaire and Emily Dickinson offer two alternative paths. Let us compare two poems written about the same subject – a clock. Baudelaire anthropomorphized the clock as a living god Continue reading Baudelaire and Dickinson: Religion for Moderns

Art and the Future of Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go players have fallen off a cliff, crashed their cars, and jumped into traffic. They have been robbed. Someone saw his house invaded by players who were told it was an open meeting place to train and fight. In Continue reading Art and the Future of Pokémon Go

My Memory of a Time and Place Where I Never Was

La Goule simultaneously fascinated and excited the patrons in Aristide Bruant‘s decadent, famous Paris cabaret, Le Mirliton, as portrayed in the newly rediscovered L’intérieur de chez Bruant: Le Mirliton I saw at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.   I Continue reading My Memory of a Time and Place Where I Never Was

The Myth of the Solitary Artist

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Isaac Newton, in a letter to Robert Hooke The idea of the solitary, isolated artistic genius is a myth. Consider the following two paintings about the Continue reading The Myth of the Solitary Artist

“Heart and Soul” is a Chaconne – So What?

I was absolutely stunned when, in my late teens, I encountered the last movement of Bach’s Partita #2 for Violin, the “Great Chaconne”. I never cared why it was called a chaconne. Today we consider any music that repeats a Continue reading “Heart and Soul” is a Chaconne – So What?

Art is What Artists Do

“..it is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits…” Aristotle Nicomachaen Ethics, translated W.D. Ross What is art? I have no idea, Continue reading Art is What Artists Do

Greatness in Artistic Form

“When we tell a story in cinema, we should resort to dialogue only when it’s impossible to do otherwise. I always try first to tell a story in the cinematic way, through a succession of shots and bits of film Continue reading Greatness in Artistic Form

Understanding Art is Difficult: A Picture is Not Worth a Thousand Words

Seeing this in a museum what would you think it was?   Seeing it while driving, you would immediately watch for an intersection ahead. If you never saw a car in your life, you would not be even able guess what Continue reading Understanding Art is Difficult: A Picture is Not Worth a Thousand Words

Why I Hate Most Art Criticism: Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament and Music

“Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions…” David Hume, A Treatise on Human Nature Emotions first, cognition second is the best way to perceive art, even contemporary art. We feel independently from the way we Continue reading Why I Hate Most Art Criticism: Beethoven’s Heiligenstadt Testament and Music