The Temple of Responsive Objects

What is a modern museum? Conceived as a place for people to learn about and experience art, they were often built as secular temples to sacred objects. Today, people do not respond this way to a museum. My own personal Continue reading The Temple of Responsive Objects

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

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

“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

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