Monday, January 18, 2010
Van Gogh's Ear
'When you see a Gaugin, you think, This man is living in a dream world. When you see a Van Gogh, you think, This dream world is living in a man.'
'It's true that the moral luck dramatized by modern art involves an uncomfortable element of ethical exhibitionism. We gawk and stare as the painters slice off their ears and down the booze and act like clowns. But we rely on them to make up for our own timidity, on their courage to dignify our caution. We are spectators in the casino, placing bets; that's the nature of the collaboration that brings us together, and we can sometimes convince ourselves that having looked is the same thing as having made, and that the stakes are the same for the ironic spectator and the would-be saint. But they're not. We all make our wagers, and the cumulative lottery builds museums and lecture halls and revisionist biographies. But the artist does more. He bets his life.'
Painting reference and both quotes from Adam Gopnick's piece, 'Van Gogh's Ear' in The New Yorker, Jan 04 2010