Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Peter Schjeldahl Notes Part III

Selected notes from Peter's teachings on critical writing, continued (click here for Part I and here for Part II):

A work of art is not a commodity. A commodity differs only in price. A work of art has a unique character/identity and no inherent value. Artworks behave more like money than like commodities.

Never explain how one thing is harder to describe than another. Don't comment on what you're doing. [This is like] Apologizing to our own ideal.

Words fail.

Painting is incarnate – has a skin and a body, like we do. That's why it's important.

The spirit of description: The way something is matters. Our life depends on it. [For example:] "Fat and green and full of sin." Raymond Chandler describing a fly.

Can I look at this in a way the artist has not intended? If so, out with it. Does the artist know what I'm seeing?

Boredom is the unwilling consciousness of passing time – You're dying/closer to the grave. Film is a pure escape from the sense of time.

[As a critical writer, you need to be] Inside enough to know what you're talking about and outside enough to tell the truth.

To be continued.

Image via Hawaii Life Hack.

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