23 June 2008

Quote of the day

"Paintings sit there," Kitaj writes, "looking out at the world, which remains separate. I'm for an art into which the painter imports things from the world that he cares about"--imports them into the alternate world that is the work of art. "Painting," Kitaj explains, "is a great idea I carry from place to place. It is an idea full of ideas, like a refugee's suitcase, a portable Ark of the Covenant."

The artist's sense of place is the stranger's sense of place, the outsider's sense of place. Such a dispensation can feel expansive and inviting. It can also feel exclusionary, because its particularities push out other particularities. An art that pursues its own viewpoint, and does so unironically, can seem elitist, because it propounds a secret. "This is just for us," the work declares--but it is always the case that the "us" includes anybody who can imagine himself or herself into this particular place. Anybody can enter, but not without making an effort.
- Jed Perl, 'Postcards from nowhere'

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