Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I was asked about the word temporary in the last post by a friend who thought it was perhaps referring to the archival or lack of archival qualities in an individual artwork. It was not.

I was referring to an artworks ability to to have a lasting effect on me. There are works that I look at and look at again and as I do they mean more and more to me. When I read a poem or a book and I don't want to read it again in some ways I am disappointed. I want these writings to be more like friends. Just because I met you once does not mean that I leave you and then go on to another person. When I like you and enjoy your company I want to see you again and again. I feel that way about art work too.

The first major painting that made me want to see it again and again was Turner's "Europa and the Bull" at The Taft Museum. The first time I saw it was in 1965. Even though I have seen it many times it still had this effect on me when I saw it in 2008 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art along with several more Turner paintings from that period.

Another painting that had a great effect on me was Mark Rothko's "Number 10" at the Museum of Modern Art. I have made it a point to visit "Number 10" every time I am in New York City. I always enjoy seeing it.

That said. I like works that I want to be with again. I like books I want to read again. I like movies that I want to see again. There are works I will most probably never see again. Not because I don't want to but because I won't get the chance to. I still appreciate the effect they have had on me.

I am not as concerned with a work of art lasting forever as I an concerned about it's effect lasting forever. It is okay if a work is transient. Transitory. Ephemeral. Momentary. Fugitive. Fleeting. Evanescent. I don't mind transience.

The flower at the beginning of this post lasts less than 24 hours. It blooms when the sun is going down. It is quite beautiful with a lovely subtle scent. When the sun shines on it in the morning it withers.

I don't mind transience. And I have also found that there is a second meaning to the word transient. Affecting something or producing results beyond itself.

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