You know I am an art history junkie, but I have really come to appreciate art in all of its forms. If someone creates something that causes you to pause and focus on its beauty to the exclusion of all else in the world, even for a precious moment, that is art. I know that is the broadest of definitions, but it is really what it is all about. If you are engrossed in the sounds of a symphony by Mozart, the spectacle of an Opera by Verdi, a painting by van Gogh or the latest Bruno Mars music video, I am not sure what is going through your mind, but chances are you are not thinking about politics or global warming or any of the many trials and tribulations in life that we all face.
Art, like life, is simply meant to be experienced and enjoyed and the more time you spend trying to figure it out, the less time you have to enjoy it. I am not saying the hows and the whys and the who along with the history are not interesting and important, especially for someone like me who feels compelled to stand in the wheat fields that van Gogh painted in Auvers or sit by Monet’s lily pad ponds in Giverny and marvel at the story of the Impressionists, but that’s part deux. First I believe It is best to take off the headphones and just look.
When I walked into the awe-inspiring opening night for the annual “Art Paris Art Fair” in the Grand Palais on the banks of the Seine in Paris a couple of days ago it was like the first line in that old song that Judy Garland sang in the musical film Summer Stock, “Pack up your troubles and just get happy”. I was not sure what the next few hours would bring, but I knew I was going to be a pleasurable experience.
This art was not created in the last couple of centuries in fact it may have been created in the last couple of weeks. A vast majority of the art in this grand hall was created by our contemporaries, artists who are still living, but whether it is Cezanne or Dan Miller, if it is good it is good. When a certain arrangement of colors, lines and shapes grabs your attention and causes you to pause, that is good. The only thing required of you is “no fear”, a relaxed open mind and the ability to stop trying to figure out what it means. The more you look, the more sophisticated your taste becomes. I had to look at thousands of pictures before I began to understand why Picasso referred to Cezanne as “the father of us all”. One thing I know for sure, if you grab every chance you get to look at art, your life will be happier and more fulfilling.
I will end with an amazing story about Tom di Maria and the non-profit organization he runs in Oakland called “Creative Growth”. The Center is a unique space that provides a nurturing environment and safe haven where adults with developmental, mental and physical disabilities can express themselves. Tom told me some of their artists are using their work as their primary way to communicate with the world—I mean they don’t speak. A byproduct of that work is changing the public perception of people with disabilities. Tom has been doing this for 20 years. The blue work shown below right by Dan Miller was purchased by the Pompidou Museum in Paris and Dan is already represented by MOMA in New York. It is a 50-50 split with the artist and the foundation.
Well that is all for now. Since my last last blog I have been to ten different events and museums that are blog worthy and I promise to try to catch up.
April 6, 2019
True words shared with me some 25 years ago, up in Snowmass, CO, and reinforced during a visit to Denver, where in Larimer Square you and I attended a street fair. We wandered into Knox Gallery and I fell in love with the painting “Sunset At Parker Ranch,” by Cheri Christensen. I still get lost inits landscape and the light surrounding the cattle . . .
Thanks for continuing to share you experience in this blog, Paul. I look forward to it and hope to catch up some time when you return.
April 6, 2019
Bob, I often tell the story about your purchase of that Cheri Christensen. It is a beautiful story that exemplifies the essence of my mission and It continues to inspire me to preach the gospel about the joys of having art in your life. It would be great fun to get together sometime.
September 9, 2019
I’m a newcomer Paul. Very much enjoyed your Paris.
September 9, 2019
Glad you enjoyed it Laurence.