Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Smirking Chimp on Gopnik

But it is a great shame if some of the last outposts of criticism should be used to play "Nearer My God To Thee" as the ship sinks. That funereal sense is really what you could get from Mr. Gopnik's description in today's Washington Post of going to the Phillip's Collection to see Renoir. He spoke of having to "drag" himself in front of the picture. And by the way, even if Mr. Gopnik is not gay, he sure sounds like a drama queen. Naturally he then must let us in on the great secret: that this great painting is "coy" and "staged". Well, truly this painting has always been recognized as one of the most artificial in the sense of the German Kunstlisch, and "staged" and "coy" are close relations to that sense . What Gopnik is observing is more telling about the ennui that is created by having to regularly look at so much bad art, and trying to come up with reasons for why it shouldn't be portrayed that way. Thus when he stands in front of a great painting like the Luncheon, he has no choice but drift into the Cultural Autism that characterizes our age.
Read the whole thing here.

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