Saturday, January 7, 2012

Saturday commute lii: Aftermath of the gallery going

Who has ever known it to fail,
for a Friday evening of gal-
lery-going to revive that aes-
thetic spirit so many of us
have dutifully laid by, in our
obeisance to the genius, all
week, of free enterprise? Nor
could we bear, really, for the
aesthetic response to invade
that getting act, much as we
may suppose it would be seemly
to order our affairs along the
lines of der Stijl.

But we never really know, do we, that our suppressions of the ill-timed aesthetic spark and of the lingering entrepreneurial impulse are dependable, so that the oddest overlay between admiring and getting persistently surfaces without warning. You can find factory workers at shift changes responding as they might at Wildenstein, and denizens of upper Madison circling each other in the plainest vestiges of the acquisitive dance. 

Nor is this confusion any less acute in west Los Angeles, where the worlds of art and of commerce are so seam-lessly miscegenated as to arouse the most active concern among the shirt-less, as to which of these ostensibly discrete motives has precipitated the slightest passing glance. I freely admit, that if you are Norwegian, say, or Greek, these categories may well strike you as artificial; but when is it not in the nature of a category to be artificial? I'm actively concerned that such a question draws us to the precipice of reading Whitman, but it surfaced only yesterday in Montale; and one does wish to run a blog where one can feel safe to know where one is.

The Friday swirl of gallery going and the kiss at the factory gates portray the problem of the category well enough, as being that of the neck with two pen-dants, where every pendant really is a conch revealing no more than one of its rotations at a time, denying or celebrating a semblance as the occasion may warrant. The existence of the semblance is some-thing religion is invented to mediate, either in dismissing its importance as frivolously mortal, or in reinforcing every hallucinatory category as divinely mandated. This is not a mind/body problem; it is a humanity problem.

Many have remarked, that the celebra-
tion of the semblances between cate-
gories and their permeability is an 
act of aesthetic response. Certain
mentalities are subjected to great
anxiety by this conduct, seeing it
as quite voluntary, and therefore 
quite naughty, and therefore quite 
incompatible with the survival of 
the republic. We shall hear this
anxiety unanimously affirmed again 
this evening, even under the pre-
tense of debate. As they marshall
their genius to articulate how we
must be administered, they will
be discussing how we must be


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