Monday, December 29, 2014

Recondita armonia

To an artist who 
suggested being
linked in.

     Scarpia. What are you
     going to do about it?

A backstage sign can't stop it.
The challenge in social media,
for lack of a better defining
phrase, is less in the quality
of their painting than in their
audience's seeing. I realize
that these things overlap, but
poor work has always existed -
with the best, often ill-served.
What's new is its distribution,
and rapidity of assimilation.
Is this temperature, reductive?

So much imbalance and unrefine-
ment are in self-reinforcing ex-
change, so that the likelihood
of their acceptance only rises,
while the excellent is suspect.
Nations panic, societies unrav-
el, friendships fray in such a
climate. Gresham's Law shows it-
self a scourge to every quality, 
irreconcilables flourish madly.
Any day, there may be Cézanne.

Because, we see, standards fail
by testing, not by neglect. If
an unharmonious way is tried,
it will nevertheless be tested.
Does art, as Cavaradossi sang,
blend contrasting beauties, to-

Is this a risk we're ever spared?
Something is always not supposed
to be shown.

Giacomo Puccini
Giuseppe Giacosa

Paul Cézanne
Houses in Provence
ca 1880
Collection Paul Mellon
National Gallery of Art

Richard Shiff
Cézanne and the
  End of Impressionism
op. cit.

Frederik Ruegger
i, ii

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