13 Nov Listening
Art speaks to everyone, but some people don’t listen.
I’m a fortunate son.
As a kid, living only eight miles outside Manhattan, I had the chance early in life to experience art in a global art center—indeed, the global art center in the day.
My parents many times took my siblings and me to the MOMA, the Met, the Whitney and the Cloisters.
Better still, we’d spend every Labor Sunday navigating the Washington Square Outdoor Art Exhibit, better known as the “Greenwich Village Show,” where thousands of goateed painters hawked their beautiful wares on the leafy downtown sidewalks. It was enchanting.
I also had generous art teachers throughout elementary school, including a beret-wearing, mystical, Greenwich Village gypsy.
You may not have enjoyed my upbringing, but that doesn’t affect your ability to appreciate art.
Everyone with a shred of curiosity is an art lover, as the famed painting teacher Robert Henri noted.
“All manifestations of art are but landmarks in the progress of the human spirit toward a thing but as yet sensed,” he said. “The man who has honesty, integrity, the love of inquiry, the desire to see beyond, is ready to appreciate good art. He needs no one to give him an art education; he is already qualified, he needs but to see pictures with his active mind, look into them for the things that belong to him, and he will find soon enough in himself an art connoisseur and an art lover of the first order. ”
And for those unfortunate enough to lack curiosity, there’s “Jersey Shore: Family Vacation.”
Above: Picasso vs. Sargent by Norman Rockwell, 1966