The Accidental Masterpiece, On the Art of Life and Vice Versa by Michael Kimmelman ’76. If Montaigne could see this book, he would be very proud that he invented the essay. Michael’s essays on art and life and life and art circle around the issue giving us a welter of images, experiences, and descriptions, each facet providing a glimpse into his core idea: life and art constantly intersect--you can’t have one without the other. This exploration takes you to such diverse locations as a shipwreck in Antarctica, a basement with 76,000 lightbulbs, Mont Victoire (as something you climb and not solely an iconic feature of a Cézanne landscape), and a grocery store with a gumball machine. (He remembers when gumballs were a nickel; I remember when they were a penny). Michael explains art as a fresh look at the ordinary, an elevation of the commonplace into something which makes us take notice. He enhances our experience of Bonnard, Chardin, Thiebaud, and so many others, and makes us take a serious look at giant installations. He helps us find the numinous in what surrounds us. He made me feel like an artist for collecting all things blue and white. Want to see? Maybe not, but here goes.
Sep 2, 2019
Dance! Images of the Bates Dance Festival by Arthur Fink ’64. The cover photo with the dancer’s skirt puffed out like a pumpkin gives an idea of what catches Arthur Fink’s eye when he photographs dancers. He captures body parts when the dancer is either in motion, full of energy, or still, at times taut and ready for action or, at other times, plainly exhausted. Motion shots are sometimes crisp; the dancer is caught midair. Or they are blurred whirls as he leaves his lens open to capture the movement. His images portray the beauty of dance, not as a performance for an audience, but behind the scenes. Clearly he has developed a relationship of trust with the dancers as they seem comfortable with the wandering eye of his camera not invading, but rather being part of, their creative space.