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.
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