The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.
Make That 6
News of the Tautological
“When Government Picks Winners and Losers, It Pays to Be a Winner”—headline, Washington Examiner, Dec. 4
Breaking News From 2003
“82nd Airborne Paratroopers Headed to Iraq”—headline, Stars and Stripes, Dec. 1
Block, That Metaphor
MIAMI—In an effort to broaden our horizons, yesterday we visited Art Basel, the massive annual contemporary art fair in Miami Beach. (It’s originally Swiss, as the name suggests.) We saw some great art (including a Matisse sketch and several Picasso paintings), a lot of interesting art, and a few pieces that just made us scratch our head and ask: What exactly distinguishes this as “art”?
One example of the last category was a small block of wood painted red. It actually looks more impressive in the nearby photo than it did hanging on the wall. When we got home, we Googled the artist, Richard Nonas, and found a September interview with him in Blouin Art Info, which introduces him by observing that he “makes poetry out of wood and metal.”
He explains how he got started: “Before I worked in Mexico, I was in north Canada. I brought back a sled dog. And I found myself picking up pieces of wood for him to play with. One day I picked up two pieces of wood, and there was real emotion there, and no story, no narrative, no reason for that emotion. I could describe the emotion, not in a single word, but there was real emotion. Not fake, not conceptual. But it was just two sticks. I thought, Wow, maybe it’s possible to communicate abstract ideas directly with objects, in a way you can’t with words. I got really excited, trying and making things, but I never thought about art. Then, two or three months later, a friend of a friend came to my apartment and said, ‘You idiot, it’s called sculpture!’ ”
Well, de gustibus non disputandum est. …
For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”