Reduced to Being an Artist

Note to self: always read about artists, even if you don’t like them. In the past, when I read solely as an art appreciator rather than as an artist, I used to read only articles about artists I liked or was curious about. For some reason, I read a New Yorker piece about William Kentridge, even though I saw his show at SFMOMA recently and was not engaged by it.

Now, I’m reading for insights into how artists work and how they think, so it doesn’t matter if I don’t like the art. I’m inspired to read about artists like Kentridge who flounder around for a long time before finding their metier. Who realize that something isn’t working so they try something else instead of giving up (although in this case the artist felt himself “reduced to being an artist”).

Political art generally leaves me cold, so I was happy to read that Kentridge doesn’t start with a social message. “It starts with images that interest me, or provoke me.” Another great quotation: “I look back now and think, How lucky not to know what you’re doing.”


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