In light of the election, I felt like I both had to and could not write a post. I wanted to and didn’t want to. Don’t worry – it will not be political. Turbulent times, no matter the reasons behind them, always need moments of rest for those they toss.
I have a staggering number of friends and acquaintances who are afraid, and although I have no power to assuage their specific fears, I can, I hope, do my part to relieve some of the general darkness they feel. One excellent way to do that is with art.
For some reason, I have always been timid to say that I like a piece of art, or to declare that it’s good. There are plenty of people who study art (I do not study art) and they’re the ones who I assume have the authority to make such declarations. I’m afraid of being laughed at for saying that I like a painting when its subject is mundane. I’m afraid of being sneered at for saying a painting is good when maybe in reality it’s shoddy work. I wouldn’t know. But there is one piece of art that I saw years ago at the MFA in Boston that I still think about a lot. I even had it bookmarked on my browser so I wouldn’t forget it. It’s called Farmyard by Moonlight by Jean-François Millet, and it has many cliche things that draw me in: a moon, a pastoral scene, clouds, no people. It has a gate in almost the very center of the piece, which I know is a trope in art for drawing attention to something, but I also vaguely remember hearing that it’s an amateur way to go about drawing such attention. But I really like this piece and think you should look at it, and also look at other works by J.F. Millet, because they’re very peaceful and – I’ll say it – very good.
And now to leave you with a contribution of my own, which you may judge as you please.
a candle quivers
darkest before dawn