One of the customary criticisms of what we may generically call “modern” art is that the bizarre distortions of the figures in the works – even music, e.g., the works of John Cage – render the art inaccessible to any but the most sophisticated tastes and temperaments. Such critics point to, e.g., Picasso’s “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” and Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase” as examples of modern art’s alienation from the public. (The late evangelical Christian writer Francis Schaeffer even went so far as to argue that “Nude” was actually evil and sinful, because it was a form of pornography in that it encouraged the viewer to search the image for a picture of a naked woman!) Compare Picasso and Duchamp, et al., with, e.g., the great landscape artists of the Hudson River School and
I wish people, especially Bill Maher, with whom I completely agree on virtually all other issues, would stop playing fast and loose with the word “treason” when referring to Donald Trump. (Or course, Trump has been at least equally reckless. But I expect more of Maher.) Now, I have immensely greater respect and regard for the excrement I flush down my toilet every morning than I have for Donald Trump. (At least the former has served a useful and healthy purpose, which is considerably more than I can say of the latter.) So my purpose is not to defend Trump. My concern, rather, is to defend the Constitution, which I esteem as the civil / secular equivalent of Holy Writ. We should be meticulously careful about construing the words of the Constitution for the same reason that the Catholic
Every several years or so, perhaps every decade or so, a work of art captures my emotions and imagination, and sticks in my memory, even though it may be several years between viewings – assuming I ever see the original of the work at all. One such is Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party; another is Rembrandt’s Slaughtered Ox; another, Picasso’s Guernica; still another, Edouard Manet’s The Old Musician. I have never seen the originals of the Rembrandt and the Picasso. I know them only from reproductions. But they haunt me. I recently discovered another such image while visiting the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC: Patricia Cronin’s Memorial to a Marriage (hereafter Memorial ).
Memorial is a bronze sculpture, cast from a marble original, depicting two women lovers,