BIRI 2013 #3 Art Objects by Jeanette Winterson

Books I Read In 2013

Art Objects
Jeanette Winterson

I got this book because I wanted to continue thinking about art criticism. Perhaps more deeply. The first essay, "Art Objects," was good for deepening my thinking about the art object (and how art objects). The rest of the book was a whole other beast.

"Art is intimacy, lover's talk, and yet it is a public declaration."

This grappling between the most intimate and the most public.

"There are plenty of Last Days signposts to persuade us that nothing is worth doing and that each one of us lives in a private nightmare occasionally relieved by temporary pleasure.  / Art is not a private nightmare, not even a private dream, it is a shared human connection that traces the possibilities of the past and future in the whorl of now."

This idea that art should do more than provide us with a window into our private nightmares.

"Art is not documentary. It may incidentally serve that function in its own way but its true effort is to open to us dimensions of the spirit and of the self that normally lie smothered under the weight of living."

But this documentation could also open us to dimensions of the spirit that normally lie out of reach of each of our own particular small worlds.

"I do not think it is possible (or moral) to write a book that is made to affect others without being affected oneself."

This is the question.

"It is to poets that I turn for the lessons I need and the lesson seems to be to use a variety of moood and tone to make way for those intenser moments where the writer and the word are working at maximum tautness."

This turning to poets.

In this book, Jeannette Winterson is given to grand pronouncements, large declarations. Much more so than I would have expected. Somehow, I thought her ambitions would be smaller, more contained. I was wrong. I learned something about her, I guess.