Looking at a Work of Art

Posted: May 8, 2012 in Dark Art Cafe
Tags: , , ,

“What we want is more that eyesight, it is insight.” 

-Bruce Herman

If you get a chance to listen to this podcast with artist Bruce Herman, you’ll find yourself looking at paintings in a different light, reading poems with more care, watching films for more than spectacle. Seeing works of art as gifts from creators who “give their all” – who sacrifice to render a form, tell a story, capture an image, or speak a poem – requires an unconventional openness on the part of the viewer or reader: what literary critics might call a hermeneutic of affirmation that precedes a hermeneutic of suspicion.

In my current literary project, Bleached Bones Rattling: Reviving the Art of Sacramental Reading, I describe this type of “sacramental” attention as having the potential to bring art to life and life back to art.

This podcast and Martin Buber’s book I and Thou (Scribners 1958), which Herman refers to in the interview, are great introductions to this way of thinking about and viewing art in “new” and imaginative ways.

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