Commonplace

“I mean, there are a lot of truly happy people who have virtually no exposure to art, and, conversely, some fairly evil specimens who are tremendously sophisticated in artistic matters. Still, having said that, I think art can be a vital tool in one’s life. You don’t have to conceive of art in Olympian terms to see how it helps people to learn to think for themselves, to sharpen their own perceptual capacities and heighten their sense of self, while at the same time allowing an immediate sense of other people’s unique, subjective experience. Art thus has an important role to play in staving off the standardization of society. But it can achieve that promise only if we find some way of overcoming that initial frustration—the anger and insecurity—that tends to alienate many potential viewers from modern works.”

—Museum curator Knud Jensen, in “Jensen’s Shangri-La,” by Lawrence Weschler, in Shapinsky’s Karma, Boggs’s Bills, and Other True-Life Tales (1988)

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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