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Art in My Innards 1 March 2006

Posted by Todd in Culture, Painting & Sculpture, Philosophy & Social Theory.

Those of you who know me well know that despite my taciturn, academic Capricorn exterior, I'm pretty much a cheese ball, loving all kinds of pop-culture trash. I tend to feel things pretty deeply and have been known to cry at extremely bad television (such as the utterly sentimental and manipulative endings of every episdoe of Cold Case…hey now, don't be getting all art-snob on me; I watch it to spend some time with the steamy and sensitive Borricua cop for an hour on Sunday nights!). But at a deeper level, I'm always on the lookout for those rare images, melodies, words that move the soul, that work inside of me, almost parasytically, that shift my perception of the world, even if just for a little bit.

In the past few months, I finally submitted to Brokeback Mountain; I exulted yet another time with Allen Ginsberg's "Footnote to Howl" (here read live in 1959); I fought alongside Johnny Cash to get out of my own "Rusty Cage"; and was stopped dead by the works of Hung Liu (below or see more here).

Since I was a teenager, I've been trying to speak the pit in my stomach when I hear Mozart's Requiem or Ärvo Pärt's Berliner Messe or Chopin's Nocturne in c minor. Then yesterday on the train home, I came upon this in my continuing adventures with the old German syphilitic, my favorite companion of late, describing what a genius heart can effect in a willing subject:

…the genius of the heart from whose touch everyone walks away richer, not having received grace and surprised, not as blessed and oppressed by alien goods, but richer in himself, newer to himself than before, broken open, blown at and sounded out by a thawing wind, perhaps more unsure, tenderer, more fragile, more broken, but full of hopes that as yet have no name, full of new will and currents, full of new dissatisfaction and undertows… (from Beyond Good and Evil)



1. Randy - 1 March 2006

I suppose that really good art acts as a genius heart. Nietszche (or, “Nitch,” as A.J. Soprano called him) did have some brilliant insights, though, of course, his ideas were twisted and warped by a certain German political party.

2. Todd - 1 March 2006

Actually, Nietzsche’s anti-semitic sister was the one who purposefully mis-edited his works to bring them into line with the pre-WWI proto-fascists (and then re-appropriated by Heidegger). It’s kinda funny reading Ecce Homo, because he keeps insisting that he’s not German but Polish, that he speaks German and uses the language better than any German ever did, and that German culture is completely decayed. Not exactly the Teutonic Nationalist so beloved by das Führer. In any case, what is so moving to me about Nietzche right now is his insistence on avoiding anything that is life-denying, on “standing on your own two feet, firmly planted on the earth” and on “feeling everything.” It’s almost a kind of existentialism (the Frenchies were deeply influenced by Nietzsche via Heidegger), but without the French angst and nihilism.

3. Randy - 1 March 2006

So what you’re saying is that Nietzsche would take the side of Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman in “I Heart Huckabees”?

4. Todd - 1 March 2006

I put it on my Netflix list. I’ll get back to you…

5. Diana S. - 3 March 2006

I don’t believe an excuse is needed for watching “bad” television. In the past I didn’t have time for it, and rarely even owned a television. However, after taking time off from work, I started watching. I think it’s fascinating. It’s a great look into what’s going on in our society. It’s kind of like staring at an accident. But I will shamelessly admit, with no excuses, that I get moved by Project Runway and my boyfriend and I keep up with The Gilmore Girls on Tuesday nights. When I go back to work I’m going to miss TV.

By the way, the best television is The Wire which should be starting soon on HBO. It’s a true to life drama about Baltimore city that won’t offend anyone’s “high brow” sensibilities. Try out the DVD’s and you’ll be hooked!–>

6. pwjohnson - 24 July 2006

“Naughty” a show @ Heather Marx gallery in San Francisco might interest you.

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