Ali Zafati

Sometimes I wonder if I have my head on straight. I see highbrow reviews in art magazines of what I call academic art, you know, formal gallery art, and I am not merely indifferent, I feel hostile toward the pretentiousness of the artist. (A blue background, a line here, a splotch there, a patterned bow to one side.) Then I find myself posting what could easily be called lowbrow CGI monsters because they tickled my funny bone. You know what it is? It’s all about reaction. If I was on a heart monitor one would be flatline, the other a happy little peak.

In the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam I was moved to spontaneous tears by a tiny little painting. It was many hundreds of years old. I did not expect to be moved by any piece especially. I just rounded a corner and there it was. The thing just laid me out.

I don’t expect to be moved by the decorative arts. Much. You know, wallpaper and chair legs.¬†Any work of formal art that does not move me is on that level. It’s a chair leg. And I’m not talking about a hand carved Louis XIV chair. No, I’m talking about an Ikea chair. Flatline. The day Ikea pretends to be Louis XIV is the day I become hostile toward chair legs. Hostile. Why? Because they should know better. They should have had many Rijksmuseum experiences and have a clue that the heart monitors will not rise above zero when people look at their works.

Oh, Louis, Louis…

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