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Art [Objects]
by Jeannette Winterson

To:                ALL                   Date:    09/11
From:   KGXC73A    GAIL SINGER GROSS     Time:    10:03 PM

ART [OBJECTS]  greetings..essays on ecstasy and effrontery  
by jeanette winterson...  i have waited two months to       
receive this book from the library...and if you have to wait
two months or longer...i truly feel it is worth the wait!   
 i'd like to post the CONTENTS.                             
  part one...ART OBJECTS                                    
  part two...TRANSFORMATION..writer, reader, words          
                testimony against gertrude stein            
             a gift of ref. to ORLANDO            
             a veil of words..with ref. to THE WAVES        
  part three...ECSTASY AND ENERGY                           
        the semiotics of sex                                
        the psychometry of books                            
       imagination and reality                              
       art and life                                         
       a work of my own...                                  
"it is impossible to legislate taste, and if it were        
possible, it would be repugnant..there are no commandments  
in art and no easy axioms for art appreciation..'do i like  
this? is the question anyone should ask themselves at the   
moment of confrontation with the picture..but if 'yes', why 
'yes'? and if no why no? ..sample of art objects...         
    "art takes spend an hour looking at a painting
is difficult..the public gallery experience is one that     
encourages art at a trot..there are paintings, the          
marvellous speaking works, definite,independent, each with a
Self it would be impossible to ignore, if..if.., it were    
possible to see it.  i do not only mean the crowds and the  
guards and the low lights and the ropes, which me think of  
freak shows, i mean the thick curtain of irrelevancies that 
screens the painting from the viewer...increasingly,        
galleries have a habit of saying when they acquired a       
painting and how much it cost...                            
     "rareness is all..or is it?  not to the romantic collet
tor who has fallen in love...not to don juan who always     
finds a beauty on the shelf...if you love books as objects, 
as totems, as talismans, as doorways as genji bottles, as   
godsends, as living things, then you love them widely..this 
binding, that paper......strange company women,
the most exciting have a lively of my favourites 
in my own harem is a copy of THE ONE WHO IS
natalie barney AND given by her with a fond inscription to  
her lover, the painter ROMAINE BROOKS..                     
  this book is a treasure...i will be purchasing it..another
book to be added to my christmas list..                     
   i must share this..a wee bit..  SHOULD PEOPLE BE TREATED 
AS FICTIONS?                                                
jeanette winterson is an excellent writer...some of you     
probably have been introduced to her ORANGES ARE NOT THE    
BODY and ARTS and LIES..                                    
very passionate ESSAYS...thoughtprovoking and highly        
gail..hp.. a passionate reader ..                           

===============   Reply    1 of Note   38 =================

To: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Date: 09/11 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 11:08 PM Hi Gail. I've read a lot of JW's books. I think she is a fine writer and a real thinker. She is quite the iconoclast, so I have avoided discussing her here. Glad to read that you enjoy her as well. Theresa - who thinks Prodidy is going mad. Kept bumping me off this subject - with "no notes available" although, when I'd re-enter, I'd be able to read the next few notes, which obviously were available. So what gives? =============== Reply 2 of Note 38 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/12 From: KGXC73A GAIL SINGER GROSS Time: 8:53 AM greetings THERESA... this book is quite different from her others...infact my 'BOOKIE' friend recommended it because we were discussing ART....and i remarked that MODERN ART leaves me cold...she immediately suggested this book... A REAL TREASURE... gail..hp..a passionate reader in the wee small hours of the morning...soon to pick up our CBJ at the airport and then a trial run to GOLDEN GATE PARK..where he is being interviewed early tomorrow morning...what a THE ARBORETUM... =============== Reply 3 of Note 38 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/12 From: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Time: 8:55 AM Theresa, That bumping off phenomenon happens a lot to me, too. One way I sometimes seem to get around it, is to proceed through the notes by typing in the next number in the little box at the top, instead of going to "next note". I don't know if that will work with you though. Cybermysteries. And, gail, this book sounds wonderful. Thanks for excepting bits for us. I like the idea of calling your cpllection of books a "harem". Sherry in Milwaukee =============== Reply 4 of Note 38 =================  
To: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Date: 09/13 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 10:27 AM ART OBJECTS, by Jeannette Winterson *** Dear CRs: I'm situated happily in the wonderful land of gail for a few days and have fallen in love with this small book she just retrieved from the library. Beautiful, clear, vigorous writing that bears a great deal on what we discuss here, I think, especially how matters of personal taste relate to the appreciation of art. (The second word of the title is a verb as well as a noun, Winterson says. And the subtitle is "Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery.") A small excerpt: *** "I don't understand this poem." "I never listen to classical music." "I don't like this picture." Common enough statements, but not ones that tell us anything about books, paintings, or music. They are statements that tell us something about the speaker. That should be obvious, but in fact, such statements are offered as criticisms of art, as evidence against, not least because the ignorant, the lazy, or the plain confused are not likely to want to admit themselves as such. We hear a lot about the arrogance of the artist but nothing about the arrogance of the audience. The audience, who have not done the work, who have not taken any risks, whose life and livelihood are not bound up at every moment with what they are making, who have given no thought to the medium or the method, will glance up, flick through, chatter over the opening chords, then snap their fingers and walk away like some monstrous Roman tyrant. This is not arrogance; of course they can absorb in a few moments, and without any effort, the sum of the artist and the art. When you say "This work has nothing to do with me," or "This work is boring/pointless/silly/obscure/elitist etc.," you might be right, because you are looking at a fad, or you may be wrong because the work falls so outside the safety of your own experience that in order to keep your own world intact, you must deny the other world of the painting. This denial of imaginative experience happens at a depper level than our affirmation of our daily world. Every day, in countless ways, you and I convince ourselves about ourselves. True art, when it happens to us, challenges the "I" that we are... Art cannot be tamed, although our responses to it can be, and in relation to The Canon our responses are conditioned from the moment we start school. The freshness which the everyday man or woman pride themselves upon; the untaught "I know what I like" approach, now encouraged by the media, is neither fresh nor untaught. It is the half-baked sterility of the classroom washed down with liberal doses of popular culture. The media ransacks the arts, in its images, in its advertisements, in its copy, in its jingles, in its little tunes and journalist's jargon, it continually offers up faint shadows of the form and invention of real music, real paintings, real words. All of us are subject to this bombardment, which both deadens our sensibilities and makes us fear what is not instant, approachable, consumable. The solid presence of art demands from us significant effort, an effort anathema to popular culture. Effort of time, effort of money, effort of study, effort of humility, effort of imagination have each been packed by the artist into the art. Is it so unreasonable to expect a percentage of that from us in return? *** Highly recommended, folks. Hundreds of quotable and stealable lines, which I'm already in the process of appropriating... >>Dale on the bay =============== Reply 5 of Note 38 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/13 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 12:39 PM Hi Dale-on-the-bay and gail-on-the-bay, This books sounds really interesting. I hope the library has it. I shall try tomorrow morning. Dale, I hope the fog cleared up and you had a lovely, sunny interview. I wish I was with you, especially when you meet with Carole. Ruth =============== Reply 6 of Note 38 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/13 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 3:04 PM Ruth: Good to hear from you. More than once, while reading ART OBJECTS, I'm reminded of the wonderfully painless education on matters of visual arts you provide on CR, Cathy's great contributions on opera, history, etc., and other CRs' specific fields of interest they bring alive for us on the BB. I'm glad I'm here to partake. Winterson's book, likewise, has a clear-eyed, disarming sense of passion that I'm really drawn to. I look forward to talking about it with you and others... >>Dale in S.F., where the fog has "burned off" for now, and running these hills is a trip, literally and figuratively... =============== Reply 7 of Note 38 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/13 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 7:48 PM Dale, So.........tell us about the interview! Ruth, who lived in San Francisco 1957-58 =============== Reply 8 of Note 38 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/13 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 10:51 PM This sounds great. I've only read her fiction, which I also liked (that last is a statement about myself, folks). Winterston's novels are not your ordinary tales, anyway. It's so strange to read what one firmly believes has been sitting in one's mind, unvocalized, in words so much better than any one could have come up with, anyway. So, what I want to know is, how does she believe one should approach art which is so far outside one's experience one cannot fathom it (I am thinking here of my experience with Wallace Stevens, which has been rather demoralizing). Theresa =============== Reply 9 of Note 38 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/14 From: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Time: 6:29 PM Hi, Theresa: I just finished Winterson's ART OBJECTS, and I don't think she offers much specific advice on how to approach difficult art, visual or literary or otherwise. Patience and persistence seem to be the key, and I think she's saying--implicitly, at least--that every good reader isn't going to hit paydirt with every good writer, but that the openness is what's crucial. I'm probably making her sound more vague than she is, and ART OBJECTS is anything but. I'd like to hear your thoughts on it; it's not a fast read but a fairly short one: under 200 pages, and broken into short topical segments which are more than the sum of etc. (PS:I love your line about the rush, while reading, of coming across something that "was sitting in your mind, unvocalized"; I know the of the most sublime pleasures of books, to me...) =============== Reply 10 of Note 38 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/15 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 0:38 AM yes, Dale and Theresa, there's nothing like being stopped in your tracks and realizing "I knew that, but I didn't know I knew it." What a thrill. Ruth =============== Reply 11 of Note 38 =================  
To: MXDD10A DALE SHORT Date: 09/15 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 3:46 AM I was thinking that a debate between Winterson and our pal the canonizer Harold Bloom might be interesting, but then I decided they probably wouldn't have much to say to one another. It could still be an interesting encounter. Bloom would look down his learned, yet slightly pompous nose. Winterson would act the tuff girl. They'd talk past each other's faces. (For all I know, these two are best of friends and do lunch regularly). Theresa - who does enjoy finding "my thoughts, vocalized" but it can also be a little annoying. Here I am, thinking I was thinking my very own thoughts, when apparently someone entirely unknown to me was thinking the same thought. Plagiarized thoughts. =============== Reply 12 of Note 38 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/15 From: ERFN90B ELLEN JOHNSON Time: 1:38 PM Theresa, Dale and all: Since we are on the subject of the iconoclast, I was wondering if you have read Camille Paglia? I've read Winterson's ART AND LIES and loved it. Although she proposes new ways of looking at things, she doesn't have that 'bad girl' essayist reputation like Paglia does. I've seen Paglia speak several times at my university and am amazing by the volitile responses of the audiences. Yet, I rarely meet anyone whohas actually read her. She seems to inspire venomous attacts from both conservatives and feminists alike, strictly from her style of presentation. Therefore, she too could be an art form that we reject simply because we are uncomfortable with what she is saying--or how she is saying it. Paglia's SEXUAL PERSONNAE was fascinating to me, especially the chapters on Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson. Can't wait to pick up ART OBJECTS. Thanks for the reco gail. Ellen =============== Reply 13 of Note 38 =================  
To: ERFN90B ELLEN JOHNSON Date: 09/15 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 3:14 PM You're right, Ellen, Paglia certainly seems to attract the flack. I think it's intentional, altho I could be wrong of course. I've never read her work, although I've read ABOUT it. I've seen her interviewed on TV several times and I have to admit she irritated the hell out of me. But then, that's a gadfly's mission, I guess. Ruth =============== Reply 14 of Note 38 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/15 From: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Time: 3:28 PM Ruth and Ellen, I get a kick out of Paglia (but must admit I haven't read any of her work either. I looked over something of hers whilst standing in the bookstore and suddenly remembered a previous engagement. It looked pretty tedious), the times I've seen her interviewed or participating in panels. I agree she's taken on the role of gadfly -- so I guess one's response may depend in part on how one feels about gadflies... Lynn =============== Reply 15 of Note 38 =================  
To: FNMN56E LYNN EVANS Date: 09/15 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 7:08 PM Lynn, generally I LOVE gadflies. Especially if I loathe the fly they're gadding. In Paglia's case I haven't been able to figure out exactly what she's gadding about, unless it's her own self-promotion. There was just something about her manner that set my molars on a piece of sandpaper.... Ruth =============== Reply 16 of Note 38 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 09/19 From: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Time: 1:36 AM Theresa, Please remember that the reason Wallace Stevens is confusing is because he is trying to be confusing. It has nothing to do with the intellect of the reader. (Or at least that's what I always tell myself ). --Jim in Oregon =============== Reply 17 of Note 38 =================  
To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 09/19 From: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Time: 1:36 AM Ruth, Ellen talked me into reading Paglia last year when I was following CC. I still haven't recovered from the vision of Emily Dickinson as a sadistic lesbian. I couldn't help but feel CP was stretching the facts a little. I also have to say that CP got a little tedious after a while, but that may reflect on me not her, as Ms. Winterson would say. --Jim in Oregon =============== Reply 18 of Note 38 =================  
To: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Date: 09/20 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 3:00 AM Thank you Jim and all. I think what I needed was a mass dis Stevens session. But I also think that part of the reason I don't usually enjoy poetry is that I am such a lazy reader. I'd rather immerse myself in a book than pick my way through a poem. Which is one of the reasons I picked on Stevens as a lesson for myself - start with something really difficult, so I could learn how to read poetry properly. Ha! I may as well just wait for the poetry mavens here to post the good ones for me, so I don't have to search 'em out. Theresa =============== Reply 19 of Note 38 =================  
To: NMTT86A JAMES HEATH Date: 09/20 From: ERFN90B ELLEN JOHNSON Time: 8:38 PM Hi All: re: Paglia...I always enjoy reading works of those who push the envelope, and CP generally does this to the max. (I believe that she is no longer allowed in England!) Instead of convincing me that (i.e.) Dickinson is the female Marquis de Sade, I generally try to find evidence to refute what the radical is saying. If I succeed then all is well. If I don't, then I've learned something and am happy for the opportunity to see a work in a new light--or see how someone else's reality may respond to such and such an artist, poem etc. If anything, Paglia is entertaining. Come on Jim, next time you see The Belle of Amherst aren't you going to pay at least a teensie-weensie bit more attention to that body of work? Ellen +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ To: VMMN97A FELIX MILLER Date: 03/25 From: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Time: 10:02 PM Once again, I refer y'all to Jeanette Winterson. She has much to say on this subject (see especially the essay, "Writer, Reader, Words" in "Art [Objects]." She is pretty audacious, and occasionally one will want to ask her to put a lid on it, please, but it is so refreshing to read something scholarly, that is also written with passion. Anyway, here is but a little of what she has to say on this subject: "Comparative to the population, art always has been practised by a few and seriously appreciated by a few, usually the ones paying for it, commissioning it, supporting it. . . . [discusses passage of power from aristocracy to plutocracy] I am not suggesting that the old system of patronage by Church or Peer was a perfect system . . . but faced with big business and the average buyer all the arts find that they are being asked to explain themselves in a way that is anathema to their own processes. To support the arts honestly you must either be serious or disinterested. If you are serious you will tolerate and even encourage the necessary experiments and innovations (and failures) that keep art alive. If you are disinterested, recognising that the arts are important even if they move you very little, you will pay the money and leave others to be the judge of your munificence. Roughly speaking, that is how patronage worked until the Industrial Revolution. [discussion of big business as art patron] [discussion of problems faced by serious writers with a reading public looking for books to provide entertainment equivalent to TV] [The artist] can only offer what she has ever offered; an exceptional sensibility combined with an exceptional control over words. How many people want that? Proportionally as few as ever but art is not for the few, it is for many, and I include those who would never pick up a serious fiction or poem and who are uninterested in writing. I believe that art puts down its roots into the deepest hiding place of our nature . . .If we want a living language, a langugage capable of expressing all that it is called upon to express in a vastly changing ["vastly" Jeanette - poor word choice] world, then we need men and women whose whole self is bound up in that work with words. . . . That kind of work will never be popular, that is, it will not please most of the people most of the time. This need not matter, provided that there are a sufficient number of people concerned enough for serious work to keep the writer read and fed." Really, I cannot recommend this book enough. Even where I disagree with Winterson, or think she has lost control of what she is trying to say, she is thought-provoking and very, very honest. And not at all pretentious. And she has a wonderful writing style, but occasionally rather strange choices of words or phrasing (maybe because she is British - though I've certainly been exposed to enough Brit writers that they shouldn't seem strange to me). Also, my slam against gov funding of arts re Ondaatje's biographer was tongue in cheek. I think there is a difference between funding producers, maybe, and cheerleading, as in this gov funded biography (probably a response to the Booker). Theresa =============== Reply 7 of Note 66 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 03/25 From: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Time: 10:53 PM Good note Theresa. I enjoyed the Winterson quotes a great deal. I can see it's a book I definitely should read, although the library here does not have a copy. I've been laying low here, because I've argued the cause for public funding of the arts, so often and so long, I'm about argued out. But I'm paying attention folks. Ruth =============== Reply 8 of Note 66 =================  
To: NDKB53A THERESA SIMPSON Date: 03/26 From: ZRPD32A RICHARD HAGGART Time: 10:43 AM Theresa: "To support the arts honestly, you must either be serious or distinterested" Winterson says. I think that's probably true and that it encapsulates the government funding problem in the United States; a democractic government can be neither serious nor disinterested about art, to the extent that government is really representative of its citizenry. Hence, it seems to follow that a 'serious' program of support for the arts in the U.S. would have to be fundamentally 'undemocratic' in order to succeed. While no one is a greater fan of undemocratic solutions to problems than me, I don't hold out much hope in an age where the television cameras seek out the lurid and sensational like hounds on the hunt ("Look! That government-funded artist put a pee-pee on the Baby Jesus! Run and tell Geraldo!"). The good news is that art has survived ice-ages, barbarian invasions, the Medicis, the Vatican, the Victorians and even Stalin; a semi-literate mob driving pick-ups can't be any worse, although I think we can all be greatful that more of them don't vote. Dick in Alaska where winter and spring have settled into trench warfare with each other

Jeannette Winterson
Jeannette Winterson

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