These past few days I've been very happy to have had the company of my great friend Thierry Bogliolo and we've visited many art museums, eaten plenty of good food, and laughed a lot.
Thinking now about art I'm still puzzled as to what contemporary art might be. The Harrier jet, by Fiona Banner, hung in 2010 in the Tate Britain, is striking, a bit frightening, disorientating, and definitely bold. And I could add other art installations to this one. And yet... walking through the Peabody Essex Museum and seeing, perhaps, an Eighteenth Century portrait I found myself in the presence of something else, something that moved my heart. There was a tenderness in such works, an awareness of human frailty. Poignancy, if you wish.
William Faulkner said that the only things worth writing about were the mysteries of the human heart. I don't know if he's right, today, but he was right then. Is art supposed to slap us around the face? If that is true then the Imperial War Museum will do that, and you will leave it feeling extremely sad. Or is it better to place an arm around our shoulders and ask us, "Take another look; this will move you to see what is positive in the world"?