11/13/2014 17:55

An Artist and His Works

It has been a general dictum of mine that "an artist should never comment on his own work". Or her work, I suppose, but my experience has been that male writers and painters are the ones sitting around discussing what the rest of us should have seen in their works.

The point of this dictum is that the art itself should be the best expression of the artist's thought. Discoursing afterward can only diminish the work, because the later discourse (by definition) is not the best effort of the artist. If the art fails to communicate the artist is bound to attempt another work, to make a new best effort to excel the previous work.

Well and good; I hold to that as a general dictum. But those of us who play the actual reality game learn that no generality can fully encompass every aspect of the game. There will be times to put the general dictum aside. So it is that my dictum about artists and their self-commentary must be amended slightly. I now say:

An artist should never comment on his own work unless he is Jorge Luis Borges. And then it is fine.