Art Hurts

Today on Crimespace, someone asked what sets a book apart: what makes it art? As usual in that forum, the conversation is terrific though this one is a somewhat subjective question from the get go. But it reminded me of something that happened several years ago.

The occasion was an interview, followed by a photography session. The subject was Tami Hoag and she said it reminded her of a photo session she’d done with a German photographer who, at the time, was quite well known.

“Stand first on one leg,” that other photographer had instructed. “Yes, yes, like so. And hold it up -- just like that -- until it hurts.”

“Until it hurts?” she asked, not quite believing her ears.

“Yes, yes,” he replied, impatient now. “Without pain, there can be no art.”

So, OK then. That answers the question, does it not? Or at least deepens it. When does a book become art? When there is pain; when it hurts.


John McFetridge said…
Yeah, but does self-inflicted pain count?


Oh, and we have yogurt tubes in my house, no spoons at all ;)

I'm really looking forward to Death was in the Picture.
Thanks, John! (Sorry to hear about the spoons thing, though.)
Clea Simon said…
Well, I believe in art going for the heat, seeking out the hot spots. But pain? Have to mull that one over a bit.

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