Art Talk at the MoMA: 4 Vignettes

Four Vignettes

By Andrew Cyril Macdonald


In the following short pieces, I propose to investigate the realities at play in the experience of pictorial art.  Art Talk at the MoMA: 4 Vignettes treats of the play and formation that occurs between the presentation and defence of the art piece and the experience of the same on the part of the viewer.  It surveys the enormous vacuum that occurs between what is created, how it is shown, and how it is experienced by the viewer.  Difference and diversity roam largely.

While spectators enjoy viewing, the discourse on art can often serve as propaganda for the consumption of the piece. It can near always become political.  As a lecture about art wants to convince, the proper engagement of any piece, on the part of the viewer, is necessarily child-like in that it seeks to engage in play.  To this extent the curation of art is about the power struggle that occurs between the desire to form (and thereby control) and the necessity to steal away with and personally appropriate so as to properly, individualistically, engage (through play with).  After all, and every discourse aside, the true aim of what the artist creates is to strike upon the individual and stir up their own proper response, a response that is, properly, already there.

Art Talk at the MoMA: 4 Vignettes engages paragraph format so as to mirror the picture frame.  As art pieces seek to recount some story of lived experience in an act that is free and giving, it is the nature of the frame that serves as conundrum–the free act of creation is closed-in and trapped as is the subject of the painting itself.  Like the structure of paragraph form, the structure of framing shows implicitly the limitations that involve the act of showcasing (emphasis placed on the casing, of course).

I should lastly like to indicate that the submission most definitely draws inspiration from the Baudelaire’s Le Spleen de Paris for a sense of not only paragraph form but rhythm and subtle rhyme likewise.  Philosophically, the submission is intimately inspired by some of the precepts outlined in Jacques Derrida’s lesser-known La vérité en peinture (The Truth in Painting) which forces, amongst endless other things, consideration of what it means to be in a painting.  Both these texts inspire, as well, through their very French nature; as evidenced by more than just the use of the term ‘vignette.’


  1. Brush strokes against the fade trench-in the merry-weather of a dash. Such deep wisdom the elements pay for, inching-out in gestures that portion and make game of twists and turns winter pictured here beams with under colours crowding its blank of white.  Each their blades cutting bolder totems they fly on, the children aboard teach us the lesson—how to thrill of play landscape provides with.

  2. Tokens sway tenderness to stage investment in a form mundane. And so her story not worth the mention instils there like a myth in time—slow-weaved and forceful in the process as collusion spreads between fact its endurance and anger, its economy that bends.  The account outlasts then, once the truth of an event dies.  Now her life our fiction begins that those of us who witness might one day repeat it—and our own image append.

  3. Embodiment marks place objects stood still for, those calm invertebrates now framed, tricked into. What feelings we should have before them none do as art becomes obligation.  And yet mental copy reverberates as departure imposes so that devotion to the creator enfolds and interpretation pulls through—if barely scratching surface.

  4. Contrast pushes to where intent proposes and collects the sentiments distending to function in the mind as she, if left in charge, would have wanted:  that these should be for it alone, a solipsism to the last, had Berkeley showed it.  But a realm like this though, wet with emotion, we hesitate to enter as in it nothing ends up of a viewership too crude for what her gallery disposes.  We leave then—eyes opened the mind dissents from.