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“Art for the average spectator need not be shallow. Of course, he has no objection to the trite- but it is also true that he would accept true art if it were simple enough. I thoroughly agree that there must be an understanding between the artist and the people. In the best ages of art that has always been the case. Genius can probably run on ahead and seek out new ways. But the good artists who follow after genius- and I count myself among these- have to restore the lost connection once more. A pure studio art is unfruitful and frail, for anything that does not form living roots- why should it exist at all?”
-Kathe Kollwitz, 1916
I have been struggling five days now to write the first line of my paper on Kollwitz for my printmaking/history of print class. I admire her work and her approach to graphic art, but I’ve never written an art history paper before and I can’t begin to frame a cogent enquiry which can be completed in a day. Or two.
That’s the downfall of being a perfectionist. If I can’t do it well, I’m not going to begin. Which really is a rather silly way to live. (And explains why I’m such a lousy communicator- I don’t want to write email replies until I have the time to write a nice one. Which never happens).
Better to swallow my pride and write an analysis of Kollwitz’s work as an “average spectator” than to have a non-existent paper while I maintain the fragile illusion that I’m incapable of writing (and too poncy to write) dross.