Perfection is an act of persuasion. I never cared for Van Gough’s work until I saw one of his wheat fields on display. It was three dimensional, an experience, and I wondered why seeing a painting would totally change what I thought about art. Suddenly I was acutely aware of how different a painting looked from across the room and when I was standing three feet away. Is it an obsessive drive for control or a cathartic scream that we view as perfection? What ties the work to the patron?
I suspect it is safe to view the internal workings of an artist – who spend days and months and years on a single expression – without having ever known the person. Just the image of E=mc2 creates an aura of intelligence; it’s art. Wow! Einstein’s hair turned white figuring this out, and now it’s in Sherman’s coloring book. The artist, the meaning of the work, and the effort are invisible. It’s our comfort zone, but it has also changed the artist.
When I first heard the lyric, “they’ll drink up your blood like wine” in Bob Dylans, Memphis Blues, I thought he was talking about how drained he felt. He wanted to send a message, but everyone had their own interpretation. He could say anything, it didn’t have to make sense, and people would claim they heard a prophecy because they felt elated by the music. It was cultist.
The Theory of Relativity was a starting point that got people talking. That is perfection.