Aleph

Sunday, November 21, 2004

"The Swiss novelist and playwright Max Frisch tells the story of an ambassador's visit to the Hermitage in Leningrad: 'He wanted to see the art known to be hidden in the Hermitage and not shown to the public. Works of the old Russian avant-garde. The museum functionary -- a woman who is a connoisseur -- showed him this and that. His last wish: The Black Square of Malevich. Why that? Because it exists, said the ambassador, and it's here, in the Hermitage.... And the two of them stood, thrilled, before Malevich. Why don't you go and hang it right next to the paintings of soial realism in which the Soviet people recognize themselves at work for society, and people would see -- Malevich is baloney! The woman listened. Seriously, though, said the ambassador, you don't have to hide Malevich in the cellar; nobody would look at it. The woman laughed: You're wrong, she said. People wouldn't understand the point of a black square, but they would see that something else exists beside the society and the state.'" --Joyce Carol Oates

12:36 AM
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