cornell.paul-virginia.jpgI just finished reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I read this back when I was in college and I thought it was a book that warranted a revisit in my adulthood. I still feel that this book is more about madness than it is about any of the topics that you will find discussed in reviews on Amazon or Wikipedia. This brings me to a recurring theme of this blogorrhea… today we went to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem to see the newly opened interactive Origami exhibit. The interactive part was very nice and exactly as you would expect but the pieces on display were amazing. My favorites were “Attack of the Kraken” and “Hyperbolic Cube”. These works, both done from a single large sheet of paper, show a type of dedication to the art that I think must arise from a certain type of insanity. Further explorations in the museum took us to the other current special exhibition, Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination. I had not heard of Joseph Cornell prior to this but after seeing this work I am now going to investigate his life and work much more deeply. If you do nothing else, go to the interactive site at the museum’s website and just spend some time there…you will not regret it….and if you like that, then you must go see the exhibition.  From the website: “Joseph Cornell is one of America’s most innovative modern artists, known for his distinctive box sculptures, collages and experimental films that continue to influence many artists, writers, poets, filmmakers and designers.”. Again, to me, this work shows some definite signs of madness. From Thoreau, via Wikipedia: “ Many, no doubt, are well disposed, but sluggish by constitution and by habit, and they cannot conceive of a man who is actuated by higher motives than they are, accordingly they pronounce this man insane, for they know that they could never act as he does, as long as they are themselves.”

One Response to insane

  1. Doug Orleans says:

    I read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance about 5 or 6 years ago. I really felt like it was a hoax of sorts, or at least that it was fiction meant to sound like fact, with an unreliable narrator and some elements of satire. I couldn’t find much of any biographical information about the author, so I figured the epilog about his son’s stabbing was an intentionally shocking fabricated conclusion. But the Wikipedia articles state it as fact, so it must be so! It’s interesting to see it compared to Moby Dick, which I also like to think of as mostly satire. Some things are just too easy to make fun of, and it’s more satisfying to think that the author was in on the joke too. Morrissey is another in this category…

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