Thursday, September 11, 2008

Maurice Sendak

There was an article about Maurice Sendak in The New York Times yesterday that made me very sad. The great artist is 80 years old, recently lost his longtime partner, had a triple-bypass that has left him weak, and is riddled with worries about whether he is in the final analysis a true artist or merely a great illustrator (his Norman Rockwell complex). The discussion of what makes something art is not one I usually like to engage in, but whatever the case, these are not the anxieties that a man at the end of his life should have to experience. Whatever Tony Kushner and others say to the contrary, he is concerned about his legacy and his potential failure, even lamenting that people aren’t impressed by a triple-bypass anymore, that it has to be a quadruple (that pithy line isn’t presented as a joke in the article, and I get the impression it’s not). Cheer up, Maury. A life spent in the arts is a noble thing, and Where the Wild Things Are (among others) is better than art because it is exactly what it is, and what it is is great!

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