(Liza Batkin’s article appeared in the New York Review of Books, 1/ 4.)

An apparently conservative woman, wearing a cardigan draped over a floral blouse, carefully sets a table, and then calls her children and husband to lunch in a gentle Southern accent. The scene looks familiar—the mother holding down the fort and the children bored by all the waiting and ritual—but this is not an ordinary family meal. In the neighboring living room, a live raven squawks in the company of a taxidermy bear and deer, and when the family comes to the table, the woman (played by Cate Blanchett) launches into an unconventional grace. “I am for an art,” she begins solemnly, “that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.” She goes on, scolding her sons for giggling when she declares that she is for art that is “abandoned with great contempt, like a piece of shit,” and that she is “for the art of pinching cockroaches.” The prayer ends with the final line of Claes Oldenburg’s 1961 manifesto “I Am for an Art,” from which the whole grace has been adapted. The mother, father, and two sons lower their heads and, instead of amen, utter the words: “square that becomes blobby.”

(Read more)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *