Litkicks Message Board Archive

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Posted to Utterances




you have an artist who creates a body of work to be digested by the public. this is his/her body of work as he (i'll stop here with the pc stuff and just say "he") desires it to be. he has thrown away drafts that were no good; he has painted over portraits the he despised, whatever. point is, artists are inherently madmen to some degree. what they see as junk can be seen as treasure to his audience.

this artist also, of course, practices a lot. he also writes letters to friends, lovers, etc. these are things that the artist intentionally did not enter into his canon of work.

so: you have this body of work.

then, usually, the artist dies, and all these things are discovered. biographers discover that they abused their spouse. investigators discover "lost" paintings, which were really just paintings that the artist never liked and didn't want anyone to see. (max brod published lots of kafka's stuff after kafka died and told him to destroy everything)

so: what is more important? what is more valid? can the stuff that the artist never wanted to be seen be used to judge the deliberate body of work that he created? at what point do we stop honoring the artist's deliberate body of work and judge his creations on the balance of information that was discovered later? how would you want the public to see you and/or your body of work?