Some people aren't sure how the world looks around them until they check other faces to make sure everything’s ok. They dress, not to suit their own taste -- whatever that might be, but for other people’s sense of what’s cool this year, this month, this time of day. Some people, it turns out, seems to be most of us, and it isn’t hard to understand. We swim submerged in advertising which constantly promises to make each of us more acceptable to everyone else, and even though we know they lie, some part of us believes them. They know we'd all like to be liked, to belong, to go along with the crowd.
It’s in the purity of art where the dross of any tangible value burns away, and all that’s left is an impossible price for some sanctified master's offhand gesture, sustained and justified only because someone else, somewhere, would pay that much and more. If no such buyer is available, an anonymous phone call to the auction floor enters a bid for them as if they existed. The value of art, according to industry bluebooks, is an accumulation of prior approvals, the consensus of qualified authorities, and, at the top, artificial prices established in bogus auctions. Looking through the eyes of other people has its drawbacks.
For one thing, it’s very hard to see art that way. Actually seeing art requires looking through one’s own eyes, and as a fact that’s part of it, just in itself. Picasso said, “Art is a lie which helps you to see the truth”, and if you can actually see what the artist made, without reference to fame, or price, or what anyone else thinks, you have a chance of seeing everything else that way, too.