- Tom Wolfe, "Up the fundamental aperture", in The Painted Word, 1975.
22 November 2009
Encouragement for Dioxin sniffers
"The conceptualists liked to propound the following question: suppose the greatest artist in the history of the world, impoverished and unknown at the time, had been sitting at a table in the old automat at Union square, cadging some free water and hoping to cop a leftover crust of toasted corn muffin or a few abandoned translucent chartreuse waxed beans or some other item of that amazing range of Yellow Food the Automat went in for - and suddenly he got the inspiration for the greatest work of art in the history of the world. Possessing not even so much as a pencil or a burnt match, he dipped his forefinger into the glass of water and began recording the greatest of all inspirations, this high point in the history of man as a sentient being, on a paper napkin, with New York tap water as his paint. In a matter of seconds, of course, the water had diffused through the paper and the grand design vanished, whereupon the greatest artist in the history of the world slumped to the table and died of a broken heart, and the manager came over, and he thought that here was nothing more than a dead wino with a wet napkin. Now, the question is: would that have been the greatest work of art in the history of the world or not? The Conceptualists would answer: of course, it was. "