Think of the most memorable piece of art you have ever encountered. The best way to do this, if you can, is to close your outer eyes and travel into your inner memory. Put yourself back into that moment. How do you feel? What draws you in to this piece, what rivets you? Move your eyes across the surface of the work. Does this art answer something for you? Does it open a path forward? Does it introduce a question or a series of impulses to act?
A wholesome (and at times wholesale) encounter with art has this effect on me. Not all art, and not all effects are the same on me. But to be sure, throughout my life art is a major food group, just like dairy and produce. Art sustains me. Art sustains me in many ways, as a maker, as a viewer, as a critic and as a student of history. For me, there is something so compelling about the way the human story has been recorded for millennia that I can never seem to get enough of it.
This all comes from a recent New York Times Magazine Letter from the Editor, in which @NYTMag Editor Hanya Yanagihara asks the question ‘What Should We Expect of Art?’ She writes, "And then there’s us, the audience. What is our role in the artist’s life? It’s to look, of course, and to do so closely, and with generosity. And sometimes it’s to champion..."