Monday, September 04, 2006

Inspiration in New York

The Boyf and I did a couple of fun things together this weekend. Friday evening, we ate at Lil' Frankie's, a small, hip Italian place in the East Village that has fantastic food. I had pasta with a veal ragu, and the Boyf and I split an appetizer of mussels and a bottle of Barbera d'Asti wine (um, not counting the two glasses each we downed at the bar beforehand, but no matter). Everything was perfect except our a-hole hipster waiter who treated us like street urchins after he seated us next to an open door on a cold, rainy night and I had the gall to ask to be moved. Seriously. What was I thinking? My nerve.

We also went to the Whitney Museum this past Sunday to see the Edward Hopper exhibit, and afterward we talked about "inspiration" as a concept.

Now, I like art. I like museums, and I appreciate seeing the real thing as opposed to a picture in a textbook. Sometimes, after I see an artist's work, I get the vague impetus to create. But inspiration? At twentysomething years of age, with a 401(k), bills, a semi-hellish work schedule, and rent to pay, the term "inspiration" seems a little juvenile.

At this point, am I -- or are any of my peers who have spent their lives working and playing by the rules -- going to create something of value out of nowhere? Am I going to wake up one day and write the Great American Novel after having written nothing but this blog and occasional hack copy for the past four...eight...years?

The guys and gals we see in the museums -- Hopper, Munch, Sherman, O'Keeffe -- these people were living art daily even if they had to go commercial in the beginning to pay the bills. Does that spirit exist anymore in a world where simply existing/driving to work/paying rent anywhere in the U.S. (but especially in New York) is more expensive than ever before?

I'll tell you something: I wish it did. I wish it existed in the everyday, like it did when we were children and everything seemed as though it would make a really good crayon drawing. When we all thought we could be artists. Or writers.

Sometimes I think the city has made me cynical.

(The painting is "Office at Night" by Edward Hopper. It's at the Whitney now. It is my favorite one that I saw on Saturday.)


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