Monday, June 29, 2009

Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park

I've decided to allow myself to be menaced by a very small boy. Whereas for the past few months the background on my computer had been Mark Rothko's Red, Orange, Tan, and Purple ( I have just tonight decided to be held hostage by a small, armed, irate little boy by replacing the Rothko painting with Diane Arbus's Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park (

I dunno what to say about Arbus. She is highly regarded in mid-20th Century photography and in some ways its easy to understand why. From our general desire to romanticize artists who kill themselves (irony: the last time I posted anything was about David Foster Wallace's suicide) and also becasue there is a transparent gimicky-ness to her photographs.

On the other side, I can't say that this image is wholly without merit. I mean, it's cheesy. It's an arted up, "Hang in there, baby!" poster. But at the same time, while the mass of men may well lead lives of quiet desperation, I have always felt that the desperation ain't so quiet inside. It's nice to see that the filters of adulthood can't even remotely quiet the desperation of this young boy. I need a desperate, clawing child staring me down once in a while I guess.

I'll probably get bored with it much sooner than Rothko, though.