In my last issue I asked if art must be relevant and concluded that it need not be so. This was a long time ago, so you probably forgot all about it. It so happens that the next book on my reading list is Jed Perl’s ‘Authority and freedom: a defence of the arts,’ which happens to deal with this topic. I go into it still firmly believing that art of any form owes us nothing remotely close to relevance. Art is art.
Thich Nhat Hahn passed away recently, so this week’s quote is one of my favourite lines from him. He has earned great — and deserved — praise from many, but what Martin Luther King Jr. said when he nominated the monk for the Nobel prize sums things up nicely: ‘I do not personally know of anyone more worthy than this gentle monk from Vietnam … His ideas for peace, if applied, would build a monument to ecumenism, to world brotherhood, to humanity.’