My niece, a floral designer, makes beautiful things beautiful anew through selection, arrangement, and display. A skill, an art, a calling, of a kind, to make herself and others happy. I admire her dedication to making an environment beautiful, no matter how prosaic and small or grand and large. She brings the natural to attention, making others attend to what she loves.
Hanging on my study wall, over and behind my left shoulder, a Jim Sudduth painting glows. Although many would call it crude or untutored, -- the product of an untrained painter or dabbler -- mud and housepaint, brush and finger marks and pencil create an addictive vibration of life and liveliness, wedding earth, hand and eye. Whoever dismisses the painting as "naive" does not appreciate artful creation.
At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity" brings together paintings and objects of fashionable daily life -- men's hats, women's corsets and bustles, designer dresses. In her New York Times review, Roberta Smith writes, "A result is an intense, almost hallucinatory swirl in which art and artifact continually change places, and a basic wisdom is demonstrated: any well-selected thing can illuminate any other."
I love the basic wisdom of well-selected things and the people wise enough to love them.