Thursday, July 11, 2024

The genius


I haven't spent much time on the photography side of clerkmanifesto lately. Nor have there been any of my strange music videos, or AI video, or any other of my visual art bits. Indeed clerkmanifesto has been in its classic, old-school mode lately- just a bit of prose wandering around what I am thinking of, and an assortment of stories from my life at the library. But while in this space fancy pictures have gone on hiatus, at my library there are 70 elaborate framed photographs of mine on display, right in the beating heart of this busy library. 

And they are popular! 

For any hour I spend at the front desk I will see wide varieties of people wandering around and taking a good long time to look at them. Small groups and families avidly point out little details in the pictures to each other. And it is a regular occurrence to have someone come to the front desk strictly to exclaim over them and sing their praises. Sometimes it's to me, sometimes I just overhear it all.

It's a heady experience for an artist whose acclaim has scrupulously kept to the mild, hard-not-to-doubt-yourself side of things for 40 years.

As so often happens I am reminded of something from a romantic comedy. I feel like that undertaker in the greatest romantic comedy of all time, Moonstruck. It's near the start of the movie. Cher is doing the books for the local mortician in his back room. As the mortician leaves the viewing room he overhears two women talking about him and his great skill in doing the makeup of the corpse for the viewing they're attending. They call him a genius, and as he comes into the back where Cher is, he grabs a bagel, takes a bite, and proclaims "I am a genius!"

Cher comments on the cream cheese he just got on his tie.

People come up to the front desk and ask excitedly "Who made these pictures?"

"No one knows." I say. "But he is a genius!"

This hardly fazes them. "Well, they are such fun! Tell him that they are great!"

"Oh, he knows. He knows."

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