'Congratulations On Your Recent Death!'

A list of lists from our Heard Mentality blog's culture coverage

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ONE THING I LEARNED FROM READING DAVE BARTON’S ART WHORE POSTS
• Dave is a good interviewer. And a good interview. You read Dave’s fluid art reviews twice a month on these pages, but he writes about Orange County’s art world more frequently via his series Art Whore. In September, he interviewed himself for reasons I still don’t understand, but it was a rare opportunity to see a critic explain himself without a censor. Now, a bit of Dave taking on Dave:

How do you tell good art from bad?

I know something’s special when it makes me look at the world differently or shows me something in plain sight that I never noticed. When that happens, there’s a physical moment, almost sexual,  where I can feel my heart beat faster, my eyes widen and my mind clear a bit. . . . My tastes lean toward the political and the button-pushing, so I like difficult work that’s the equivalent of impolite talk at the dinner table, but I also get completely lost (and even a tad teary-eyed) in the presence of beauty.

Define beauty.

Recent examples: Greg Louganis diving. The poetry of W.H. Auden. Geek goddess Olivia Munn. Basically anything that artist Elizabeth McGrath touches. The French film Give Me Your Hand. Phyllis Nagy’s play Disappeared. Post-mortem photography. Christopher Hitchens’ voice reading his book Hitch-22: A Memoir.

garellano@ocweekly.com

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