The Truth and (My Own) Development

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Posted by R. John Howe on December 19, 1998 at 07:19:40:

Dear folks -

There has probably been enough talk about PICS3 and 4 but I want to acknowledge how these two pieces function for me in the exercise I have recommended we undertake here.

I am going to tell the truth, a claim that often yields smiles if not outright snickers in rug circles. My claim here may be more plausible because this particular truth telling may reflect to my disadvantage in the eyes of holders of The Oops Thesis. And they are probably right. Here is my truth.

I agree that the border in PIC3 is crudely drawn and I think PIC3 would be more successful if this border was somewhat more consistent and regular. And I see the virtues that have been described to me repeatedly of the majestic piece in PIC4, especially the very great attention to detail in the rendering of the two-border. But faced with the choice of which piece I would want to own, I would currently pick PIC3 and I would do so in part because I am not only not quite offended by its perhaps carelessly drawn border, I actually like it a bit. No matter its source or intent I experience it as a kind of attractively playful rendering that I think I would enjoy looking at longer than at the very precise but for me also rather hard-edged elegance of PIC4.

This comparison functions (for me) to map the current state of my development as a collector in the sense that I not only like the piece in PIC3 better but I do so for the wrong reasons. It seems to me that one of the strengths of The Oops Thesis is that is suggests that we should be suspicious of our judgments whenever we begin to like a piece BECAUSE of its faults and that, I have to confess, is true of my current comparative evaluation of these two pieces. If you see me write somewhere that I have truly begun to enjoy the admitted virtues of the masterful piece in PIC4 and that I now like PIC3 in spite of the drawing of its border, you will know that I have "grown" a little.


R. John Howe

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