Stationary Figure

An art of simplicity.

four rock formation

It takes not only humility, but vision and skill to deskill the presentation of a work. To see a great dancer’s performance of clumsy is very different than watching an ordinary pedestrian fumble around.

A sense of humor is also necessary, to appreciate the way a good laugh laughs harder against the shattering of a coming end.

Art is so easy to love when it showcases skill. A common litmus test: Can my kid do this? But most have little idea what their child may or may not do, because we only ever see a sliver of possibilities for becoming.

What are the skills no one is listing? Perhaps we need these now. Thanks to any artist that offers pause over the question of what a child’s hand might render, by separating creation from the tired showcase of established measurements of our worth.


Inspired by artist John Baldessari’s praise (as presented in an interview with The Met, as part of the museum’s Artist Project series) for Philip Guston’s Stationary Figure (1973). And by his invocation of the classic advice, “Don’t be a showoff.”

Author: Stacey C. Johnson

I keep watch and listen, mostly in dark places.

2 thoughts on “Stationary Figure”

  1. There is so much truth in this, Stacey. Beautifully worded.

    I’m sorry I’ve missed a few of your recent posts. I’ve had a couple of very stressful and challenging days (to say the least). I shared about them over the last couple of days, but hardly had time to catch up on any of the reading of my followed blogs. Hopefully, things will quieten down a bit over the next few days. I’ll be pleased to get back to normal – whatever normal is! I hope you are well, my friend Xx 🌞💕

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