Spent the morning at the Gallery seeing the ‘Renoir to Picasso’ exhibition from L’Orangerie in Paris. Bit of a crowd and while we shuffling along in the line I was looking at the Asian art, which I don’t really understand, and thinking, is that because it’s not part of ‘Western’ culture? In a week of cultural conflict with all this talk about defending civilization and barbarism etc. there’s these beautiful Chinese bowls that I don’t understand, but are beautiful, and we’re all shuffling past to see the things we (kinda) do; the paintings from Monet, Cezanne, Renoir, Picasso, which are our cultural heritage in some way.
And they were beautiful too, some of them, the warm colours of the strawberries and the still life, the strange innocent floating cutout tin ship, a bizarre wedding scene, two minstrels without strings in their instruments. I suppose I was most impressed with the Rousseau in it all, but it was an odd feeling as well this week of all weeks, thinking: is this the treasure of our culture and could I ever feel the same way about the Chinese bowls? Or learn to understand them?