Friday, January 16, 2009
Two of my favorite popular artists died today, John Mortimer and Andrew Wyeth. Mortimer was the creator of one of those indestructible characters who survive their own begettors and the books they were put in--like Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes and Superman. But he was more than that. He was a lawyer who stood for the best thing--law as a bulwark for the protection of civil liberties, a personal rebuttal to the lawyer joke. And one admires Wyeth for the same reasons one admired Frost: he wanted to go his own way and stand against the tide of the prevailing aesthetic and produce what he thought was great art. From my perspective--that of someone whose aesthetic in painting is congruent with Tom Wolfe's The Painted Word--he succeeded.