Funny But No Joke

Not all artists are noted for their humor, lightness, gaiety and wit. In all the years I knew Jeff Wall I only heard him crack one joke, but it was a pretty good one. I came late to the Bodega, where we used to drink, and he was with Rodney and a couple of other people having a great time making up their own epitaphs. Jeff’s was “His First Sculpture.” Of course, the secret of art is that one can die and keep on living. Furthermore, the death of the artist is what enables an artwork to become a “character.” As a critical concept this mechanism might resemble a certain philosophical position derived from Nietzsche, but as an experience not much. More like the birth of the author from the materials of art.


Thomas Schütte, Grave 1981

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