Thursday, February 4, 2010

shock and surprise

“There is a subtle difference between shock and surprise. For many, the raw reverberations of continuous shock exhilarate, while the sweetness, bewilderment, or astonishment of surprise fails to satisfy. Over the past few decades, contemporary art has become increasingly extreme and often uses its power over our senses to lay claim to our minds. To be genuinely and pleasantly puzzled is becoming rare. Art that surprises is enigmatic. It beckons us to sharpen our focus and discover elements of beauty, intrigue, and complexity. It does not repel us, assault us, or stun our sensibilities. Instead, we delight in its wonder.”

Elizabeth Mandel, Intricate Enigma, Arts Editor online, Feature, 1/25/2010

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