Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I Am Norman Rockwell :: Art Theory Essays

I Am Norman Rockwell Two weeks ago my family and I walked the three miles from Michigan Avenue in Chicago up to the Historical Society to see the Norman Rockwell show. I've been thinking about it ever since: Although the week before had been unseasonably warm and the trees budding, this day was in the 20's and a cold wind was blowing straight from the north, the direction we were walking. My family walked north through the cleaned up Rush street where my wife had secretly gone during high school looking for a safe kind of danger. There were ghosts of buildings no longer there: Gino's Pizza, the Jazz Showcase, and more. Just down Wabash my father, more than 20 years ago had taken me to Jim Diamond's steakhouse and bought me my first glass of wine, lying about my age. It's gone too, like my father. I was overcome with the tyranny of signs, in particular, Peirce's triadic model of representamen, object, and interpretant. Seamus Heaney writes about the ghost of a tree cut down when he was a boy, and says that this space has come to represent his umphalous, his world center. The empty or replaced buildings were ghosts mostly not of the dead but of the living, of the living who had moved on and changed. But the signs, the private set of signs my wife and I knew were there. I used to think that Peirce was talking about the physical presence of a representamen, a stop sign in the most used example, or a stone wall, or a river. I know now that when Chandler in his explanation of Peirce says cryptically a representamen is the form the sign takes and is not necessarily material. What does this have to do with

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