Artists like Mann are miraculously able to suppress genuine scruples and guilt. Otherwise, they would not be able to defy convention the way they do. Or concentrate. Good art requires a mind that operates continuously below please and thank-you, below obligations and errands. As Mann puts it: “in that ardent heart there must also be a splinter of ice.”This is helpful to me, in particular, because I’ve agreed to speak to a group of businesspeople about “The Role of the Poet in Society.” I wonder if I can make them understand the ardent heart with its splinter of ice….
The Ardent Heart
author and Professor of Art History at Barnard College, offers this insight in her review of photographer Sally Mann‘s Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs:Anne Higonnet,