Wednesday Mar 05, 2003

But is it Art?

It was late afternoon.

I was living in Sausalito on a houseboat—three bedrooms, two baths, and three levels. My girlfriend, a saucy dish who looked like a brunette Marilyn Monroe, had met a doctor who was also an art collector and author.

The three of us were on our way to Stinson Beach, about twenty miles from San Francisco and on the west side of the Marin Peninsula. As the doctor drove us in his Mercedes, Mt. Tamalpais rose up reassuringly off in the distance.

After detouring a bit to the south toward Muir beach where the redwoods reign supreme, we stopped at the Pelican Inn, a cozy English B & B that served teas and other goodies. It was cold, and this was a good way to warm up.

We talked, had teas and cakes, and suddenly, night had fallen. Why not have dinner, the doctor suggested.

Talk eventually got around to art and his collection.

“With all the pieces I’ve acquired over the years,” he said, “I really don’t know what art is.”

My girlfriend eyed me. She knew I’d say something.

“I have one definition to begin with,” I said.

The doctor sipped more wine and then leaned forward.

“For it to be art, it must be unique,” I said.

My girlfriend nodded in agreement.

“After all these years,” said the doctor, “no one had ever told me that. Not one person.”

We discussed what unique meant, and we never did make it to Stinson beach. I did, however, find a patron.

My girlfriend cooed and I knew the evening was just beginning.»

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