If you stand too far, you just see a mass of paint squared on the wall among more masses of paint, more abstract paintings in this gallery after all the other galleries at the museum, all the other centuries of other paintings representing whatever other artists thought worth representing—fruit, flowers, skulls, and machines; landscapes, cities, interiors, and battlefields and ruins; peasants and rustics set in genres and allegories; royalty, nobles, statesmen, and generals, their outer lives, epic scenes of their triumphs and defeats; the inner strain, the quiet joys, the vague room of unknown people; soft, fleshy nudes and hard-edged gilded saints; gods and demons and monsters and heroes of varying alignments, from around the world, from above and beyond and beneath it; and Christ, his followers, their trials and blood, his unscathed mother, sitting; and Socrates, also sitting, taking the drink, pointing the finger up; and Buddha, squatting, taking the break: the faces, the places, the objects of longing and despair; nature, the culture contained in perspective boxes or turned loose in stabs at infinity or flattened on the picture plane, space disrupted, perspective collapsed—as if the modern Americans ran out of things to paint.
The law of diminishing returns: An increase in some inputs relative to other fixed inputs will, in a given state of technology, cause total output to increase; but after a point the extra output resulting from the same additions of extra inputs is likely to become less and less. This falling off of extra returns is a consequence of the fact that the new “doses” of the varying resources have less and less of the fixed resources to work with.
Not that the faces, the places, the things of New York are different from those anywhere else, or even that there are more of them, because there’s a gestalt here where the whole is more than the sum of the parts, or greatly less, it is a gestalt of brightness, or darkness, of what can’t be seen because it is too bright or dark, what can’t be contained by walls or locks or revealed in lights or words yet is defined by not being lit or contained, what is measured by the scale of the edge of what razor wire or a switchblade or a spray of bullets cannot slice and spill on the pavement, what a mist cannot pervade, what a nightmare cannot conceive, what cannot be devoured or thrown up, what screaming cannot touch, what you won’t be prepared for when it hits you, you won’t even know what it is because what you see now is nothing—
Then again, we may need to consider what would happen if the world tosses the Code and lifts the lid itself, if this hasn’t happened already.
—Go, go, go!
The world is everything that is the case.
The world is not everything that is the case.
The world is everything that is not the case.
The world is not everything that is not the case . . . .
NO MORE NOT ELUCIDATING. NOT ELUCIDATING ISN’T GETTING US ANYWHERE. IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE WHO CAN ELUCIDATE SOMETHING HERE OR THERE AND KNOWS WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT?