Wednesday, November 27, 2013

"Pirates And Farmers" by Dave Hickey

Ridinghouse distributed by Ram ISBN 97801-905464-72-2
For many art is a messy and dangerous landscape to travel on, but with Dave Hickey as your driver or guide, it can be a total joy.   "Pirates and Farmers" is a collection of essays about aesthetics and how one perceives a work of art when it is in front of your eyes, ears, and brain.  The beauty of Hickey's essays is that he places himself as the narrator (of course) so he's very much a character in his own stories.  But every essay here is about confronting one's taste and how you develop that taste into a fine tool of expression or appreciation.  

He writes about his home (or it was his home)  Las Vegas in a very compelling light.  There is nothing ironic about his taste for that town.  He loves the bars, the gambling, the architecture, the weather, and everything else except for the traffic.  He even likes the airport there.   He doesn't even know why anyone needs to defend or condemn the place.  Las Vegas is it, and that is pretty much how he looks at art as well.  

What surprises me as a bookseller one time,  that he never went to a bigger press for his collection of essays.  Which is wonderful, because one small presses rule, and two, his books are nicely designed, including this one.   So the book itself is an object of beauty or aesthetic to the very core of one's thoughts on that subject matter.  Hickey is an interesting guy who writes about and thinks about 'taste.'   He's probably one of the great (and popular) thinkers regarding the fine art planet.  This book may not be the easiest to fine, but worth the journey to find it.  Distributed by Ram, if your favorite store doesn't have it, they can order it through that distributor.  But do get it. 

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