Editor’s Note: Skype rings, I answer. It’s Doug, calling from Punta del Este.
Louis: Doug, how are you? And how were the holidays? Was Punta hopping?
Doug: Actually, yes. Especially Christmas. I went to Christmas dinner at the house of a Jewish friend down here. At midnight, even though dessert hadn’t been served, we went out to his backyard, where he set off a professional quality fireworks display—skyrockets, explosives, the same stuff you see at stadiums in the United States. Then one of his next door neighbors started, then another, then another. Everyone was in competition for the best display.
L: What? In their backyards?
D: I love the smell of gunpowder on Christmas; it’s the smell of a free country. I like a place where everyone is expected to have stuff that they’d call in a SWAT team for in the United States. But that’s just some local color; everybody from Buenos Aires comes over to go to the beach this time of year. But, actually, I called to talk about art. Partly because Punta has scores of art galleries.
L: Well, last week I said we should talk about something more positive, but why art?
D: Perhaps because art is one of the most positive things about life itself. It’s really about aesthetics, a very important part of human existence. We talk a lot about philosophy here, and that’s important. Aesthetics is actually a division of philosophy, and art can make philosophy . . . concrete. If one picture is worth ...