Today, I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which, it must be said, is quite expensive and staffed by some insanely rude and surly individuals). I walked briskly up the Rocky Stairs. I also saw interesting and confusing and awesome art objects but the best exhibit was a retrospective of the work of Arshile Gorky. Toward the end of the exhibit was a placard discussing the end of Gorky’s life which, as is the case for most artists, ended tragically. In one of this final interviews, Gorky stated, “”I don’t like that word finish. When something is finished, that means it’s dead, doesn’t it? I believe in everlastingness. I never finish a painting–I just stop working on it for a while.”
Gorky’s comment has had me thinking all afternoon about when a story or a poem or other creative work ends or is finished. How do you know? Do you, as Gorky does, believe in everlastingness and that to finish something is to kill it?