Three Things

March 8th | Any Three Things


By Adam Lerner

1. Believing in Art.

It used to terrify me that sometimes months would pass without being able to feel anything in front of a work of art. Even after becoming the director of an art museum, I could stand in front of a work by a famous artist and experience nothing- not dislike, confusion, annoyance- just blankness. I would think: shit, what if art doesn’t work on me anymore? What if I’ve lost my ability to love? I’ve grown more accustomed now to art’s unreliability and I’m no longer scared of that blankness. I would even say watching art’s continuously changing effect on me is what interests me most about it.

2. The joke about the duck and the grapes.

If you know it, skip to my gloss on it below.

Duck walks into a bar, says to the bartender, “Got any grapes?” Bartender says, “No.” Duck walks out. Duck walks back into the bar, says to the bartender, “Got any grapes?” Bartender says, “No!” Duck walks out. Duck walks back into the bar, says to the bartender “Got any grapes?” Bartender shouts, “I told you, no! We don’t have any grapes! And if you ask me that one more time, I’m going to nail your bill to the bar!” Duck walks out. Ducks walks back into the bar, says to the bartender, “Got any nails?” Confounded, the bartender says, “No.” Duck says, “Got any grapes?”

Sure, normal people think the duck is weird or dumb but he persists and to be persistent with something that other people think is strange takes courage. But that’s what creating your own world is about. It’s about resetting the rules that define what is normal. Duck is my hero.

3. A phrase of poetry.

A phrase from a poetry reading I went to about twenty years ago often resurfaces in my mind. All I remember is: “…wanting to kiss affection on its two cheeks.” I love that. I want to kiss affection on its two cheeks.