Sunday, September 7, 2008

1-Leora: Where the Sidewalk Ends

This image is probably very familiar to all of you. It's from the cover of Shel Silverstein's poetry book, "Where the Sidewalk Ends." I chose this drawing because it represents one primary function of art: to evoke an emotional reaction in the viewer. Since I was a young kid, this image has always sent a shiver down my spine because it questions the (childish ?) assumption that our world is necessarily stable and secure. Although I didn't think too much about it at the time, I've realized that the reason this image is so unsettling (probably to children and adults alike) is that it represents a fairly universal fear of the unknown. Like this picture, art should be able to grab people's emotional attention and force them to grapple with uncomfortable ideas. While art does have other functions, it seems to me that all the "best" works of art accomplish this goal in some way.


brownfoundations said...

I wholeheartedly agree with your post, and I have to say this picture, as well as many of Shel Silverstein's images, evokes sometimes unsettling, questioning, or unconventional feelings in me. It is often endearing imagery for kids but also challenges them to think in different ways. This one is also a favorite of mine and I interpreted it in the same way: with some mystery, but also humor and humanity to balance it out. It is a strong piece of artwork for this reason of challenging the norm and emotionally catching one’s eye.

brownfoundations said...

I love the picture you have chosen. I have seen this image many times in my life and it still brings me back to the first time I saw it with my mother. I still remember how it set the tone for the entire book. It is funny how that one picture could sway me in such a way that I would almost never want to read the poems with my mom cause each one felt scary. I also like how you point out that the picture is unsettling most likely because of how it deals with the unknown.
-Tom Muldoon