I’ve spent too much time reading up on your work lately and wasted too much energy despising you.
In my mind, Suprematism — your early 20th-century Russian art movement — embodies an ethos that I’ve always struggled to comprehend. With your radical Black Square painting in 1913, you told artistic convention to fuck off and just painted a damn black square on a white canvas and called it an indisputable masterpiece. I envy confidence — that senseless degree of self-assurance and life purpose — because I don’t have it inherently and because I’m generally lost at all times. So here I sit without certainty, typing a column to a dead man that had tons of it, when I should be researching the internships and careers that will lead me on a path toward financial success and, ultimately, greater misery.
As someone interested in art and letters, though, I do pay special attention to any renowned creative mind to assess what made that mind important and measure mine up against it.
See, I actually created a performance art masterpiece last week. I was running late to my Art History section — running for the first time since taking a permanent vacation from health & wellness this summer to make smoking and eating terribly part of my daily regimen — and I found a canvas on the pavement of Tappan St. when I ceased my vigorous sprinting to throw up violently on the sidewalk in front of three beautiful women.
Eventually, I arrived late to the class that has nothing to do with my major, and by some sickening chance, found myself treated to a lecture on your art. Mouth acidic and struggling to catch a breath, I felt an unfathomable hatred surge through me when I saw your Black Square appear on the projector screen. When I heard the word, “Suprematism,” I almost threw up again and imagined that you must have been some demonic incarnation of conviction — a faceless, self-sustaining entity with the power to completely ignore any perceptions from the outside world.
In reality, though, you were just a painter, a supporter of the Russian Revolution. The Bolsheviks incorporated your Black Square as a symbol of freedom and modern truth, and today, your legacy is cemented in the pretentious drawls of art historians everywhere.
So what am I doing with my life then? Fittingly enough, I too find undue importance in squares — filtering, focusing, unfocusing Instagram posts and constantly refreshing my feed to see if anyone understands my genius — but I do plan on doing something bigger at some point. I’m far too timid and chemically imbalanced by nature, so what Suprematism could I possibly muster? All I know is that I love writing more than anything, and someday, I might clear this hazy, depressive mind, stop throwing up on sidewalks and start creating something great.
A Black Square