Written by Art Is Essential

Art is Essential June 2021

Writers on the art that matters to them. #ArtIsEssential


Tim Cummings, Guest Editor

The transience and ruination of art, elucidated through Haring’s rebelliousness and interlinked figures; touching art, taking it, and eating it (it’s candy) to intentionally diminish it as a battle cry against HIV/AIDS—which also links back to Haring; but then another essay links back to the candy—a new installation by the same artist, González-Torres, about taking art away, keeping it, posting it on a bedroom wall. And it’s okay to do that.

Shift to the poetry of isolation, learned from that lovely ‘Nobody,’ Emily Dickinson, always alone, and lonely; next, relish in long, breathy sentences, sweaty and sticky, as respite from an anxious world and too many common sentences, all short and succinct; lastly, the most important question art can sometimes ask: can politics ever be an expression of love?  

These essays came down the pike at what is typically the hottest time of the year. I picture these writers in their writing spaces, little beads of sweat trickling down their foreheads, all of them inscribing diminishment, isolation, relish, and the politicizing of love. These six small pieces were themselves a kind of candy, sweet and hard and sticky. As evidenced here—but not only here—it’s astonishing to watch the heart talk about art in times of desperation and despair.

Tim Cummings holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles and a BFA in Acting from New York University/Tisch School of the Arts. Recent publications include works in F(r)iction, Scare Street, Lunch Ticket, Meow Meow Pow Pow, From Whispers to Roars, and Critical Read, for which he won the “Origins” essay contest and also received a Pushcart Prize nomination for “You Have Changed Me Forever.” A regular contributor at LA Review of Books (LARB), he writes features, reviews, and interviews. He runs online and in-person Writing Workshops, does Manuscript Consulting, and individual Writing Coaching. He is the recipient of three LA Drama Critics Circle Awards for his work on the stages of Los Angeles. Tim is represented by literary agent Charlie Olsen at InkWell Management. timcummings.ink for more.

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