But one March morning four years ago, Elizabeth Gibson was on her way to get coffee, as usual, when she spotted a large and colorful abstract canvas nestled between two big garbage bags in front of the Alexandria, an apartment building on the northwest corner of Broadway and 72nd Street in Manhattan.
“I had a real debate with myself,” said Ms. Gibson, a writer and self-professed Dumpster diver. “I almost left it there because it was so big, and I kept thinking to myself, ‘Why are you taking this back to your crammed apartment?’”
But, she said, she felt she simply had to have the 38-by-51-inch painting, because “it had a strange power.”
I wondered why my blog traffic had suddenly spiked; evidently the New York Times ungenerously posted an inadequately tiny photo of the Stolen Masterpiece, and when a person Googles the name 'Tamayo,' looking for a bigger one, they get me. So I did a high-resolution scan of 'Tres Personajes' from the Tamayo anthology on my bookshelf, and here it is. We aim to please.
Over the last few days, I have been following a couple of debates about Quality in art--whether it is subjective, objective, or has any relation to morality whatsoever. Much has been said, which I shall not attempt to paraphrase or repeat. I will merely state that one aspect of Quality may include that nameless thing which causes a non-art-scenester to haul a large, odd, cumbersome object out of a trash pile and put it on her wall, because it has 'a strange power.' Not because it has a ream of text on the wall next to it, explaining the post-modern or political ramifications of its existence; not because a haughty individual with a gift of gab and many wealthy connections tells you it is Important; not because it enrages people, or cost a lot to produce, or critics wrote about it, or because hipsters are clustered in front of it, talking about themselves. Just for the energy in the object itself.