Alternative title: Lonely Teardrops
Two cats moved to tears by ash-based sculpture"Why are you loonies trying to instil artworks with the ability to make people weep?" This is a question we are often asked at Riddled Research Laboratory, for values of 'often' which include 'never'.
The short answer is that a reliable source of tears would provide useful insurance against triffids and alien invasions, both known for their vulnerability to salt water. Not to mention the food value for lacrymophagic moths.
Tear-based defeat of invading midget ninja
people who cry at paintings. Unfortunately no one single painting seems to be particularly lacrymergic, and the book is a series of N=1 anecdotes involving Rothko, Caravaggio, Bellini, Caspar David Friedrich and Greuze, noodling around for 270 pages without ever really coming to a point, or even making a joke about "Giving water to the Met, Stilgar".
Unaccountably, and also, it omits the best-known report:
Anyway, not easily daunted or deterred, we are looking into more reliable means of stimulating art-related glandular secretions through the acetylcholinergic pathways of the sympathetic system. Possibly involving pheromones or subliminal photic driving.
from the Art Museum after one or two episodes of involuntary deliquescence. This is a small price to pay for scientific progress, and offers Elkins a theme for his next book. Also it has deepened our appreciation of the wisdom of Snappy Sammy Smoot's advice.
---------------------------------------* A similarly conspicuous absence appears in another of Elkins' essays -- an in-depth inquiry into the artistic conventions of postage stamps.
Lot 49. Just coincidence?