Like so many of you, we were shocked today when we learned of the sudden passing of The Artist. For an entire generation, The Artist was a touchstone for so much — for some, his work brought to the surface feelings we could not quite articulate for ourselves; for others, an aesthetic; still others would draw inspiration for an entire way of life or looking at things.
But now, he is gone. And indeed, in the coming hours and days and weeks, and then less so, and then even less than that, we will take the death of The Artist and use it — his death, his too-early death, his exquisite celebrity death — to try to work through any number of other things. We will use his death to compare the conditions in which The Artist first made his art, first sparked to life, and we will find the present conditions unsatisfactory. We will contort our thoughts and the things we say to manage the indignity of the thing we want to know most: His cause of death. And once we have that, that too will be picked over, as if it held some kind of answer or warning or key or irony. Most of all, we will talk about his death at length on social media, careful to add a (hopefully not too self-aggrandizing) personal touch, a futile expression of grief that drops down the well online but is unlikely to make any real sound.
But in the end, we are consoled — and we are even still inspired and, yes, still excited — by The Art. Because The Art that The Artist made is louder than us. It can’t hear us. It can only keep giving to us. The Artist was not perfect but like all artists, what he did was at heart an act of pure generosity, an offer of connection with no limits.
This is what we will do. This is what we are already doing. Too much is going on right now. It's a lot. We will need a moment. And so we mark this space reserved, for a time when we can more meaningfully mourn the passing of The Artist.