Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bill Murray looks at a painting

Asked to talk about a moment when art has mattered to him, Bill Murray describes an encounter with Jules Adolphe Breton’s The Song of the Lark after a disastrous first experience on stage in Chicago:

“I was so bad I just walked out on the street and headed — and started walking. And I walked for a couple of hours, and I realized I’d walked the wrong direction — not just the wrong direction in terms of where I lived but the wrong direction in terms of a desire to stay alive. And so I — this may be a little bit not completely true, but it’s pretty true — that I walked and then thought, ‘Well, if I’m gonna die where I am, I may as well just go over towards the lake, and maybe I’ll float for a while after I’m dead.’”
He ended up in the Art Institute, walking right through without paying because he was “ready to die and pretty much dead”:
“And there’s a painting there, and I don’t even know who painted it, but I think it’s called The Song of the Lark. And it’s a woman working in a field, and there’s a sunrise behind her. And I’ve always loved this painting, and I saw it that day, and I just thought, ‘Well, look, there’s a girl who doesn’t have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun’s coming up anyway, and she’s got another chance at it.’ So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I too am a person and get another chance every day the sun comes up.“
See also words from Harvey Pekar (in the OCA sidebar): “Every day is a new deal.”

[Murray was speaking at a press conference marking the UK premiere of The Monuments Men. The Art Institute has a highly condensed version of Murray’s remarks on a placard next to the painting.]

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