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THE ARTIST FORMERLY KNOWN AS BEN
May 8, 2007
 
"Why do you DO that?" I ask Ben as I come downstairs to find the throw rug in the hall crumpled into an interesting sculptural form.

Ben is sitting beside his creation and answers with a pair of hoarse meows -- Ben often sounds more like a duck than like a cat.

I come upon one of his rug sculptures just abouut every day. I have watched him pull an entire rug from one room to another under a closed
door. He can accordion a 12-foot runner in under three seconds, without even breathing hard.

I used to think this was about sharpening his claws, but I've decided that it's more than that. Rug sculpture is his art. Some cats sing. Some cats dance. A lot of cats are acrobats, and a few do water ballet -- not many, but a few. Ben doesn't do any of these things. Just the rug sculptures.

After all, what is art but a means by which we establish our presence in the world, a presence which remains even after we are gone? The
nameless sculptors of the enormous standing Buddhas in India, and the similar ones in Afghanistan, whose destruction by the Taliban so
horrified the world: those artists live on in the awe with which we behold what they have left us. A cave painting shows itself by torchlight for the first time in millenia, animals and hunters, flying arrows, and we behold hope and power in a human heart that stopped beating long ago -- I will paint this deer on the wall and my quest for a real one in tomorrow's hunt will prosper. My art will change my world.

I hear a noise from the guest room: Ben has found another rug. In a moment he emerges, head and tail held high.

"Nice piece. I really like some of your recent work." I tell him. "It's a lot more complex than some of your earlier stuff." I'm an artist myself, and I know the desire for a review when I see it.
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