Find Great Stuff

Art Collectibles Reflections by Kathy and Bill Lair

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Virchow’s dictum

June 9th, 2008 · No Comments · Art, Collectibles, Inspiration

Kathy''s Art Rrrrose Homage to Duchamp

Have you ever noticed someone buying something worthless? Has anyone ever thought that you bought something worthless? The different experiences we have shape our opinions about whether an object is a treasure or a piece of junk. Virchow’s dictum simply put is “you see what you know, what you don’t know you can”t see”. Rudolf Virchow lived in the late 18th century. He wore many hats… scientist, pathologist, philosopher, and educator. An exercise he would perform with his anatomic pathology students involved distinguishing normal lung tissue from diseased lung tissue. New students all thought the lung tissue looked the same; they needed to be educated to see the difference. Michael Crichton’s book “Jasper Johns” (most exciting book about art I ever read) first introduced me to this thought. It’s a fun way to think about what you know and what you see. We live next to water with a large duck population. Many folks who drive through finding ducks on the road start beeping their horns. Surprise… ducks don”t have knowledge about what a horn beep means. So the next time you bring that exciting new art purchase home and the family says “you paid what for that piece of sh!!” just smile and say Virchow’s dictum made you do it.

Bill”s words

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