Updated: May 6, 2020
Who and what exactly is the Reluctant Modernist?
Above all, a project—and an intention, vague—to refine one's ability to think on the page. I believe, honestly and even naively, that it behooves us all to collect ourselves in writing.
The Reluctant Modernist is also a person. In some sense, a child. Not entirely comfortable with the post-modern, or the hyperreal, who sometimes seems like nothing more than a luddite. And maybe one day, he directs his luddite brain to some old piece of art and feels something. And he wonders why it seems new. In this case, it’s a Klimt; it’s more than a century old. Somehow he’s never heard of Klimt.
And it could be as simple as that. The way the painting reverberates around his mind, is enough: he must be a modernist.
He is, indeed, reluctant to admit it. What a nebulous term! And besides, it makes him sound dusty and passé, this reluctant one, who doesn’t belong in a post-modern world. These things are so easy to romanticize.
Yet he can’t shake the suspicion that we're not quite done with it. Or, rather, that it's not quite done with us. In some abstract sense, it's the inauguration of--and the boulder chosen specially for--our Sisyphean age.
Which is not to say that these writings, whatever they might turn out to be, come from any strict or conscious modernist perspective. Nothing as dull as that. They are only, humbly, the writings of a reluctant modernist.