The Village Inn

The Village Inn

This place is called The Village Inn. College students come in to sip pints of fine microbrews while august professors dine in liberal arts, earth-toned sophistication. The floors are a lovely nicked and weathered hardwood. Large, spherical lampshades hang from the ceiling. The shades are white and they sway just slightly.

 On several walls old posters herald visiting authors and lecturers, with a few framed photographs scattered sporadically throughout. At one end of the room a medium-sized painting hangs high on the wall so that a viewer must crane her neck in order to see it. The painting is tucked into a corner and one of the large hanging lampshades hangs just a few inches from it, almost entirely blocking the view of the painting.

 The painting is not a good painting. It is an amateurish and clunky sort of recycled abstract expressionism. I assume it is an unclaimed student work, but perhaps not. Oddly enough, there is something about the painting and its placement that I do appreciate.

It is entirely without affect there, hung high in the corner and behind a lampshade. And while we could argue about the accuracy of even calling it a work of art, the painting has a clarity of identity that I find rare. We know what to do with the painting, which just so happens to be—not much. It is apparent that the painting is there not to be looked at but to fill an empty space high on the wall. Because amateurish paintings and drawings are as ubiquitous as their claims to be timely and relevant, it is a refreshing thing to stumble upon an act of clarity in the corner of a bar.

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