“World Time Clock” Bettina Pousttchi, Berlinische Galerie


It all started in the late ‘70s in a recording studio in LA. I had a job as an assistant to the engineer, and over time, recording song after song, a relentless, slippery question formed in my mind: What makes a song good, what makes it work, and how can I recognize it? Over the years, I heard various answers, “Well, it’s just if it’s happening.” And another, “It’s like people. Does it have personality?”

Many years later, I asked our friend, Lily Yu (artist, art appraiser, art curator), what defines art, how can it be judged? One night at a gallery in Monterey, we were all gawking at a piece by Robin Winfield. 

“There are three things to look for,” Lily said, pointing to the piece. “First, the work must be distinct in some way, meaning you can recognize it as the work of a particular artist. Look at how Robin’s work stands out in the gallery. The second attribute is quality. Wouldn’t you say this is a quality piece? It’s executed beautifully, yeah? And the third attribute is the test of time—the first two must be in place to have any chance at the third. And the test of time is out of our control.”