Monday, June 18, 2012

Art Thots Stimulated by Recent Readings

"Thus the figural distortion of German expressionist painters is not dismissed as an inept attempt at verisimilitude and, therefore, as defective or pseudo art, but as an intelligible and well-precedented artistic response – a revolt – against realism for the sake of securing a widely and antecedently acknowledged artistic value, namely expressivity.

"It is an expectation of artists that they be concerned to make original contributions to the tradition within which they work. These contributions can range along the creative scale from slight variations in established genres to wholesale revolutions. ... However, as in conversation, the contribution must also have some relevance to what has gone before – otherwise there simply is no conversation."

Noel Carroll, Art In Three Dimensions 

Thoughts in response...
1. This is why teaching art history is important.
2. This is what made Dylan a significant songwriter when he emerged in the 60’s. He had immersed himself in the history of folk music; its roots, its themes, its modes of expression. He was also aware of the cultural situation of his time. He wasn’t just writing love songs. He was responding to the “great conversation.”
3. No philosopher worth his or her salt would skip the study of classic philosophy before undertaking the development of a contemporary voice.
4. Yet in art, we often want to suggest it is just a matter of being creative and learning techniques. To some extent this can be said to be so, but to make significant art, to be a serious artist, one needs to understand historical context, and be aware of what has already been done, is being done in our time… not so we can drop a few names but so we can understand how our “voice” and vision fits into the grand scheme of things.


"From the start, the strongest and most bitter energies of the book were directed against the idea that art should serve a political cause, an idea that Auden had alternately embraced and rejected since 1932."

Edward Mendelson, Preface to W.H. Auden’s The Prolific and the Devourer

In response...
1. Auden embraced the idea of art for art's sake, yet also took the opposing position at times. When we look at an author or artist's life work we get a better picture of the man or woman than were we to just grab a few quotes from a volume of essays written at a specific moment of time.
2. The human soul is not fixed, but ever in flux. Personality has its recurring themes that remain the same, like fingerprints, but we are not the same.
3. I agree with Auden, yet at times Auden did not agree with Auden.

Of these things much more could be said, and I must start my day. What are you reading and thinking about?

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