"Art is anything you can get away with." Marshall McLuhan (The Medium is the Massage)
"The artist is always engaged in writing a detailed history of the future because he is the only person aware of the nature of the present." Marshall McLuhan (Understanding Media)
Thanks to Mark for these cool quotes.
I am going to be highlighting odd thoughts about art for the next few days. Art and it's natural place within economy. This is tricky because very few anthropologists have ever been able to deal with art and culture and economy. There are few references for me to quote or link. In fact, marxist literary theorists are some of the few people who have tried to locate the urge and passion of art within communities.
Art has been in the domain of the wealthy for the last hundred years in America, and for five to six hundred years in Europe. It was likely the relationship of church to artisan that started this vile relationship...but I am not sure, any ideas?
What is Art?
What Makes Someone not an artist?
"We call them artists because it's convenient. But for me, all we who paint, sculpt, dance, film and edit video, sing, write -- we're just people making or doing things. The word art and its accompanying baggage has become thoroughly misleading. It's a lot like the word God: say it in a room filled with 20 people and you will evoke 20 different responses. Some will agree superficially but will at a deeper level be quite different.
I'd like to dispense with the word art entirely, but to function socially I need to keep it close by." Bill Gusky in Winklemans comments.
I am not a religious person. In fact I am kind of against religion, for myself. It is too constraining and dogmatic and seems the furthest thing from a spiritual experience I can imagine. The thing is...art and literature have something deeply in common with religion. An ability to articulate the intangible. Science has not figured out a way to do this yet. But poetry and art and music can articulate the intangibles like "truth" "justice" "love". Here is a little interesting bit written by Sister Anselma Scollard OSB is a member of an enclosed Benedictine order. Before entering St Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde, IOW she studied aesthetics as a post-graduate. She is also a sculptor. From Blunt Edge magazine.
What is essential to the birth and continued existence of both art and religion is a constant renewal. As far as religion is concerned, renewal is effected by means of the incorruptible soul which informs the corruptible body. This soul is not subject to time. It lives within time and through time, but in the sovereignty of its judgements stands above time. Its task is to renew time through its actions. The renewal of artistic activity also involves continuation and change. These elements, change and rest (continuation), are like activity and contemplation. They represent the body and soul. In reality they cannot be distinguished, but remain one. In making art, in looking at art, continuation and change merge in judgement - a judgement is made in time and is influenced by it, and yet it seems to stand outside of it. To make a judgement is to make a statement of truth, which represents the present, refers to the past and reveals the future. It is ‘outward’, manifested in time, and hence bodily. It is an inward truth which is shaped by the human spirit. Truth, as the word denotes in Greek, is an unveiling of something which exists, and yet lies hidden. The artist is committed, (even unknowingly), to this revelation, to this seeing anew. The essential reference to truth as ‘un-veiling’ is at the heart of all artistic and religious expression - as something received, and perceived as something given. It is an understanding at once practical (active) and speculative (contemplative) that which is gazed on with appreciation. Essentially it is bearing witness in the most personal and deep-seated way possible - and yet having consequences of infinite proportion: revealing the truth to those who are willing to see.