Ah! Life is packed with conundrum.
Which came first the chicken or the egg? Did Adam have a navel? When an insect falls into the Holy Water does the bug contaminate the water or does the water sanctify the fly?
Our mystery for today is: Does art reflect life or does life reflect art? It's a hard question that once had a simple answer. Classical traditional art was usually based on the reflection of life but with our insistence today on terming just about anything as “Art” the answer is much less clear as the public engages in more and more salacious imitations of art forms. Who can deny that what we call art form today is imprinting public behavior?
Before we go any further we must first identify what art is. Many claim that art is a million things because it is in the eye of the beholder. Picasso claims that “Art is lies that tell the truth.” Andy Warhol is more succinct: “Art is what you can get away with.”
Judging by what is considered “art” today, I must come down on the side of Andy. Everyone wants to claim their activity as an “art form” however debased it might be. Added to the traditional conception of art we now have “artists” claiming that pornography, Rap/Hip-Hop music and even professional wrestling is sometimes claimed to be an art form.
My own definition includes classical literature, “real” music, visual artistry and any other media that glorifies the beauty of life and inspires our existence in the past, present and future. Art should be uplifting not downgrading. Art must be inspirational — not stomping on the facets of morality.
Whatever you term as art must be examined regarding how it affects life and decency. Some of the new art forms thrust on the public today seem to be degrading to the civility of life. And I find that disturbing. When a urine-soaked cross is considered art, we, as a civilization had better take another look at ourselves. When nasty lyrics and the performance of music are laced with the base language of filth but are considered art, we are on the wrong path. When the feces-desecrated painting of Mary the Mother of Jesus becomes “art”, our compasses are pointing in the wrong direction.
Much of artistic expression has, indeed, become what the artist “can get away with” and what the public will allow. And sadly, this “art” is changing life rather than reflecting it.
Others agree. “Paradoxically though it may seem, it is none the less true that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” — Oscar Wilde.
Once, art inspired. Now, I'm afraid the modern expanded definition of art illustrates a degrading of morality as folks go about proving that life imitates the nefarious art forms. Decent art forms should be embraced and enshrined. Artistic expression is an ever-evolving process and should not be unduly bound but neither should it be unbridled.
The motion picture production company MGM's trademark with the roaring lion is framed with the Latin expression: “Ars Gratia Artis” which translates, “Art for the sake of Art.” Oh, how I wish that were true. Media art today could rather be described as “Filth for the Sake of Filth.” Performing artistry on the silver screen seems to be judged by how many times the “F” word can be spoken in a single paragraph or how many breasts (or more) can be exposed in a short scene. This debauchery of art has swept onto the television screen as well.
No. I'm afraid that much of what passes as art today influences rather than imitates real life. And quite negatively, I might add.
Where have the days gone when art brought out the best in humanity? I have engaged in the classical arts since childhood and fortunately much of traditional art still exists and should be supported. I once taught in the Fine Arts Department of a university and my wife is a visual artist, who founded two Art/Cultural Councils. Our home has always reflected an interest in the legitimate arts but I fear that ours is not a universal example. Misguided artistic expression including the simulated rape of a 12-year-old child in a current film is not my idea of an art form. Pornography or near-pornography lace human life in print, on the screen, over the airways and in just about every segment of so-called art.
Have we lost forever our sensibilities to the finer things in life? Or, will we come to our senses?
John Brock lives in Georgetown County and can be reached by mail at this newspaper or via Email: email@example.com. His website featuring his book, “Southern Breezes Whistle Dixie,” can be found at www.SouthernObserver.com
Notice about comments:
- Most Viewed
- Child drowns in Andrews
- Response to Scoville
- POLICE BLOTTER: Suspicious man in Maryville
- Woman escapes severe injury after grill explosion
- Tropical Storm Andrea update
- Response to Swatzel ad
- Police Blotter: Inmate attacked at GCDC
- $250,000 lottery ticket sold at Murrells Inlet grocery store
- Obituaries, June 12, 2013
- Waccamaw, Georgetown High Schools hold graduations