The Arts

on Thursday, November 27, 2008

Since my last post, I’ve been thinking about the ways the arts can be found in our culture. Things like paintings hanging in a museum or a sculpture in a park are obvious, and they are the things that quickly get pointed to when someone who is anti-art wants to complain.

Shooting at a big target is easy, the anti-arties can point to Piss Christ, or the painting of the Virgin Mary adorned with elephant dung, declare their outrage, demand that something must be done and conclude that all art is bad, and they will complain bitterly that their precious tax dollars were used to fund such an atrocity.

They don’t understand that part of art is how the viewer interprets it. For every person offended by Piss Christ, there were others who saw something more than a beloved religious icon, a Savior, submerged in urine. Sister Wendy Beckett, an art critic and Catholic nun, stated in a television interview with Bill Moyers that she regarded the work as not blasphemous but a statement on "what we have done to Christ" - that is, the way contemporary society has come to regard Christ and the values he represents. [source]

One of the comments regarding the article about the Wallace Foundation grant said:

I don't like art, so quit making me pay for your crap. I like to drive my truck up north to my cabin and go deer hunting.

Let’s examine the art that lies hidden in that statement. The truck was designed by people who could draw and who had an understanding of what good design is. It was tested in a wind tunnel using a model made by people who could sculpt. The road was designed, again, by people who could draw, the road signs were designed to be clear and concise, even the paint on the road came from knowledge of pigments. His cabin was drawn before it was built, it is painted and there might even be curtains in the windows. He listens to his favorite country music star on the way, a person who may have learned their first notes in band and choir at school. The design on his deer rifle’s stock was drawn and carved by artists. The clothing he wears was designed by people who understand fabrics, color and fashion. If he decides to celebrate his kill with a trip to the local strip club, he’s watching someone who either took dance herself or copied the moves of someone who did. The label on his beer was drawn, even his haircut relies on balance and ascetics. There are movies and TV shows that he watches and maybe he even reads a book now and then.

One doesn’t need to be a Vincent Van Gogh or an Andres Serrano to be an artist. There are thousands, even millions of artists who never have their work displayed in a museum. Our deer hunting friend relies on people who draw, paint, sculpt, print, dance, write, act and carve, who understand ascetics, balance and design. He relies on these people everyday of his life without realizing it. Yet he complains.

The arts aren’t a waste of money, they are vital. To borrow a phrase: without art, life itself would be impossible.

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Here We Go Again

on Friday, November 14, 2008

As I mentioned in a previous post, I sometimes check out the St. Paul Pioneer Press and the vitriolic comments that follow each article. I hadn't been there in a while, I got tired of being labeled "clueless" and worse for stating facts and for stating the obvious.

The latest one to draw my ire is an article about the Wallace Foundation giving $7 million to the Minneapolis Saint Paul Arts Community. Money from this foundation will help MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Minnesota Opera, Minnesota Orchestra, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Mixed Blood Theatre Company, Northern Clay Center and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra amongst others.

Here is a sample of the bullshit that comes spewing from the minds of my fellow Minnesotans (complete with original mis-spellings and crap grammar):

Stop your philanthropy now. The citizens of MN are pooling 91 million dollars a year and a good chunk of that will go to the arts! For goodness sakes!

Sounds like free tickets and services to people who would not otherwise be interested. Obviously if ther eis a need to "build" the audience what they have to offer is not that intersting or valuable in the first place. It is self evident. Sounds like a waste of money. What a classic example of a fleecing. Take a situatiuon where there is no interest (or a lack of interst) and throw money at it to drum up an audience that isnt there. Sounds like a an expensive exercise in self preservation-ism.

what a waste of money

Wonder where the Wallace Foundation, a non-profit, gets their money to redistribute? I would venture a guess it's the same way the Clean Arts Bill gets funded.

We're getting f'd in the drive-thru forwards and backwards.

Well, seeing as how Minnesota has the 2nd largest population of gays in the country I am not surprised by this story at all.....way to p-i-s-s away money...

My response: If you don't like the arts you should turn off your TV and throw away all your books and magazines (writing, acting, directing, lighting, etc.), take all the pictures off your walls (painting, photography), and turn off your radio and throw out all your CDs (music). Then you can live an "arts-free" life.

Also, the Wallace Foundation is privately owned and receives no tax money, so quicher bitchin'!

GOD! I hate stupid people!

Bye Bye, Baby

on Monday, November 3, 2008

I finally got someone to haul away my old Aspire. I got her from George in lieu of a royalty check for Groovitis. She had over 100,000 miles on her and I put on another 90,000 myself.

My favorite trip was at the end of the summer a few years back. I drove her to Appleton, WI for a gig with George. If I remember correctly, he had to go elsewhere the next day and Jeff was gigging in Duluth or something, so I wound up driving myself. The next morning I picked up a copy of the NPR radio theater version of Star Wars on cassette tape, popped the first episode into my tape player and started driving to SOMS in Hibbing.

I stopped briefly in Cloquet to buy a mug and continued. The final episode finished just as I was driving into the front gate.

Eventually the poor old girl started dying. When it rained or was cold with high humidity her electrical system would fritz out and reset the radio and clock. The headlights stopped working due to an electrical meltdown. The blower for the heater never worked.

She spent most of the last year in the parking lot of the roastery waiting to be hauled away, and I promised Jeff I'd have her out of there before the snow flew this year, and seeing as that could be by this weekend, I finally went and made the call.

Her next stop is the crusher. Her next shape is rectangular. I got $25 for her.

Bye bye, baby, you were a good car.