Work in progress- having trouble saving drafts)
With so much division in the world today I am left contemplating the one question that is my foundation: What is Art? To assist in a reawakening of my understand, and to help me perhaps help others, I did some quick exploration on line on Art and Beauty. For to many the best art is Beautiful, or is it? I ask that question because I ponder an elitism that is permeating our society and causing cracks in connections like a rock breaking ice. I feel that art, which is the foundation of our culture, though not an activity as valued as it should be, is subliminally at the root of many of our conflicts today. We are deviating from the true meaning of free speech, and the true meaning of art.
First there is this very interesting course on Lumen learning Art History. The final conclusion is that in contemporary society anything can be art. In addition art does not have to be beautiful to all. However this is the best I found to explain the concepts of beauty within art, and article Philosophy Now, “What is Art?”
Anything that is a form of expression can be art, but whether a work of art is Beautiful, is up to the observer. And we now live in a world where there is an elitism in art. And what is worse it is an elitism that to me feels hypocritical. It is the celebrated celebrities who on the one hand preach democracy and speak out for the people, yet are selected by the elite to deliver their messages, watered down by a need to be hire-able and accepted by the very people who represent the voice of the elite. It is the artist who somehow is selected by the elite and sells million dollar paintings, while unknown gifted artists with even more genuine talent live homeless in Venice Beach, selling their talent for $10 a sketch.
As an article called “The Art of Alienation – Elitism in the Arts” points out, there are more naked women hanging in prominent art museums, than art by women, yet we still represent fifty percent of the population. It is also the fact that film and TV directors and producers and writers and actors are still MEN. Yes as far as ARTISTICHOPE is concerned, a TV show on SYFY has just as much of an artistic impact as a painting at the MET. That is what we need to start embracing. ART BY THE PEOPLE. Art is the culture of the TIME. Art can be in the form of a painting, or a well told story. Art though needs to be of the people, for the people, by the people.
Art is becoming once again an activity of the rich and upper crust of America. SAG AFTRA have excluded me from events since 2012 and I have been attacked over and over on Twitter, told that the UNION can exclude me for being, white, Buddhist, from Maryland, and not being a “cultured person.” I was writing Haiku when I was a child, and reading Shakespeare at 10. The elitist ignorance of this TROLL exposes the hypocrisy that they project they are better than me and that despite claiming to be cultured and sophisticated, they lack the knowledge of geography to realize that where I grew up in Baltimore is near the Capital of America, Washington, DC, the home of the Kennedy Center, and the Smithsonian. All the National Cultural Treasures in Washington, DC are free and open to the public. Libraries are also free. My generation saw the birth of Cable TV and the INTERNET. To insinuate I am not cultured enough, demonstrates a form or bigotry, and a gross misunderstanding of the CONSTITUTION and its fundamental rights.
Under the Constitution:
Article I Section 8. Clause 8 – Patent and Copyright Clause of the Constitution. [The Congress shall have power] “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”
The Constitution gives authors and inventors the rights to their creative works, and it does not state that these authors and inventors are a part of an exclusive group in society. ON an international level, copyright agreements have extended these rights to other forms of art beyond the written word and even to an extent performances. State laws also give certain rights to artist and performers. Yet on some level it feels as if the powerful decide what is art, and the wealthy determines the voices that are heard. It is one of the key problems with giving Corporations the power to be PEOPLE because by allowing that, it can create a world where Corporations supersede the voices of People that need to be heard. Art is an act of an individual.
The first Amendment Free Speech in America has a broad meaning. It includes more than just spoken words. It is any form of self expression. Yet our society still has a cultural way of silencing and diminishing voices that perhaps need to be heard. Talent and expression is lost to populism and snobbery.
Debate.org seems to agree in a Debate entitled “Are the arts too elitist?” 53% of respondents agreed. A quote from on participant Prerna describes perfectly the point I am trying to make:
Upcoming artists and actors find it harder to get jobs than those who are most established. People already in the arts are approached without need to auditions and its much more competitive and harder to get in to.
The system is not becoming more open, but closed to only the established and the connected in the arts, and entertainment. It is driving a deeper rift between the haves and the have nots. Yet talent is often not gifted to just one group or genetic line.
However the British artist, Mackenzie Thorpe, argues the art itself is not elitist. An object can not by itself be selective in who gets to be impacted by it. I would counter that by pointing out, however, that the process of making art and having it be seen, is elitist. If we all have the right to self expression, but society limits who among us can make an impact on everyone else, there is elitism. I for one wish the gatekeepers for who gets to be seen and who gets to be known were called into question and that the system of selection needs to be criticized for bigotry and misogyny.