An artist is never ahead of his time but most people are far behind theirs.
Here again are you?
"I know everything about art but I don't know what I like" James Thurber has one of his characters say. That, of course, is a reversal of the usual cocktail party remark about art appreciation. One of the greatest disservices a person can do to himself is to stick to only what he knows and not open his mind to something new and different.
I think I've written before about the woman at the NY Philharmonic concert who sat in the back row of the balcony. When the Mozart or Schubert was being played she sat and listened, But when a piece of modern music, Webern or Berio, was played she would go out into the hall and wait for it to be over. She was making a statement. She wasn't going to listen to any of that "modern junk." It was totally silly because she could hear it out in the hall so she would know when it was "safe" to come back and sit down. This lady was purposely depriving herself of some amazing musical experiences. The lady had an "attitude."
There used to be a TV commercial from an outfit that was selling classical music records by subscription, to introduce fine music into the home of people who weren't used to it. One of the remarks the announcer made while pitching those records was "We've taken out all the unfamiliar music." I gasped.
What's modern music? It's all a lot of dissonant noise. You can't hum along or tap your foot. What good is it?
What's modern art? It's a lot of squiggles and blobs. What's it supposed to be of?
What's modern dance? A bunch of people falling down and rolling around. That's not dance.
When I first came into the world of 20th Century music I had been raised on a diet of Baroque to Late Romantic. I purposely bought and listened to the music of modern composers. I had a recording of a piece by an intense and seldom played composer named Karlheinz Stockhausen. I listened to it many times, trying to understand it. One day I had the record with me when I was visiting some dancer friends. They had never heard it, So I played it for them. They had no trouble with it. They immediately got up and started dancing. They caught the spirit and life of the music and taught me what it was about.
It's well and good to have favorites among the arts. Who doesn't? But the art of the 20th and 21st Centuries is the modern mind, with its modern sensitivities, speaking to the modern mind. If we don't pay attention to it we'll be left behind. Yes, it's difficult if you're not familiar with it. That's why it has to be heard and seen over and over again until it becomes familiar, until it becomes a part of our lives and we can know it and love it.
Art, like life, is a process of discovery. So look and listen and don't sit out in the hall.
Greet a stranger today. Why not?
THIS IS NOT A CONTEST
What do you think was the most important event of 2008? and
What was the most significant event in your life last year?
You have 3 days left to answer if you wish.
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http://vagabondjourneys.blogspot.com/. Thank you. DB