Monday, April 06, 2009

Um, you're wrong.

I was hanging out on North Campus waiting for the bus (when my friends come out and want to see something "uniquely Michigan," I take them to North Campus. It's where the wild animals and engineering students live.), perusing the posters plastered to the bus shelter. North Campus is also home to the theatre and music schools, so they usually have a lot more interesting posters than the Central Campus bus stops. I was reading one poster for some performance art show when I noticed a hand written note on the top of the poster. The Sharpie-d note said something roughly along the lines of, "Art is not for your personal commentary."

I thought about this, because I'm an open-minded university student, and decided that this person was wrong. I believe it's impossible to create art totally devoid of any commentary on its subject. If you haven't created your art to say something, then what have you created it for? Just for aesthetic beauty? Even that is a commentary on the way that you believe life and experience should be interpreted - that life, or in this case art, should be aesthetically pleasing.

Nothing that I've created has been devoid of commentary (excepting, maybe, the stories I wrote about magical ponies when I was six. But even then...). "The 4:05" commented on the nature of love and friendship. "Collapse" commented on death, grief, and forgiveness. "Join This Group?" focused on the ridiculous impact of Facebook. I feel like every story, every sculpture, every film, every blog, comments in some way on life, relationships, experience - at the very least. Some have more focused intentions. And I'm not talking just about Sicko or W.

You can't create art without commentary because of the nature of creation. Art is a physical marker of the presence of a maker. Creation suggestions a purpose, a plan, a design, and it encourages a certain perspective. And I guess I just can't fathom a situation in which the maker's art has no reflection of their plans or their purpose. If there's nothing to be said, then why create at all?

1 comment:

Brett said...

I wonder if the comment meant that "Art is not for personal commentary of those who did not create that art."

Cuz that's a more interesting claim.

It's not one that I happen to believe or support (if you cannot tolerate the personal commentary of others, then don't show your art -- keep it locked in your drawer or garage or head...), but it's at least slightly more interesting.

Or not. Doowhatchalike.
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waffling towards ambivalence B