What does Art do?.

How we talk about art is at an all time low.  Most believe art is something important but have a hard time explaining just what that importance is.  Everyone would say art is needed for good child development, but few when pressed can explain the value of art for adults beyond mere entertainment.  And art agencies and organizations increasingly promote the importance of art not on it’s intrinsic value but it’s economic stimulus.

But philosophers and historians have been providing us with reasons  and ideas about why art is important for generations.  Here is a list of evolving, interconnected thoughts on why I think art is valuable, what art is for, and why it is important.

Art makes you think visually.

Art is a visual language, different from our verbal language, that we can employ to think in a unique manner.

Art documents and transcribes our visual thinking.

Art facilitates thinking in new patterns and with new associations which helps us grow intellectually and emotionally.

Art shifts your thinking process from the literal to the imaginative.

Art makes imaginative thinking  possible which is exciting to the mind.

Art uncouples you from the everyday and the prescribed, and that can be uplifting and inspirational.

Art  expands one’s consciousness from the ordinary.

Art is unconstrained by the political or social.

Art fulfills needs that go  beyond the political and social.

Art is a platform whereby we can question our purpose in life and what happens when we die.

Art is a process that shows us there is more to life than we initially think.

Art reaffirms that you are not alone in what you fear, long for, dream, and question.

Art gives us a view of the cosmos that science cannot.

Art gives us experience and suggests meaning in our lives.

Art leads culture.

 

What would you add?

 

dchandlr_dchandlr_work.png

If the making of a work of art is work, does that work (effort, time investment, action) have any resemblance to what we today consider entrepreneurialism?

Every morning I start my day by following a half dozen blogs written by arts advocates and administrators who are increasingly focused on treating the arts in an entrepreneurial manner.  Writing about the problems of decreasing theater and museum attendance, and general financial struggles, the authors of these blogs suggest various remedies such as engaging audiences better, proving them with the programing they think they want, and systematically running art organizations and institutions like any other business enterprise. 

I believe that artists, like any profession, need to be savvy in their business dealings to make a living, but it’s vital to understand the differences between being an exceptional artist and being a smart business person?   Selling art, or whatever one does to sustain a artistic practice, involves business, but putting the business cart before the art horse is bad for artists and it’s bad for Art.  Why?   The short answer is, because it’s not how art gets made.

Last month the Springboard Center for the Arts, a non-profit organization in St. Paul Minnesota, promoted a series of seminars called Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists.  The seminars covered everything from career planning and marketing, to legal facts and record keeping for artists.  The title Work of Art: Business Skills for Artists asserts the notion that a work of art is also the result of a type of entrepreneurial work.

The National Endowment for the Arts uses the same play on words in the title of their Art Works grant program.  Art Works provides grant money to organizations whose programing is focused on art that professedly works.   By their own definition, art works as  creative placemaking if it “animates public and private spaces, rejuvenates structures and streetscapes, improves local business viability and public safety, and brings diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.”

The City of Milwaukee has a community program called ‘artWorks’  which emphasizes the work aspect of a program that helps teens successfully “transition out of high school and into becoming productive contributors to our communities.”   While the program uses art projects, it’s real focus attempts to “build a genuine work ethic”  and teaching “valuable job and life skills”.

A quick Google search of the words art and works turns up numerous for-profit and non-profit art centers and organizations around the country that use some rendition of art + works in their names. One can also purchase a computer software program call Artworks that provides cataloging, tracking &  presentation solutions for artists and art galleries.

This new wave of blurring art with business is no mere happenstance.  The entrepreneurial use of art has become so mainstream that it has it’s own label – arts entrepreneurialism.  You can even get a certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship from Arizona State University.  The program professes to “harnesses the skills and mindset of the entrepreneur to empower artists to create work that is meaningful, sustainable and oriented to community and/or market need” and goes so far to promise the new entrepreneurial arts person the lofty goal of a “business plan for a sustainable arts-based venture.”   The entrepreneurial aspect is placed in the forefront of the program to such a degree that they rearranged the typical university department title of  Art and Design to a more product oriented title called the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, literally and symbolically placing Design before Art in importance.

This significant change in arts ideology is dominated by the politics of hyper free- market, neo-liberal ideas, traced back to Richard Florida’s pop-sociology platform which cemented the idea that creativity is the contemporary road to business prosperity.  It was Florida’s concept of the “creative class” which would become a driving force for entrepreneurial arts, a model that blended a hip business spirit with broad and often vague notions of artistic creativity.  This ideology repurposes art as a tool for business and requires that to be good at being an artist one also has to become an entrepreneur.

The problem with this entrepreneurial attitude about the arts is that it fails to acknowledge that there are real differences between how art and business function.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi author of Creativity : Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention isolated 10 personality traits of creative people. He contends that  “Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives.”   It’s important to note that Csikszentmihalyi believes that most people only “hope” to achieve this fulfillment in their lives because they have the belief that their lives are somehow different that the life of an artist.  Society has a innate understanding that what artists do is uniquely different.

One of Csikszentmihalyi ten creative traits is the artist’s ability to discover imaginative and fantastical aspects of life.  “Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality. Great art and great science involve a leap of imagination into a world that is different from the present. The rest of society often views these new ideas as fantasies without relevance to current reality. And they are right. But the whole point of art and science is to go beyond what we now consider real and create a new reality. At the same time, this “escape” is not into a never-never land. What makes a novel idea creative is that once we see it, sooner or later we recognize that, strange as it is, it is true.”   

Imaginative and fantastical thinking is fundamentally different than the way entrepreneurial business works. Business wants to be imaginative, it may actually be imaginative at times, but first and foremost it is rooted in the principles of supply and demand, and the confines of costs and marketing.  And one realm where business certainly does not function easily is the realm of fantasy.   Business allows hunches or even calculated guesses but the one thing you are not going to be able to do in the business world is freely enact the improbable or impossible. The free market system may desire out of the box thinking and creative problem solving, but it insists things remain grounded in neo-liberal economic principles and beliefs, dictating an artistic culture that is always based in the status quo.

The poet and folk singer Utah Phillips once gave a speech to a  class of high school graduates where he warned “You are about to be told one more time that you are America’s most valuable resource.  Have you seen what they do to a valuable natural resource. Have you seen a strip mine? Have you seen a clear cut in the forest? Have you seen a polluted river? Don’t ever let them call you a valuable natural resource!  They’re going to strip mine your soul. They’re going to clear cut your best thoughts for the sake of profit unless you learn to resist.”   

What Utah saw in these students was pure potential that he feared was going to be used and abused by politics and business.  His speech of resistance against the false promises of profiteers is a warning of exploitation. An exploitation that aims to change the very idea of what a work of art is.

 

 

The following essay came out of a frustrating facebook discussion with an arts educator who contended that people aren’t interested in art anymore.  He believed that art isn’t addressing what really matters, and that “maybe it’s just time to forget art altogether.”

Painting, since even before Modernism, suggested a means to question our alienation. It never promised to improve our economy, end racism, or purify water. But it did provide an ideology where we could turn ourselves outward from the world and garner some type of insight or transcendence in a manner that was different from how other ideologies or systems looked at the world.

An activist documentary analogy is useful here.  I don’t see  most big screen documentaries such as  Josh Fox’s Gasland as being art.  I see them more akin to good design, important and useful information presented in an engaging format that at times can incorporate art-like qualities.  Certainly documentaries have moved people to instigate change, but does that make them the most efficient art?   Maybe I’m wrong about this but a beautiful Terry Winters painting can make a person THINK as much as Gasland.   But they each make you think in a different way.  Pre-judging art on it’s social efficacy is problematic.   In terms of sheer numbers, more people were moved by Gasland or Michael Moore’s Sicko than by any Terry Winters’ painting, but that could be saying more about the viewer than the medium itself.

I’m not trying to deny reality here.  I see the implications that arise from the fact that more people do see documentaries than spend time with paintings.  But that doesn’t answer the important question as to why that condition exists and how did it get this way?

An even more important question to ask is who is best served by the myth that painting isn’t important any more?   I would suggest the answer to that question is the very system Josh Fox, Michael Moore,  and Terry Winters are battling against; the power system that benefits from a populace thinking art is no longer valuable.   It’s the neo-liberal system that benefits.  When socially engaged art administrators or educators say that the visual arts no longer matter, they are jostling to take the dominant role in culture.

Artists can’t make people look at their paintings. You can lead a horse to a a cold river stream but you can’t make them reach for it.  Why they aren’t thirsty is the issue.

 

Herman Broch, an Austrian/America modernist author, wrote a 1933 essay that exposed in detail  “the element of evil in the value system of art.”  He called that evil element: Kitsch.

What makes something Kitsch, can be readily recognized in objects of popular culture, and at other times it can be elusive experiences or trends that are hard to isolate.  Kitsch has been frequently defended as simply personal taste, even if that taste tends to be banal.  But what quality could Kitsch have that would lead Herman Broch to call something so seemingly innocuous: evil?

The German word Kitsch was first used by Munich Art dealers in the 1860’s and 1870’s to dismiss cheap or fake artistic objects.  Broch suggested that the concept of Kitsch began earlier in the 19th Century with Romanticism with it’s emphasis on dramatic effects, pathos, and extreme sentimentality.  While not Kitsch itself, Romanticism, according to Broch, was “the mother of Kitsch.”  His historical view of the birth of Kitsch is a fascinating tale of a middle class struggle to create an identity free from both the control of religion and the cultural tastes of the aristocratic class.   Broch wrote that while the Calvinistic/Puritan bourgeoisie longed for “libertinage” a type of secular freedom, they still felt a strong pull toward the theological safety of some religious order in their lives.  And while this middle class had a sense of pride in their ascetic lifestyle that set them apart from the aristocracy, they still had desire for the finer things in life that the aristocratic class owned.

Broch believed that this class struggle, involving these desires and needs, led to a “confusion of the ethical category (of art) with the aesthetic category.”  Romantic Art became a means to express a particular religious cosmology of longing and desire.  Kitsch was a specific product of Romanticism that dictated a specific idea of romantic beauty. “The kitsch system requires it’s followers to ‘work beautifully’ while the art system requires its followers to ‘work well’, concluded Broch.  In other words, there became a distinction between art, which was about working with new aesthetic forms, and that of Kitsch, which became about working in a product oriented mode, with the goal being a specific principle of what beauty should be.  Kitsch, became a aesthetic product.

In 1939 the young art critic Clement Greenberg also labeled Kitsch a product. In his essay Avant- Garde and Kitsch he defined Kitsch as a commodity of the industrial revolution.  He saw kitsch as the opposite of the avant-garde and believed that Kitsch was a specifically designed product for those who were too lazy or uneducated to appreciate authentic art.

“Where there is an avant-garde, generally we also find a rear-guard. True enough — simultaneously with the entrance of the avant-garde, a second new cultural phenomenon appeared in the industrial West: that thing to which the Germans give the wonderful name of Kitsch:…Kitsch, using for raw material the debased and academicized simulacra of genuine culture, welcomes and cultivates this insensibility. It is the source of its profits. Kitsch is mechanical and operates by formulas. Kitsch is vicarious experience and faked sensations. Kitsch changes according to style, but remains always the same. Kitsch is the epitome of all that is spurious in the life of our times. Kitsch pretends to demand nothing of its customers except their money — not even their time.”

To Greenberg the avant guard in art, as represented by young, radical movements like Dadism and Futurism, was a cultural force that pushed society forward.  Kitsch was an aesthetics that mimicked the avant guard and provided products and entertainment for the bourgeoise who were hungry for diversion and escape from their work filled lives.

Both Broch and Greenberg saw the existence of Kitsch dependent on what Broch called the Kitsch-man.  A Kitsch-person was someone who was easily led to appreciate a secondary imitation of something, rather than the original, primary power of the thing or experience. For the Kitsch-person, Kitsch involves a type of escape from any of the responsibilities and difficulties of experiencing genuine art, a type of self-deception.

The actual making of something Kitsch also involves a type of deception. The scholar Matei Calinescu author of The Five Faces of Modernity called kitsch a bewildering and elusive aesthetic commodity that originated with and was subject to the “essential market law of supply and demand.”   He defined kitsch as  a product “incapable of taking the risk involved in true avant gardism” and called it a “specifically aesthetic form of lying.”

Essential to this deception is the intentional obstruction of distinctions.  Dr. Roann Barris. Assoc. Prof. of Art History at Radfod University says that kitsch erases distinctions by placing  “technique above value and erases the distinctions that exist between values which can be found in art and those which are found elsewhere. In other words, kitsch merges art and life because it gives the viewer the answers, it gives the conclusion to a story which does not have to be guessed at and no effort has to be expended in order to understand the ending.”

Both Broch and Greenberg might have considered Steven Spielberg’s movie Lincoln,  as an example, of contemporary Kitsch.  Lincoln is a prefabricated Hollywood movie with all the imposition of political reality removed for the viewer. We know the conclusion of the story and the distinction between historical fact and theatrical fiction is blurred.  A Lady Gaga Mp3 or ACC music file, downloaded to your playing device, is another example of a mass market product where distinctions in quality have been ignored.  Regardless of the type of music, Mp3 and ACC files are a markedly inferior system of sound reproduction compared to the record album technology of 30 years ago, yet they are sold to us as a technological advancement.  These examples are infused into our culture, supported by a kitsch economy that has sold consumers a secondary experience, a experience where the distinction between art and non-art is obliterated.

But are any of these examples cited really evil in the cultural sense that Broch suggests?

Dwight MacDonald’s 1960 book,  Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain,  includes Kitsch in a broad category called Masscult,  the equivalent to popular culture.  MacDonald dreaded Masscult’s inherent dangers which masked at times a “phoney avant-gardism” that he coined Midcult.  Popular culture, according to MacDonald, had too much of a middle-brow tolerance for mediocrity in art.  An ambiguity that tended to be expressed as a “beauty in the mind of the beholder” belief system, a status quo that impaired the underlying function of vital critical thinking: discrimination.

What MacDonald shared with Broch was the concern that if individuals were to lose their collective ability to distinguish genuine art experience from a ersatz commodity, what else would be at stake?  Without critical thinking and discernment we become a society solely pursuing economic goals at the expense of resistance.

Which brings us back around to what it was that Broch found evil about kitsch in 1933 and which is still relevant today.  Kitsch wasn’t simply something that just happened.  Kitsch is manufactured by a political and  economic system engineered to imitate the authentic. Kitsch is an aesthetic manipulation that mimics and forges and fakes for economic exploitation. Broch called Kitsch evil because he realized Kitsch’s potential to misappropriate from humanity, to rob us of what is rich, and bona fide, and rewarding in our lives.

I would like to thank Melanie Parke for her great assistance and contributions in editing this piece.

.

In her 2012 TEDx talk Nina Simon, Executive director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History and author of  The Participatory Museum suggests that museums need to change the way they relate to the general public.  Simon believes that museums need to open up and become places where visitors “can actively participate” and connect with culture and each other.   Museum visitors are thought to be “co-creators”  and “creative agents”, even to the extent that they help select which objects are relevant for their community.  Simon wants to bring political change to museums.

Scott Stulen, project director for the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis,  has a TEDx talk that describes the Walker’s “Open Field” project in some of the same language that Simon uses.  His program takes place outside the Walker Art Center, and is being used to experience “crowd sourced ideas” and build “community”.  Stulen also sees museum visitors as creative participants and wants to give a voice to people who don’t necessarily identify themselves as artists while at the same time “flattening” the hierarchy of the museum.  “People desire connection, they desire community, and a place to share and that’s the power of art, the power of participation”, says Stulen.

What is the origin of these engineered ideas that call for the role of museums to be more participatory?  What is driving the political or social agenda behind the language of “participation”?

Terminologies like – participation, public-private partnerships, social inclusion and diversity – are being used extensively by art organizations from the National Endowment for the Arts down through state and local art agencies and councils.  Organized art advocacy groups no longer talk about the intrinsic contributions of art but rather about economic development and jobs that the “cultural industries” provide.  Artists are considered part of the “creative economy’” and “creativity” no longer attributed mainly to just artists, today’s trend is to consider everyone as creative.  Nina Simon’s activism has it’s roots in a political agenda and it began not in this country but in Europe.

In the late 1990’s then British Labor Party Leader, Tony Blair, began moving his party away from it’s support of liberal socialism to a new incarnation of the party,  the New Labor Party.  This reinvention reject liberal socialism for a new type of political platform called The Third Way.  Proponents saw The Third Way as  a political path between the liberal social platforms of the left and conservative social  and economic ideas.  Critics called it a sell out of liberal socialism for capitalism. Supporters of The Third Way, who would included Bill Clinton in the US, described the reinvented economic aspects of The Third Wave as a mixture of social ideals with an economy built around both public and private investments.

A key advisors to Tony Blair and supporter of The Third Way was author Charles Leadbeater who wrote of a future economy moving away from production to one that would be knowledge based.  Leadbeater believed that the economy and society would be stronger if people were given more freedom but also more responsibility for all aspects of their lives.  He proposed a “participation” in society and called for more “social inclusion and diversity.”   Leadbeater’s key concept is that  of a renewed ‘Individualism’ that was to replace the old ideas of collectivism.  The individual would be empowered to take charge of their own life with the idea that if everyone is following their own desire and goals then the collective society would be more productive and efficient.  The reality of this trope of individual freedom and responsibility would be that social programs would be devalued and reduced along with the removal of government obligations for the poor and elderly, education, healthcare etc.  In reality “individualism” sounded better than it really was.

How did Leadbeaters ideas impact the Arts?

A 2001 green paper delivered by the New Labor Party announced the future was headed toward “individualism”, and declared with exuberance that “Everyone is Creative”.  Four years later Leadbeater’s outlines and the cultural implications of New Labor’s The Third Way were to sound extremely familiar to the ideas expressed in Richard Florida’s 2002 best selling pop-sociology book  The Rise of The Creative Class.

Florida took Leadbeater’s premise of a future knowledge/technological based economy, a future of public/private partnerships and made it sexy.  Florida took individualism and social inclusion and combined them under a usurped notion of “creativity.”   Creativity to Florida is the driving potential for a robust economy revitalizing crumbing cities and communities.  Though the interpretation of his conclusions remain controversial, Florida provided a book of data showing what could happen to communities and cities if people embraced and valued a broadly defined “creative class” of people.

One result of  The Rise of of the Creative Class was a push to think of Art as valuable because it would improve the economy.  Governmental art agencies and art organizations across the county were easily persuaded.  For years the National Endowment for the Arts had been battling with the conservative religious right for the financial survival of their organization and Florida’s book gave them the economic ammunition to fight back.  Talking about art in economic terms rather than it’s intrinsic value was a way that federal and state art organizations could show the arts as worthwhile to conservative politicians.  This eventually changed how we as a society talked about the Arts.

In her book on participatory art “Artificial Hells”, Clair Bishop writes how the focus on the arts changes when political and social leaders ask the question: what can art do for society?

“ The answers included increasing employability, minimising (sic) crime, foster aspiration- anything but artistic experimentation and research as values in and of themselves. The production and reception of the arts was therefore reshaped within a political logic in which audience figures and marketing statistic became essential to securing public funding.”

This line of thinking shifts the focus on art from it’s deeply rooted, intrinsic value to it’s economic value.  It suggests that art is only valuable if it can be shown to be profitable for business and the economy, if it can build community diversity, increase participation in approved behavior, create inclusion in attitudes that are deemed positive for society by those in charge.

Buzz words have been employed in the arts sector to foster the idea of economic responsibility, the key element in Leadbeater’s “individualism.”   Words like –  participation, self-realization, crowd-sourcing, stake-holders – all enforce the goal of individual responsibility and foster the whole. This allows governmental responsibility to quietly slip into the shadows.  Bishop goes on, “Since the Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition came to power in may 2012 the devolution of responsibility has accelerated: David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, ostensibly a form of people power in which the public can challenge how services such as libraries, schools, police and transport are being run, in fact denotes a laissez-faire model of government dressed up as an appeal to foster  ‘anew culture of voluntarism, philanthropy, social action’. It’s a thinly opportunist mask; asking wageless volunteers to pick up where the government cuts back, all the while privatizing those services that ensure equality of access to education, welfare and culture.”

The type of participation referred to in Simon’s TEDX talk  is one of social inclusion.  While populist participation has many positive attributes, my concern is that when too many agencies and institutions impose upon art the role of community organizer and social healer, the vitality of artist led critical thinking is lost.  What is at stake is squeezing out the already ostracised queer voice, the overt sexual voice, the voice of anarchy. The danger is losing the individual voices of the few, the voices that challenge, voices that question or prompt new ideas in society, to a populist voice that homogenizes the culture. Participation, as Bishop writes, can refer to positive “self-realization and collective action” or it can be used for the “elimination of disruptive individuals” by those in power.

Thanks to Melanie Parke for her assistance and editing of this post.

You can’t shoot someone if you don’t have a gun.

This piece is the first part of a series I’m calling  How I Came to Think About Art.  I want to take a look at what have been the cultural and political influences that have shaped my thinking about what Art is and how I think about it.

In his book “The Artists in American Society” author Neil Harris provides a detailed picture of how art and artists were thought of in the United States between 1790 to 1860.

When our new republic was being formed many of the leaders in the colonies saw America as a blank slate, an opportunity for a fresh start as a society.  John Adams, one of the most famous of those, had no desire to emulate the European cultural heritage he saw themselves as fleeing from. Harris suggests that Adams and others distrusted and even feared art as a symbol of a wealthy aristocracy, “Everything pointed to the fact that the arts were the attainments immediately preceding national decline.”

Art was suspect to the founders because it was thought to have been used in Europe by the church and Kings and Queens to manipulate and rule.  Adams and others were skeptical of artists as having been accomplices and pawns of those in power. Fearing the social consequences of the fine arts Adams said that from “the dawn of history they (the fine arts) have been prostituted to the service of superstition and despotism.”

Art was thought of as dangerous to piety, social character, and individualism. Personal restraint and a virtuous character were believed to be the key to freedom and a just society.  Harris writes that “anything associated with passion”  was suspect and the arts were a prime suspect.

Decades after John Adams expressed his concerns about  the corruption of society by art  the Transcendentalists were to fear the corruption of the individual spirit by art or any influence of organized religion and political parties.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, and Louisa May Alcott wrote about the inherent goodness of humans and saw nature as a pure reflection of God.  The artists role began to be thought of by Transcendentalists as one that would devoutly represented nature through art, and they believed that artists could only perform that task if they themselves were honest and  pure in intention.  “The Transcendentalists saw art…..as a means of individual fulfillment and as a symbol of a people living in harmony with nature….(they) valued art energy, not art achievement, the artist’s life rather than the artists works.”  (Harris)

Several aspects of these early ideas about Art still reside within us today. Many still see art as an extravagance. Wealthy artists and even wealthier patrons who buy their art are criticized as less pure while we forget that sports stars and bankers have always made and spent far more.  To some, any Art outside the most conventional is representative of the decline of society.  To often we  fear that the artist is trying to pull something over on us.  Conservative politicians and religious groups to this very day protest any Art with  the least bit of sexuality that receives any type of public support or is exhibited in any public institution. In the late 1990‘s the National Endowment for the Arts was forced to stop providing public support directly to artists because of outcries of taste and monetary waste.  While we say we value the arts in education it is considered the acceptable first thing to cut from public school budgets when hard choices need to be made.

In 1970 The Beatles released their penultimate studio Album Let it Be  shortly after the group announced that they would no longer make music together . One of the songs that appeared on the album was John Lennon’s I Dig a Pony.  Lennon, who was know for often saying disparaging things about his compositions, said he thought his song was  “a piece of garbage”.

I Dig a Pony
Well you can celebrate anything you want
Yes you can celebrate anything you want
Ooh
I do a road hog
Well you can penetrate any place you go
Yes you can penetrate any place you go
I told you so

All I want is you
Everything has got to be just like you want it to
Because-

I pick a moon dog
Well you can radiate everything you are
Yes you can radiate everything you are
Oh now
I roll a stoney
Well you can imitate everyone you know
Yes you can imitate everyone you know
I told you so

All I want is you
Everything has got to be just like you want it to
Because-

I feel the wind blow
Well you can indicate everything you see
Yes you can indicate everything you see
Oh now
I load a lorry
Well you can syndicate any boat you row
Yes you can syndicate any boat you row
I told you so

All I want is you
Everything has got to be just like you want it to
Because-

I was a young man entering high school when Let It Be was released.  Today I see these lyrics and the song itself  as an effective metaphor for the poetic potential in art. The guitar and bass introduction sounds like the bridge or the middle of the song rather than the beginning, suggesting that it doesn’t matter where anything begins, any spot will do.  The opening line “I dig a pony”  is ridiculous but ripe with promise. For me the song is a call for expansion, to push outward, and it makes me want to go into my studio and do something.

Through making and looking at art, any kind of art, we can “celebrate”, “penetrate”, “radiate”, “Imitate”, “indicate”, and “syndicate”, anything we want to know or be or do.
I Dig a Pony  is a good starting point and title for this new collection of writings, which I write, hoping to do some of my own penetrating and radiating.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,515 other followers