THE ART IS ALWAYS THE MESSAGE
art is the message ––to paraphrase Marshal
McLuhan’s “the medium is the
old saw about literary art went: ‘if you want to send a message, phone Western
Union and send a telegram.’ Well,
Western Union and the singing telegram have all but gone the way of the
dodo. Still artists are stuck with
the quandary of having to say something terribly important––or at least
until it’s down on paper, or on the canvas, or presented as a Conceptual Art
Idea, there’s nothing to judge. So
the artist has to keep exploring the whole question of Why Make Art In The
satisfy the craving of the artist? Is that enough? Isn’t that pure
escapism? Or maybe what the
world really needs, instead of the
proverbial five cent cigar–– is the opportunity for every last one of us to
express his true self.
IT ART THERAPY.
passion. Or a refuge from the world. I think any message should be sent to
one’s own self first. And then it’s all up for grabs. Out of the passion, or some experimental technique, comes
something to critique.
the artist, himself, always the best judge of his own work? My criterion is: Could I ever duplicate
this painting again? If I
kind of feel a talented stranger pulled the whole thing off, then there’s hope.
I can then decipher the meaning–– the message, if you will. Who knew I had it
in me? For me, the message should
rise out of the passion, as opposed to Political or Propaganda Art where a
passionate message takes precedence over the art.
most of us, I hanker to improve society, change this world for the better. The dynamism of Agit Prop sends a message for its time. But look
how often it descends to propaganda that equates to brain washing. Can this be true artistry as we
Unfortunately, the Art Whores of History
are often equipped with formidable talent. High Art can turn especially
pernicious when it promotes an evil message Leni Riefenstahl comes to mind ––Hitler’s “perfect
German woman”––who managed to turn Hitler, the Fuehrer of the Third Reich, into
a mesmerizing icon in her documentary, “Triumph of the Will”.
often, even with noble intentions, Agit Prop, leads to self-delusion, and over
time, ends up looking foolishly outdated, at best, wrong-headed kitsch.
artists even entitled to let it all hang and be the Art Whores of History? My
feeling is no. The same buck should stop for everyone. We are all accountable.
ART IS THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE
IS THE POWERFUL MESSAGE. That’s why
it never really dies. If there is such a thing as a holy grail of pure artistic
truth out there, perhaps it’s in the timeless understanding that sincerely
executed ART is ultimately liberating for the soul. And the artist balancing on a see-saw of
integrity, has to hope he sent a worthy message along those lines.