Saturday, May 31, 2008

What happened to history and art?

Hegel described the idea of an end to history. If you think about the context of Hegel was describing, he was talking about an event that changes everything and which leaves the world in a transitional state. The end of the Napoleon era is an example of an end of history event. After Napoleon you had the rise of countries that had never really been all together, together, like Germany and Italy. England soon became the lone superpower, at least for a short while. France managed to remain the cultural center, but the art had changed. A romantic art had arisen out of the ashes of the Neo-Classical. The romantic art included a great many styles of art ranging from the expressionistic to the realistic. Everything was influx until the road to iconoclastic art started with the Impressionists and played out until the 1980’s. An event within many of our lifetime is the fall of the Soviet Union. The US was declared the lone superpower for a little while. And now we are seeing the rise of China and India. Europe has become even more unified in a very short time. Art styles and content are all over the map in this Post Modern period of art making. Yet again we are finding ourselves in an end of history moment in time. This is a great opportunity for artists and the world to set the projection of history for maybe the next 100 years.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Parameters and Art

What are the parameters of art?

What are the parameters which make a bunch of words poetry?

What are the parameters which make a drawing or painting art?

What are the parameters which make an 3-D entity a sculpture?

What are the parameters which make sounds music?

Monday, May 19, 2008

On Literature and Health

My posting On Literature and Health can be found at The Emerson Institute for Freedom and Culture's blog.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

RIP, Robert Rauschenberg

Now that Rauschenberg has died, perhaps we can move beyond (be finished with) his kind of late Modernist/postmodern art. Some of his works were interesting. Some were clever. But if we judge him by his effect on art, I'm not sure how well he'll be judged. Naturally, everyone's throwing in their two cents' worth, from Left to Right. His iconoclasm will undoubtedly be praised -- but what is praiseworthy about attacking what is at the very center of art? In the end, praising one's iconoclasm is praising one's hatred for beauty.

Over on TCSDaily, there is an interview with Tom Wolfe who admitted that artists create for the same reason as God created: for their own glory. This is perhaps true enough. The artist does in a sense pull works out of "airy nothingness" (Shakespeare). More, artists seem compelled to create. And what are they creating but parts of themselves? An artist's art is a reflection of his or her soul, whatever else it may be. More, it is also an attempt to transform the world to reflect the artist him- or herself -- to approve of the things the artist approves of, to condemn the things the artist condemns, to see the world the way the artist sees it. That can be comic, tragic, or romantic, beautiful or ugly, serious or nonserious.

Who, then, was Rauschenberg? ANd what kind of world was he trying so hard to create?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Literary Studies as Science

There is hope yet for literary studies. One hopes people like Gottschall do finally take over our English departments. Of course, the fact that he has already been editor for a major book and now has out another major book of his own but is still only able to get an adjunct position says a lot about the current state of our English Departments.

Monday, May 5, 2008

The Tedious and the Repellent

The New Criterion has a good article on the Shvarts "art" case. In this article, the author describes contemporary avant garde art as showing that "the unutterably tedious can cohabit seamlessly with the repellent." If that isn't an apt description of much pomo art, I don't know what is.