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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What is art these days?

No one should ever expect to make a living creating art. It can happen, but it shouldn't be an expectation. If you've ever tried a product that come from an "artistic" business, you know it's pretty lame. A Hollywood movie, a major network TV reality show, an album by a singer, all that stuff looks like art, but in reality a Mariah Carey song or another Survivor show or a group of superheroes saving the world is not art. Entertainment, surely, but art? No.

You see, the definition of art that I am taking here is one that pushes the boundaries of our corporate life together, not something that once again supports and identifies the corporations who are pushing our "lives." So, if you're at the boundary pushing us out of our comfort zones, pushing us away from the stuff we love and cherish, pushing us out of the security we've built for ourselves, why should we pay you for that? Why should you expect to make a living from making my life uncomfortable? Why do "artists" need to eat if all they're going to do is show me the nihilism that comes from eating? Starve artists!

But, of course, people want to go into the industries (no artistic endeavors allowed) so that they can do "art-like" things. Acting in another solipsistic drama about a troubled marriage that leads to infidelity and a sudden denouement by the 45th minute is not art. It's the drama business, and as TNT network reminds us, "We know drama." (They make no claim about art.) Having a singer sing about "Not doing anything" makes for a fun video, but is not art. It's the music business. (Bruno Mars' Lazy Song)

Art has always been this way. I am sure even Michelangelo complained about the "business" side of painting a church. (What do you mean I can't use cerulean blue? Pshaw!) So if you want to act, or sing, or write a book, or paint a picture-- go ahead, join the business, but I am not convinced that it is art. And you see, I might be wrong.

The very stuff of TV, Hollywood, Soho galleries, and HarperCollins trades might all be art for all I know. But if the stuff that comes out of those places is art, well, I'd rather starve. I know I fall into a long line of people who have said that art is what no one pays attention to (I'm looking at you Van Gogh...Picasso, you can have a seat.) And you know what? At the age of 50, I'm OK with that. I don't need my "art" to entertain me while I am living, I need my art to help me make sense of why I am dying.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

1 comment:

Chris said...

great last line! :)