Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Loving the Authoritarian

For days, a David Bowie song went around in my head, just out of reach . . . couldn't quite hear what it was . . . then I realized, or thought I did, that it was Loving the Alien--a great song, though not my favorite, which is of course Ashes to Ashes. And then there are sentimental favs like The Prettiest Star. Anyway, when I heard more clearly the song that had been nagging me, it turned out to be, not Loving the Alien, but Loving the Authoritarian . . . quite a different thing, given that authoritarianism presumes to a sort of intimacy. It says: I know you and, even better, you know me. You know what I can do for you, thus you know how much you need me. How much you need to give in to me.
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Speaking again as Art Snark,let me say: don't do it. Don't give in. Works of art claim no authority, try to exercise none. They mean all that they do only if you are free . . . if you are indifferent to authority and those who try to impose it on you. This is obvious, who doesn't know it? No one, for no one would say: I am weak and fearful and am looking for someone to tell me what to think about art. No one would say that and yet the art world is full of art-lovers who love, even more than art, being told what think about art. I don't understand this. Will return to the subject the moment I see even the faintest glimmer of light on the subject.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Karen 5.0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

January 26, 2010 at 3:11 PM  
Blogger Art Snark said...

I didn't say that I need any one to tell me what to like. I said that I am baffled by people who do need that--who let authoritarians like the writers at October, for example, tell them not only what to like but why to like it. As for what I like, there is Bronzino, for starters. Then Pollock, certain early works by Georgia O'Keeffe, late Caravaggio, and lots, lots more . . .

January 26, 2010 at 6:07 PM  
Blogger Karen 5.0 said...

Forgive my too-quick reading of your post. I, too, am baffled by people who need to be told what to think. And I don't think this unfortunate characteristic is strictly confined to the art world.

Some would say that critics are intrepid explorers of territories that many prefer not to investigate for any number of reasons. I agree that some of them have been raised to a level of importance (either self-done or otherwise) that intimidates. The problem is that many art and culture lovers have neither the time nor the inclination to see and hear all that there is to be seen and heard, and so rely on their favorite critic(s) to light the way.

I am not in this camp - I prefer to see and hear the things myself and like them or not like them without regard to what everyone else says. I was not afraid to write a positive review of the Shakespeare in the Park production of "The Bacchae," for example, despite the flood of negative reviews. I liked it and saw it twice!

I like Titian, Pollock, O'Keeffe, Avery, Dove, Klee, Kandinsky, and yes, countless others!

January 27, 2010 at 5:35 AM  

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