Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bergen at Washington and Can Art Save the World?

A 12x24 oil on canvas of Bergen Street at Washington Avenue in Brooklyn.

I recently read Culture and the Death of God by Terry Eagleton.   He writes, "An art which is its own raison d'etre is an eloquent riposte to exchange-value, but it is not easy to see how it can redeem the world.  For the radical Romantics, art represents the values we live for, but it is not for art that we live.  Autonomy is a political as well as aesthetic value, so that the self-dependence of the work of art speaks of more than itself.  Somewhere between Shelley and Tennyson, this insight is mislaid.  The imagination gradually ceases to be a political force.  As the era of industrial capitalism unfolds, the autonomy of the artwork begins to speak only of itself.  Radical Romanticism melts into fin-de-siecle aestheticism.  Art itself comes to stand in for the promesse de bonheur it once held out."

If you have ever read The Art Spirit by Robert Henri, you will remember that he writes that the making of the work of art is more important than the final product, as far as the artist is concerned.  Recently, I read an essay, which takes this further and includes everyone,  by the painter Jordan Wolfson with the title How Painting Can Help Save the World, Actually.  Go to:  http://paintingperceptions.com/art-politics/how-painting-can-help-save-the-world-actually.  Wolfson I think is convincing that art does indeed stand for more than itself.   Let me know what you think?

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