Some thoughts on art...
I hear it all the time: art is really intimidating. Maybe it is so, most of the art world, like any other industry, does make its money by implanting the idea of unattainability in our minds. Same principles apply to other big markets like haute couture, high-end design and top-of-the-line technology. But before you play art off as some boring thing for the rich to understand, take a moment to delve on its true importance.
Art is among the most sublime, meaningful and redeeming creations of civilization. We look at our ancestors, and all the ridiculous shit they've done to each other, and all the madness we've inherited, and we can give them a break without hesitation because we've also gained an infinite amount of riches in beauty.
Lots of philosophers over the years have debated what art is, and to this day there's still not a concrete concept. In fact, the dictionary gives the vaguest definition of it. That is because its meaning relies on defining beauty and meaningfulness, that old saying “the eye of the beholder” and whatnot...it's a cliché for a reason. Don't get me wrong, art is in a way a social contract, it's not the same to observe a piece in a museum than a poster on the street. We as a collective decide what goes here or stays there; we mark its price by giving it less or more importance. But the experience...this, in my humble opinion, is an individual one, so the enjoyment we get out of it relates back to each person's background, knowledge and sensibilities.
Why should I care?
What would be the best we've got to offer if it came to an alien invasion and we had to tuck away our best accomplishments as a race? Sure, medical treatments and the internet seem like a great idea, but I don't think they will have the same effect in other civilizations (plus I think most of us can agree that aliens don't need those extra weapons we've stashed... everywhere). Isn't art a more interesting way to show what we are made of? We are a conscious race, that not only survives, but thrives and creates. I, for one, would like that ending better. Aliens rediscovering our world and imagining us standing under Van Gogh's Starry Night, dancing away to Nina Simone's voice or strutting to work on some Alexander McQueen vintage ensemble. Wouldn't that be something? Few things can communicate better the nature of the human experience than art: music, dance, sculpture are not a matter of survival, but a way of grasping our potential as humans. Yup, this ending is way better.
So it brings us back to the question: why should I care? You don't have to, but you should. Art is a reflection of our times, and will enrich your life immensely; it's a direct path to the collective unconscious we all share, and an escape from the mundane. Once you start opening up to it, you'll soon realize art is not only in museums (although they are important). You encounter it everyday – in your breakfast, in your closet, in the mirror.
If you don't believe, just take a quick look at this spectacle from Alexander McQueen circa 1999. Is it art? Is it fashion? A performance or a high-tech display? Does it matter? Does it make you feel something?
Luckily, developing a spontaneous understanding of art is not as hard as you might think. Yes, it's true, some people devote their whole lives to understanding a little brushstroke in a Van Gogh, but there's no need to be an expert to establish a meaningful relationship with art. In fact, all it really takes is the willingness to reflect on your own feelings and emotions when it confronts you. Isn't that great?
Welcome to my blog…
So finally, we have arrived to the heart of the matter: I believe that art is out there to be felt, to be recognized, appreciated and loved. I trust we all the capacity to see the art in everything...especially if you know where it comes from, how it came about and what it meant for the artist to put it out there. This is why I've started this space – to share what I've learned, and encountered, to have a place to dump all the exciting things that come to my strange, little mind as I experience this great city that is New York, and to offer to anyone who's willing to read a fresh way to experience it all. Let's hang out here, at El Museo!
I'm just starting out, so I'm eager to hear from you. Feel free to leave any questions, thoughts and suggestions in the comments below.