Art is dead. Betty got away without a scratch.

June 6, 2011


A friend of mine, Ed Kuris, has declared that art is dead. He doesn’t claim to be the first to state this. And his reasons for declaring art as dead may have as much to do with the saturation of the market in Guelph, where he lives, as anything. When you say that something is dead, it doesn’t mean that people don’t continue to do it. There are probably more artists, poets, musicians than ever before. It also does not mean that people do not enjoy those mediums. Entertainment is not the issue. What it means, I believe, is that the arts or particular arts do not carry the big ideas of our times any longer. This is an idea that came up in my reading of Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Mind. At one time the great ideas were expressed (in Europe) in the building of cathedrals and the subsequent paintings and scupltures that filled them. Later it was theatre. In some countries, poetry. At another time the novel expressed those ideas. In the beginning of the 20th century it was painting and jazz. In the middle of the 20th century it was film. What I mean by the ‘great ideas’ is a viewpoint on how we view life, reality, our existence. It not only means that artists express that view in that particular medium but also that people are touched by those viewpoints and that those viewpoints change their world both individually and collectively. I’m not sure what medium carries that banner now. It may be rap music, popular videos, or it may be the internet itself. But it is not painting (as my friend declared), the novel, classical music, opera, sculpture, theatre.

One Response to “Art is dead. Betty got away without a scratch.”

  1. This is a repeat of a blog that I wrote some time ago. It’s theme continues to bother me.

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