Monday, April 21, 2008

Music VS. Visual Art

Visual art is important to me. I look at art constantly in as many places as possible and I make art. I find it sad and astonishing that so many people are able to offer up fear and ignorance without any qualms about the visual arts, in a way that they don't about music or movies. Why is it that you never hear people say, "I don't know much about music, but I know what I like." You will hear people say which music or movies genres, artists, groups, songs they like and dislike quite easily without that "I don't know much" disclaimer.

Maybe it has to do with how easily music and movies are distributed throughout our culture, but artwork is physical, tangible, palpable and hard to get to. And then there's what I call the white cube phenomenon. Art galleries and museums tend to be such forbidding edifices, all white and glossy inside, the guests walking in great silence, moving from object to object at respectful distances, never sitting and looking, just moving. The floors are hard, the spine takes a jolt, the jaunt becomes physically wearying, and the food is cute, but expensive. When I would gallery sit at the ARC Gallery, I would get phone calls from potential visitors asking if there was an admission price, if they needed a ticket, if there was a dress code. I find this very, very sad.

Clearly, the system, the cultural system is not disseminating enough art throughout the culture. I wonder why we can't turn on the television, replete with hundreds of channels, to the Art Institute channel, or to a potential Dada TV channel. Or maybe we have to organize field trips for adults, so that once a year every adult in the U.S. has to attend a visual arts event. Just a thought.

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