Monday, 14 May 2007

"What else are we missing?"

Michael Evans sends me this thought for the day:
"Artists are the antennae of the race, but the bullet-headed many will never learn to trust the great artists."- Ezra Pound
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I missed this from last month's Washington Post. They had the idea of placing one of America's finest violinists as a busker in the morning rush and gauging the reaction.
Pearls Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation's great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let's find out.
By Gene Weingarten. Washington Post Staff Writer. April 8
"In his 2003 book, Timeless Beauty: In the Arts and Everyday Life, British author John Lane writes about the loss of the appreciation for beauty in the modern world. The experiment at L'Enfant Plaza may be symptomatic of that, he said -- not because people didn't have the capacity to understand beauty, but because it was irrelevant to them.
"This is about having the wrong priorities," Lane said.
If we can't take the time out of our lives to stay a moment and listen to one of the best musicians on Earth play some of the best music ever written; if the surge of modern life so overpowers us that we are deaf and blind to something like that -- then what else are we missing?"

(via Bob Morales)
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I'm reading Chabon's new book, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and enjoying reading his finely chiseled prose as much as he appears to have enjoyed writing it, though of course it is generally wise for one to avoid the presumption that a writer got any kind of similar pleasure from the writing of a work as one got from reading it.
"And just last week, amid the panic and feathers of a kosher slaughterhouse on Zhilovsky Avenus, a chicken turned on the scochet as he raised his ritual knife and announced, in Aramaic, the imminent advent of Messiah... the miraculous chicken offered a number of startling predictions, though it neglected to mention the soup in which, having once more fallen silent as God Himself, it afterward featured. Even the most casual study of the record, Landsman thinks, would show that strange times to be a Jew have almost always been, as well, strange times to be a chicken."
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If you've never seen Alan Moore's drawings of Glycon and Asmodeus, John Coulthart shows them here, and you can enlarge them enough to appreciate the detail.
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Neil Gaiman has the photos of the wedding of Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie. I saved that till the end knowing that if you went there first you'd forget to come back here.

Labels:

10 Comments:

Blogger spacedlaw said...

I'd seen this mentioned about the musician - how he was mostly ignored in the rush.
Those people's loss, really.
I find beautiful music in the morning might possibly be the best booster for the day. Something profound and sweeping that you carry with you, that bring rythm and harmony to the hours ahead.
Silly world.
N.

14 May 2007 12:54:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

I don't know if rush hour is the best time to judge people on their reactions to the arts. Where I live, rush hour is spent trying not to be killed by drivers, whom I'm sure want to die, and take as many people as they can with them. I believe that most people do want beauty and art in their lives, but we must have faith that they will seek it out when they want it. We can no more force it upon people then we can trick them into reading comics, by placing them in popular magazines. Furthermore, we cannot assume that everyone's esthetics are as ours are, and then conclude that they are some sort of artistic lost cause, because they care not for what thyn eyes covet. Oh, and the Moore wedding looks like it was wild.

14 May 2007 1:54:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

After I mentioned that Violinist article in my blog about a month ago, I stumbled upon another article of interest: How Do You Get To the Subways? Practice, Practice.

14 May 2007 3:23:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello sir,
Just wanted to say hi, as I'm a big fan of your comics. Stumbled onto this website/bog? by chance, lots of interesting stuff I shall return!
2009 for Mr Thompsons new work!, ah well at least he has a blog with some nice teasers...So glad there is a reasonably steady flow of great art being released (I include fate of the artist). I do oftenfind myself returning to early Alec and Bacchus(Spelling?)etc alot of the time though. Got a copy of Graffiti Kitchen for 50p in my local 2nd hand bookshop,its great by the way, a real steal!
Love the punk planet cover-good magazine. Grinderman-superb.
cheers
Lee paul christien

14 May 2007 8:08:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous John C said...

I read that WaPo piece earlier and found it a bit...er, not sure what. Disingenuous? Art doesn't exist in a vacuum, it needs context and space for appreciation. And it quite often needs our fullest concentration for that appreciation to develop. That place would have had terrible acoustics, a great deal of extraneous noise and he was doing something--busking--which people are used to ignoring since many of them (I speak from experience, having busked with friends) regard buskers as mere beggars with pretensions. Even if they do have violins worth $3M.

There were also some unfortunate snobbish assumptions that came out of that piece, as there were with that Milan Kundera extract you referred to earlier. The assumption that one should immediately recognise the "greatness" of something simply because many people already believe it has this value.

People who see things in those terms often forget how much contextual background they're bringing to their appraisal of something, whether it's a painting, a book or a piece of music. Many art galleries now have little explanations of Greek mythology and so on to let people know who the characters are in paintings because people aren't being taught this at school any more. Kundera made some comment that Flaubert's statement, "Madame Bovary, c’est moi" will outlast his novel. Well it might if people still remember why he said it and to what it refers, none of which Kundera took the time to explain since he assumes we know that already.

I had an invite to the wedding but couldn't make it, unfortunately. But I posted a scan of Melinda's beautiful card. Alan wanted to have a top hat made but apparently his head is too big for the largest size. So he's officially big-headed now.

14 May 2007 8:53:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

Wasn't Ezra Pound a Nazi sympathizer? (Or was it more complicated than that?)

14 May 2007 8:56:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger drjon said...

I believe Pound, who was resident in Italy, was both an antisemite, and supported the Fascisti (which, by extention, means he was a NAZI sympathizer, one can safely asssume).

However, as has previously been said, it is only a fool who judges the art by the artist.

14 May 2007 10:48:00 pm GMT-5  
Blogger HemlockMan said...

Yep, you got dat right.

For some reason, Pound is someone whose work I've never read. Some many other authors I read tend to reference him in some way, but I manage to keep avoiding reading his work.

15 May 2007 6:30:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

"Furthermore, we cannot assume that everyone's esthetics are as ours are, and then conclude that they are some sort of artistic lost cause, because they care not for what thyn eyes covet."

uh, no, Christopher. Some things are not up for subjective approval. If you opine that, say, Shakespeare's Hamlet, or Bach's chaconne for solo violin are not masterpices of artistic achievement, then you have voted to make a mockery of the very idea of achievement. You have taken the key and opened the gates to the barbarian hordes, inviting them in, or in the words of the Eyeball Kid, 'step in Chaos, have another buttered scone.'

16 May 2007 1:35:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Christopher Moonlight said...

I see your point. I will think on it. I believe that I have spent to much time bulking against Harlan Ellison trying to tell me what to think, and it's put me a little too much on the offence.

16 May 2007 2:11:00 am GMT-5  

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