Tuesday, July 6, 2010

...But I Know What I Like.

I've always been a fan of guerrilla art. Nothing destructive, of course. Good guerrilla art should be not only provocative, but actually display some talent. I came across this image on the blog LOLGod, which is basically an atheist humor blog that often borders on brilliant.

I can't help but think Darwin would love this piece which appears to be by an artist with whom I am not familiar, KreiBel (a German artist whose work can be viewed here) very much in the style of the elusive British art prankster Bansky. And before you stop reading, no I am not going on another rant about religion and all the terrible things that come from it - there's plenty of evidence for that in the daily headlines (and throughout all of recorded history, for that matter).

No, tonight I am going to talk about art.

Pretentious? No. Good art is never pretentious. Pretentious art is, by definition, bad art. That's not to say all bad art is pretentious. There is plenty of earnest and well-intentioned bad art out there, in all of its forms. And even that has its own merits. But truly good art has to be an honest expression of the artist's intentions, even though those intentions may be interpreted differently by each person who views it. Good art resonates with many people; on many different levels, for many different reasons and in many different ways, but it resonates, none the less. Any and all responses to art are valid, despite one's education or previous exposure to the medium. As the old line goes, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like."

Art usually holds value to only two people: the artist and the viewer who responds to it. You and I may like the same film, but for different reasons, while any given viewer's response may differ wildly from the artist's intentions. As a director, I often tell actors "There is no 'right' way, but there is most definitely a wrong way, and even the least sophisticated audience member can smell BS a mile away."

I have dozens (if not hundreds) of favorite artists, working in almost any medium you can think of: Painters; sculptors; writers; actors; designers; musicians; singers; composers; directors... the lists go on. If forced to choose a favorite artits, in the way in which most people interpret the word, it would have to be Salvador Dali, the Spanish painter/sculptor/filmmaker who in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, redefined 'art' for his generation. My favorite Dali piece usually resides in the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. It is The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

The painting features a beatific Columbus, Dali's wife as the Virgin Mary and more crosses than I have ever been able to actually count. It is a massive work, easily 15' tall by 10' wide (or more) and speaks to me in a way no other painting, sculpture, film, novel or play ever has - and I have absolutely no idea why. I can spend hours lost in the painting, discovering some new extraordinary detail with each and every viewing. Dali was known for painting in a trance, transposing his trance dreams onto the canvas. I try to do that in my own writing, with limited success, though more than one of screenplays has been born out of a dream.

So, what's the point of this post? I'm not exactly sure, except to maybe remind all of you to find art that inspires you. It can be anything from Neolithic cave paintings, Egyptian hieroglyphs or the Sistine Chapel to "Huckleberry Finn," The Nutcracker or Star Wars. It can even be in an amazing rainbow:

Remember: Art Can't Hurt You.

More, anon.

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