I’m no Anarchist…but I do love the title quote of this post, from Emma Goldman, on the right, smoking a pipe on the beach.
From The Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy: The definition of art is controversial in contemporary philosophy. Whether art can be defined has also been a matter of controversy. The philosophical usefulness of a definition of art has also been debated.
Contemporary definitions are of two main sorts. One distinctively modern, conventionalist, sort of definition focuses on art’s institutional features, emphasizing the way art changes over time, modern works that appear to break radically with all traditional art, and the relational properties of artworks that depend on works’ relations to art history, art genres, etc. The less conventionalist sort of contemporary definition makes use of a broader, more traditional concept of aesthetic properties that includes more than art-relational ones, and focuses on art’s pan-cultural and trans-historical characteristics.
I’ve been thinking BIG THOUGHTS. What does a revolution look like? What does it mean to be a revolutionary? What IS a revolution? This definition appeals to me: “the period made by the regular succession of a measure of time or by a succession of similar events.”
A recent exhibit in Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum: Imitation of Christ (the name of Andy Warhol’s film) curated by Los Angeles-based artist and curator William E. Jones drew from images from the Hammer Museum’s and UCLA’s private collections.
“Jones was asked to take part in the Houseguest series with the Hammer Museum where artists are invited to curate an exhibition based on the museum’s and UCLA’s diverse collection. During his time in the archives he came across an image which stuck in his mind – that of a wounded guerrilla fighter (click for image) taken by Pedro Meyer in Nicaragua in the early eighties. Constrained by the physical space of the Vault Gallery, Jones let the image of the guerrilla fighter become a blueprint for selecting the 45 pieces in the exhibition.”
One of my favorite Revolution How-To’s, from wikiHow: Understand that one of the most important aspects of a revolution is that the people are angry. However, the cause for anger ought to be of true convictions, and in their anger there must also be discipline to their cause. Makes sense to me.
As time goes by, mainstream art emerges from what was once considered ‘revolutionary’: Twombly, Warhol, Rauschenberg.
Artistic expression builds on true convictions. In retrospect, many truest convictions are radical. Thus…is all art radial, or revolutionary? Don’t think so, but nonetheless, my thirst for visual inspiration is indeed one drop in the ocean of artistic revolution…and that is reason enough to take time to observe, and to wade, pour, swim, ascend and in my case travel back in time, as both an art historian and a librarian…through art in all of its forms.
“The art of tomorrow will be a collective treasure or it will not be art at all.”