Art, More about


With continuing research through the early 1970s, and particularly within a musical vein, Ron offered this second, but equally fundamental analysis of just what comprises “that branch of activity we call ART.”

ow good does a professional work of art have to be? This would include painting, music, photography, poetry, any of the arts whether fine or otherwise. It would also include presenting oneself as an art form as well as one's products.

      Yes, how GOOD does such a work of art have to be?

      Ah, you say, but that is an imponderable, a thing that can't be answered. Verily, you say, you have just asked a question for which there are no answers except the sneers and applause of critics. Indeed, this is why we have art critics! For who can tell how good good is. Who knows?

      I have a surprise for you. There IS an answer.

      As you know, I searched for many years, as a sort of minor counterpoint to what I was hardwork doing, to dredge up some of the materials which might constitute the basis of art. Art was the most uncodified and most opinionated subject on the planet--after men's ideas about women and women's ideas about men and man's ideas of man. Art was anyone's guess. Masterpieces have gone unapplauded, positive freaks have gained raves.

      So how good does a work of art have to be to be good?

      The painter will point out all the tiny technical details known only to painters, the musician will put a score through the alto horn and explain about valve clicks and lip, the poet will talk about meter types, the actor will explain how the position and wave of one hand per the instructions of one school can transform a clod into an actor. And so it goes, art by art, bit by bit.

      But all these people will be discussing the special intricacies and holy mysteries of technique, the tiny things only the initiate of that art would recognize.

      They are talking about technique. They are not really answering how good a work of art has to be.

      Works of art are viewed by people. They are heard by people. They are felt by people. They are not just the fodder of a close-knit group of initiates. They are the soul food of all people.

      One is at liberty of course to challenge that wide purpose of art. Some professors who don't want rivals tell their students "Art is for self-satisfaction" "It is a hobby." In other words, don't display or exhibit, kid, or you'll be competition! The world today is full of that figure-figure. But as none of this self-satisfaction art meets a definition of art wider than self for the sake of self, the professional is not interested in it.

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