"Should you study Plato, Epicurus, Descartes, Spinoa, Kant, Hegel, or even Husserl? Esthetics, politics, morality, epistemology, metaphysics? Should you devote your time to teaching, to producing a body of work, to research, to Culture? It makes no difference. The only thing that matters is your intention: are you elevating thought and contributing to the common good, or rather joining the ranks in a field of study whose only purpose is its own perpetuation, and only function the self-reproduction of a sterile elite- for this turns the university into a sect."
It always amazes me how you can stumble upon a phrase or story in a book and it is completely relevant. You stop in your tracks and take a hit of wonder and empathy. This is a sign of great writing, a book that was published by a stranger in another time and place can still relate to you, the reader. This happens regularly for me and the Bible but not so much while reading fictional novels. I am reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog right now and I highly recommend it. It is not just a cute interesting story, but it is great writing.
This quote basically put words to my thoughts concerning my present and my future. I continue to struggle with this idea of success and what kind of future I want to have. Do I want to continue my studio practice or teach?Do I want to teach in a traditional school or focus more on a community organization? Do I want to go into business and open a coffee shop? Does it matter?
This quote is pretty straight forward, it matters that you are working for the good of others. That is success. Any job can be for good. Studio art can help others feel a certain way or it can only be about personal fame. Teaching can be about the students or it can be about ones self.
This past week, I fed my soul through paint, coffee and people watching in the lively New York city. It was marvelous (I will be posting pictures and tales soon)! By the end of the week I had seen art from many cultures and time periods. I had also seen my share of homeless people and struggles. There is such a large spectrum of socioeconomic classes in New York that it is quite daunting. So I was constantly thinking of who I wanted to be, which class do I see future Becca. I spent the last two days looking at the best of the best contemporary art in the Chelsea Galleries. Many of this is very minimalistic and only understood by the art community. It is not necessarily highly technical and yet it is priced higher than many people will see in a year. After a couple galleries full of black and white paper, I had had enough.
What is the piece saying? and why?
The work was just black and white paper, yet people were going on and on trying to conjure up a feeling.
I may be blasphemous. Oh well.
Does it matter if the non art people do not "get it"? Does it matter?
Yes! yes, it should. This contemporary art is doing no good, it is not communicating a concept that will benefit the vast majority. If the piece is not understand by a variety of people on a variety of levels then the art is just perpetuating our own little art world. It is not good, in the sense of doing good. It is not relevant. Art can be aesthetically pleasing AND communicate a meaningful concept AND be felt by art people and non-art people. Just as it is with literature, a great piece of art can relate and make you stop in your tracks and feel.
Thank you for reading through my little rant fest.
*Let me know what you think in the Comments section below