“A great artist is always before his time or behind it.” George Edward Moore (from Brainyquote)
Are most artists before the times or behind the times? Many art schools push students to explore new avenues, try new and different ways of creating art. Or they push students to seek new and different ways to say what’s been said before. Artists are striving to keep moving either backwards or forwards. No matter which way an artist is moving, the point is to keep moving.
Suppose an artist is fascinated with a particular time or place in history but currently most other artists are working to break new ground, make new history. Going backwards is one way of separating from the pack. The artist going backwards may break new ground, as well. A subject may be explored in ways it hasn’t been explored before. An artist may choose to paint in the style of previous artists but with a modern twist. Or perhaps, an artist is drawn to paint today exactly as it was done in past eras, recreating that style for the modern audience.
Artists seeking to break new ground can be moving fast toward new goals, doing new things. Artists behind the times are moving fast in the other direction. Art lovers of both directions are close on the heels of the artists. What of the people in the middle? They are standing still, not moving in either direction, stuck in their ways.
Whether an artist is ahead of the times, or behind the times, is a good thing. To live in the middle is to stagnate. Celebrate either direction. Just stay out of the middle ground mud or you may get stuck.
Photo by Sacha Goldberger. See more of his Rembrandt inspired photography here and here.
Backyard Butterfly Theatre Company
During the hot summer days, the butterflies in the backyard got bored and decided to put on a few theatre productions to entertain the caretaker of the backyard. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was the first production. That was because the Monarch felt he could only play a part worthy of his regal-ness. The others gave in this time. For the next production, they may not be so willing to let him dictate the choice. We’ll see.
“With the sound of gusting wind in the branches of the language trees of Babel, the words gave way like leaves, and every reader glimpsed another reality hidden in the foliage.” Andrei Codrescu (from Goodreads.com)
The vocabulary of the art world often sounds to others as a strange and different language. It is. Strange and different. So strange and different is this language that many articles and occasionally, books are published to enlighten those living in the dark and unable to speak it. Translations of the language vary, are ever changing and hard to keep up with. But the Art World’s unique speech may have met its match now that it has found its way into the Urban Dictionary.
ArtNews has an article on Artspeak, the book by Robert Atkins. Atkins’ book translates this strange and different language. According to the article, Atkins realizes how this unique language may actually alienate people unable to fully decode it. As Atkins states in the article, “Somehow the language used for describing and discussing art has an unusual opacity, even sadism.” Sadism? No wonder the urban language is moving in on the art language.
Dada is one of those art movements that makes no sense at all and was apparently the purpose of the Dada artists. So why create art that makes no sense and purposely is meant to confuse people? Sounds a bit sadistic. But now we have a new and improved meaning for Dada. According to the Urban Dictionary, “Dada is anti-art, yet art”. “That is so Dada. It breaks all the rules yet make sense.” Really? And one wonders why people think artists are crazy.
So if you haven’t mastered the traditional art speech, have no fear. You can always go with the new art speech found in the Urban Dictionary. FlavorWire.com tells you how. You will soon be able to tell if someone is “a total Picasso.” Or maybe you will notice, happily, that someone is “totally Rembrandt.” But whatever you do, you don’t want to go, “totally Bob Ross!” And that is “so totally Dada.”
Photo is Man Ray’s The Gift, a classic example of Dada Art!