March 4, 2009

It's No Longer A Culture

Holy Batman! Vintage World's Finest Comics cover.

Speaking of surfing, a Los Angeles Times article titled "It's gnarly out there for surf gear makers" by Andrea Chang detailed how the recession is hitting surf retailers hard. The article ended on a philosophical note:

"The worst thing about the surf industry is that it's an industry," said Casey Cagle, 19, a surfer and sales associate at Jack's Surfboards in Newport Beach. "It's no longer a culture."

I think I know what young Casey's talking about. Does the idea of soul surfing exist anymore? 

Can the same be said of the arts? As an artist, I've long wondered about the apparent lack of something deeper in the arts of today. Everyone learns an angle and then the hard sell of life and living begins. It shouldn't have to be this way. Art is supposed to be different. Following is a paragraph I jotted down many years ago from an article titled The Ivory Tower of Tearlessness by James Elkins in The Chronicle of Higher Education:

"By imperceptible steps, art history gently drains away a painting's sheer wordless visceral force, turning it into an occasion for intellectual debate. What was once an astonishing object, thick with the capacity to mesmerize, becomes a topic for a quiz show, or a one-liner at a party, or the object of a scholar's myopic expertise. I am still very much interested in Bellini's painting. But the picture no longer visits me in my sleep, or haunts my thoughts, or intrudes on my walks in the countryside. It no longer matters to my life, only to my work."

No comments:

Post a Comment