READING CULTURE, ART WRITING PROJECTS Reviews, Artist Profiles, Essays, and Independent Projects. Article: The culture of reading
I have always been interested in our reading of culture and its importance in our social fabric. culture in all its forms; High and low, traditional and popular, dominant and underground, all epitomize diverse social values and embody social tendencies among collective groups.
With the rise of internet streaming and on-demand access to TV shows, movies, music, and even e-books, we are absorbing culture at a rapid pace and have the ability to filter out what we don’t like and just take in what we do. There’s no need to apologize for our tastes and while some of us don’t readily admit what kind of pop culture we like to consume (Real Housewives, anyone?!), we can have easy conversations about why or why we don’t like certain forms of popular culture. There is little shame in stating your preferences and tastes, and most of the time, we can all agree not to agree. Specifically, we can have hilarious conversations about why we don’t watch Game of Thrones, because we can’t put ourselves through that kind of emotional trauma, in our little spare time.
But why don’t we talk freely about art? In my work, I seem to have encountered an astonishing number of people who do not trust their opinions about art. They fear being wrong and resist sharing their ideas about art, especially the big, bad, and unconventional contemporary genre. Others may be more inclined to say what attracts them to a particular room, but describe their statements something like, “I like it, I don’t know if I understand, but I like X, Y, Z.” “.
But why can’t we talk freely about art? In my field, I seem to have encountered an astonishing number of people who don’t trust their views on art. They fear being misunderstood and resist sharing their ideas about art, especially in the big, bad, and unconventional contemporary genre. Others might be more inclined to state what they gravitate towards in a particular room, but describe their sentences with something like “I like this, I don’t know if I understand, but I like X, Y and Z”.
I think the main trigger for the fear of sharing explicit interpretations of art is that there’s this pressure to understand it, as if all the fine art in a museum gallery, whether it’s exhibitions, paintings, videos or sculptures, came from complex cultural reference works. Hence the universal fear that if we don’t know the artist’s true intentions behind a particular work, we may get it “right” or “wrong”. The fact that street performers like Banksy seem to be the exception rather than the rule supports this claim. Filled with explicit references to American corporate and consumer culture, Banksy’s art is more “easy” to understand and, therefore, more popular with the masses.
The point I want to make is that Banksy’s art is always the rule, not the exception. All arts fit into high and low culture, past and present, in literature, music, and fine arts, as Banksy does. In fact, once you’ve devoured enough high and low culture at various points in history, you can start to see it referenced in all forms of popular culture.
In music, we often see fault lines and appropriate bridges from previous decades. What was once a ’70s pop song, may be adapted into a techno track in 2015. Please Don’t Stop the Music for Pop Princess RiRi is Michael Jackson’s music acquisition from Wanna be startin’ Something. Interestingly enough, Michael Jackson captured the melody from Manu Dibango’s 1972 song Soul Makossa. So for three decades we’ve had the same vocals repeat themselves on the music charts.
Listen, a cool guy on the internet has already done a mashup for us to listen to:
We see all of this very similarly in movies that steal plots from the literary canon. Clueless, for example, is inspired by Jane Austen’s story of Emma, and Brother Grimm’s story of Cinderella has been reinterpreted many times. In fact, most fairy tales have been altered by a Walt Disney filter that captured the good and made the ugly more kid-friendly.
Reading art as a proper culture in the same way we do films, novels, music, and trivial television is an important tool for understanding the basic concepts of contemporary art. Often, if a particular symbol reminds viewers of another form of culture, we can assume that the artist did it for a purpose. More importantly, if there is anything that appears to be vaguely referring to a policy, you can be sure that it is a policy. Always follow your instincts.
Mirka Mora once told me that when she is completely immersed in painting, she hears music. Strong symphonies resound in his mind. Hearing this, I longed for the day when I could be free to be creative. Then I discovered that when I look at Craig Handley’s paintings, they remind me of the writings of Raymond Carver. Carver is one of my favorite writers, and looking at Handley’s work is like reading a passage from one of his short stories. Handley only paints sections of a scene and never presents entire scenes to viewers. In that way, he looks like Carver, who didn’t tell us much but never revealed the full story. I love that the writer and artist trust their readers and viewers, and that their interpretation and impression of where the story is headed and where it came from is just as powerful as he already imagined.
When we look at art, we look not only at what we see, but at everything that surrounds it and influences its creation. As time passes and history is made, appropriation continues to influence and seep into everything that is produced and what will eventually emerge in the future of art history law. In this way, the high and low culture of the arts, music and literature come together to become part of a collective human imprint, and a sign of our social inclinations, values and politics.
READING CULTURE, ART WRITING PROJECTS
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