Monday, July 09, 2012

The Soul of Art

Yesterday two articles appeared online. One by Seth Godin is a blog post titled Art fears business fears art. He is right. Or is he? Is it fear? Or is it measured caution? The other article printed in the Times is about organic food and its sublation by big food in its efforts to grow and keep up with supply. Agri-food steps up when it realizes it can capitalize on the public's trust in the organic label. Organic is safe, it is free of harmful additives because government regulation prevents business from monkeying with its purity. The Times article cautions that when big business gets hold of the idea of organic it becomes compromised by its own success. Big becomes the problem. Homogeneity is inherent in the over scaling of profits and production.

Art, on the other hand, is made by the independent thinking artist working alone in the studio. Hmmm, tell me again about Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst? Wait, what about Andy Warhol oh and Titian! That renaissance painter that had a factory? These artists example how embracing business can be profitable and powerful for the artists and the world. So, what's the problem? I guess my concern, like the organic label in food, is that when art becomes part of something over scaled, it loses what makes it art. Not its purity, because I for one don't believe in purity in the first place. But maybe it loses a little bit of its soul. 

Art, like food, feeds us, nourishes us. Food feeds the body, art feeds the soul. If you don't believe in the soul, then there is not problem. But, I just think a little caution is in order. Art is powerful. When aligned with philosophy it is the single most powerful thing we have in moving people in a direction or inspiring a shift, a change, an evolutionary leap. Art embracing business, I concur, is a great idea. BUT, the artist must maintain control over the product and the message as long as possible. Eventually, it will have a life of its own but in the meantime, Pandora, be conscious.

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