Monday, February 22, 2010
Thomas Hart Benton
Art Without Compromise by Wendy Richmond
Chapter 2 "Culture's Frames and Filters"
Section 7 "Respecting Culture"
Before we begin our discussion of the next section of Wendy Richmond's book, I'll share this email with you:
My publisher just forwarded your blog to me and I am so delighted (and
impressed with your blog!) I am currently in a crazy travel week and away from email and internet, but I do look forward to joining the discussion about my book during the next few weeks!
And just FYI, a link to YouTube about my current show...overheard
With warmest regards,
To view Wendy's exhibition go here: Overheard
My goodness! I look forward to Wendy's comments, and I think she'll enjoy reading yours, which have so much substance and insight.
By now, you're well aware of the fact that Chapter 2 deals with culture and art, and each section considers another facet of this gem. This section begins with likening artists to cultural alchemists who transform what we know into something else that becomes an artistic statement. This leads the author to ask: What happens to culture as it passes through us? Do we alter the meaning of a symbol or pattern by changing its context? Do we even understand the meaning of the elements we are using? And, she asks if artists have the right to appropriate from other cultures. And, is it really appropriation or is it creativity?
Our discussions over the past couple of days provided answers to many of these questions. Your insights and opinions are informative and I'll refer my readers to review the past few blogs to read your comments. Here, we'll look at how the author answers her own questions.
First of all, artists are identified as "visual communicators" whose responsibility it is to try to understand the cultural images created. She wisely points out that our ignorance will make us vulnerable, and relates her own personal experience which you can read in her book. And, I can relate to making mistakes from ignorance. If I tried to relate all those mistakes to you I'd have to write my own book! Too many to name.
So, Ms. Richmond concludes, the more knowledge and awareness we have of the ways we use culture, the better and more honest our work will be. Looks like we have to do our homework.
Before concluding, I'd like to consider one of the author's questions with a slight modification:
Where is the dividing line between appropriation and creativity?