It’s quite possibly time for me to get off of the high horse here about what art is and is not, but for the time being, here’s a few more thoughts.
“Kitsch isnt necessarily evil, its just not great. Its moreso comforting and familiar, which is not inherently bad, it just isn’t truly life giving. Kitsch may have the capability to recall life, but not the ability to transfer new life. Kitsch is the stillborn child of craft. Kitsch allows us to easily understand and therefore never presses us into uncomfort, never questions our stance or thoughts. Kitsch merely confirms and affirms all that we already believe. Kitsch never forces us to be vulnerable, which means that we are never able to receive something new from it.
All of this is to say the for something to truly be art, it must be alive and life giving. Art make can make us uncomfortable, because it is creative and therefore an addition to humanity and culture. The vulnerability that art can create is precisely the reason that it can be so impacting. It is something beyond us and therefore something that we don’t already grasp or posses. It challenges us and won’t let us sit idly by. This challenge also leads to its disapproval. It requires something from us and for those not willing to give, from art they will not receive.”
This pre-bedtime rant – constructed entirely on my crappy Blackberry Bold no less – was spawned after thinking about creativity, vulnerability, and the death of Thomas Kinkade.
Incoming opinions and sweeping generalizations.
Art – the substantial kind – really separates itself from other forms of communication and making because of it’s innate characteristics of being semi-alive. Now this has no bearing upon it’s physical state, but rather has more to do with the idea that it possesses something of life. Generally this something comes from it’s creator, in some sort of transference. Regardless of means, this new thing embodies something of life.
Because of this liveliness, art cannot be treated as simply on object, an image, painting, sculpture, etc. There must be some sort of interaction that takes place and therefore there must be openness. The more openness from all parties involved, the greater possibility for impact, transference, and life. This openness allows for receiving from one another, but also requires vulnerability. I must be vulnerable enough to admit that I don’t fully understand something when I first encounter it. I don’t know what it means.
Prescribed meaning severely limits possibility. One of my good friends from school always harped on me about how I was always trying to prescribe meaning, and I had a hard time believing her and understanding; but I think I understand now, somewhat at least The gist of what she was trying to help me realize was that if I tried to dictate – prescribe – meaning, the potential – possibility – for sharing, impacting, altering is limited to my understanding and ideas.
So this was about Kitsch, right? My disdain for kitsch is entirely centered around the mindset behind it. Kitsch is nothing but prescribed meaning. It’s possibility for growth is non-existent, and therefore, so is the viewer/owner’s in relation to that object or idea. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be comforted, or feeling loved – these are good things. However, when we conflate these desires to a place of equality with art, then we ask to be shallow.
Art is challenging, because it is an interaction. But this also leads to its beautiful possibility.