Sunday, March 31, 2013

On Art, Part II

(This is Part II of a four part mini-think piece on art. Every section qualifies and contradicts every other section. Okay?)

Works of art from all times live in us and change us. No matter when they were produced, or how long ago their makers may have passed on, the ability that we as an audience have to interact with pieces of art brings them to life. In the fields of both thought and emotion, works of art are reanimated, and take on new hues, new resonances, in every age. Because we can interact with a piece of art, even one that was made in the deep past, the contextual field which produced it comes to the forefront of our consciousness. The work also has the capacity to change our ways of thinking that were beyond where we could go had we not encountered this form from a bygone era. This brings the work to life in such a way as to surely fulfill the hopes and intentions of nearly any creator, any poet, any sculptor, alive or long dead. 

The hope and vision of many artists is that their art will stand the test of time and eventually change the course of history and culture. For this is the "life" of a work of art: to move through time and inspire people to think, to feel, to improve themselves, and to spur other artists to create. A piece of art can be said to be alive in that moment when either its creator or its audience is changed by it. Any time a person interacts, emotionally and thoughtfully, with a piece of art, it can be said to have "action," which, for a constructed thing, is vibrancy and life. Such moments happen with works of art from all eras, even when we do not understand much, intellectually, about works whose creation moments are so distant that they have become alien to us. Often their very strangeness is the primal force that spurs us to wonder with even greater fervor.

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