The post I made today generated lots of people chiming in ... here, on FB, texts, and email. In particular what seemed to hit a nerve was #9: my point about the comment "I love the colors." Turns out there are artists who also feel the way I feel and artists who don't feel the way I feel.
One of my closest artist friends is one who does not feel what I feel and we had a series of robust, honest and respectful back-and-forths today about the topic. As robust as it was, I feel we just scratched the surface of how much I really want to delve into the topic and talk about it some more. I think it's challenging to really talk and consider topics such as these and easier to silence challenging topics.
I've been reading a book titled Seeing Out Loud—the collected columns written by Art Critic Jerry Saltz. Every single column is filled with the courage not to silence difficult topics as they relate to art but to actually talk deeply about them ... clearly and out loud. I actually fell in love with Jerry Saltz when I saw him on Work of Art and listened to the criticisms he'd offer the contestants. I still re-watch the episodes just because I learn so much from his masterful criticisms.
I think it's interesting that many critics of Saltz try to dismiss him as "an art snob" who cares more about fancy art school stuff than "real people" stuff from the real world.
What is it about the very act of discussing art or being an art school graduate that agitates some people? Why is the act of pondering concepts within art considered by some as elitist?
Based on that logic, then would it be correct to view the pursuit of math and science by mathemeticians and scientests as elitist? When we are in need of accounting services, do we say "Let's go to the one who didn't go to accounting school ... the one who just rounds up or down when the numbers don't add up"? Or when we are really sick, do we say "Let's not go to the one who went to medical school because that means he's a snob"?
This post is not about how art people should go to art school. There's a part of me that wishes I did but I didn't. And Jerry Saltz didn't either. (By the way, the juxtaposition of the last two sentences in no way means that I compare myself to him. Hardly.)
So what is this post about?
It's about how I really enjoy the Out Loud part of what a free society affords us ... which is to think, discuss, and have robust back-and-forths ... and how we can champion rather than silence topics ... no matter how challenging.