Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I went to see "Art" at Gateway Theatre today.  As  Stephen Drover in his 'Director's notes' says: "Art" as the quotation marks in the title of the play would suggest is not really about art. It's more about what art opens up.Oscar Wilde suggested that "All art is quite useless", proposing that art generally does not have a whole lot of inherent value. But what *is* valuable is what it can do to us: how it can change our opinions about something, how it can spur us on to action, how it can make us look at each other and ourselves in new ways. As a theatre artist, I am most satisfied when an audience after a show is not talking about the play but about the feelings, ideas and dreams that the play awakens in them. Art as a sort of can opener, releasing important human stuff.
      The quotation marks also suggest that art is what we make it; that honouring something with the title of  "Art" is a matter of opinion. One person's art is another person's junk.
      In our play, one friend buys a painting, finds value in it and call it "art". Another friend sees no value in it and thinks it is junk. And the third friend does not know what to think. They discuss, they argue, they fight. A world of conflict is opened up between them and they are forced to reassess their friendship, how they see themselves, the choices they have made in their lives and how they can proceed as people.
     It's not about art. It's about what art makes you look at. Perhaps that's the value."
    -which I thought was excellent and worth repeating here. I can certainly like art of many different styles- but I don't like everything that is called "art". One thing I would definitely draw the line on calling art is a shark preserved in - I think formaldehyde - in a tank.
    My painting here - which I hope is art- is "The Rum-Runner" from last year's "Dirty Thirties" marathon.

No comments: