Thanks to the great conversation at Graphic Tales I've been thinking a lot about the language of images. What if I said this: Traditional gallery painting is like Latin- valuable, but dead.
No one can possibly argue that Painting (capital P) is not important, beautiful and full of meaning. But more and more, the people who care about it are not the general populace, but scholars who dedicate their minds to studying and practicing it. The salon has been removed from the street and into the ivory tower. Am I saying that "Art" has also been removed from the sphere of cultural relevance? No, but I'd like the world to have a broader view of what art can be.
The kind of art that circulates in our culture's veins, the kind of images people interface with every day, has increasingly become comics, illustration, animation and other kinds of narrative pictures. (This said as a person who makes these kind of images on a daily basis.) I'm not looking to justify our industry, but more to use history as a validation of its value. If people make (things) and these (things) are political satire or social commentary or a vehicle to depict beauty - isn't that art? Now replace (things) with the word of your choice: paintings, sculptures, plays, comics, etc. In the Paris of 1899, (it) was painting. What is (it) today?
Painting, Fine Art's High Priest, is no longer the barometer of cultural conversation. That is not something I would choose if it were up to me, per-say. But, I've found it is frustrating and logically inconsistent to view arts (of any kind!) on a vertical scale -with the purest and holy forms existing above and the schlocky-est commercial pap down below.
What if we viewed art on a horizontal scale? This is harder than you think. Consider this question: Do you view both Brittany Spears "Oops I did it again" and Handle's "Messiah" as equally valid forms of art?
More to follow...
Image: John Cuneo, "The Freelancer"