Sunday, August 15, 2010

Quote du Jour: Art for Our Sake

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As quoted in Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-Haunted South:

Amidst such a terribly dehumanized world as ours, the function of art, says [critic Lionel] Trilling, is to rehumanize us. What we least need, says Trilling, is the anonymous and silenced voice of many modern novelists. …Hence Trilling’s call for novelists whose voice is not banished from their books: “Surely what we need is…the opportunity to identify ourselves with a mind that willingly admits that it is a mind and does not pretend that it is History or Events or the World but only a mind thinking and planning – possibly planning our escape.”
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11 comments:

Lynne H. said...

Please, if you don't mind, expand on this. I have no idea what this means. No disrespect to you(the writer) but more to the ignorance of me (the reader)..

Rodak said...

He is saying that the artist, in his art, must consciously take a moral stand, and that the presentation of that moral stand must be the purpose of the art. The moral stand that the artist takes (Trilling believes) must have its derivation in the objective Truths of religion, philosophy, culture: paintings which must be planned and carefully executed; not snapshots which merely record.

SINVILLE said...

I once heard a discussion on why would drawings and paintings be found in Nazi internment camps
and I immediately understood their creators needs. An artist must sire-it is their indebtedness.
Rehumanization may be the result of any actualized art, but it is more personnel for the creator. It truly is part of their essence.

Rodak said...

Yes, but Trilling implies that nothing guarantees that a creator's essence is of any worth. Every stupid TV commercial or pornographic video has a creator, or creators. The act of creation in-itself means no more than any random act or thoughtless reaction.

SINVILLE said...

Robert, the artist, and I mean someone who lives with this emotional need to create, rarely does so with thoughtlessness. Not every piece of art was birthed by an artist, and nor will every creation have worth to an audience. I may be moved to tears by words, a painting can leave me breathless, but emotionally, the same art may leave another untouched. My point is that Trilling did not understand it is not about the art itself-it is a by product. The truth is in the creation, and in the process.

Commercials or pornographic videos are likely manufactured and not necessarily created but I can see their purpose does not exclude them from the definition of art. The Coke Coca Cola (original) I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing commercial was created to produce sales but yet I knew it was art the first time I saw it.

Rodak said...

Well, I agree with Trilling. I see "We Are the World" as part of the problem.

Lynne H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SINVILLE said...

I think there are two definitions to art. Most people just understand what they visualize, what is already created. I know that there is art in the process. When people read your poetry they connect with your words, or their interpretation. Do you not feel it is art while you contemplate your words? I once heard Judy Garland describe her voice as a separate entity, and she did not know where it came from. I feel the same thing when I lose myself in the process. The coke commercial deputed when I was eleven. I was not exposed to people of different colors and it really touched me to see the world-I think for the first time.

SINVILLE said...

Robert, give peac...art a chance :-)
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ccmphtml/colaadv.html

Mad said...

"... possibly planning our escape."

'Nuff said! lol

Rodak said...

That, Mad, my friend, is the key line alright.