[LAU] Art's suitability for anything

david gnome at hawaii.rr.com
Sat Aug 17 21:15:27 UTC 2013

On 08/16/2013 07:18 PM, James Harkins wrote:
> Ralf wrote:
>  > There's a difference between art and tools released for the public.
> Art, excepted of the crap on the radio, should not suit to anything.
> Interesting comment, off topic from the original thread so I'll spawn a
> new one.
> I don't entirely agree that art should not suit to anything. I come to
> feel more and more that art doesn't exist without a subculture, and
> people make art/music/fashion etc to appeal to one or more subcultures.
> There are possible exceptions (Harry Partsch, perhaps) but I'd argue
> those are extremely rare.
> Many western classical composers in the early twentieth century argued
> for "music for its own sake" -- music that captures a glimpse of the
> Eternal and thus whose artistic merit transcends human relationships.
> But of course, it's all tap-room banter without a community of musicians
> and listeners who agree with that idea! So this was just another musical
> culture (which sought to pretend that it was beyond culture).
> This is, of course, not to say that artists must obey subcultural
> expectations and have no autonomy. Most (western) musical subcultures
> value surprise (except the aforementioned generic radio pop). I think
> artistic autonomy is always in a balance, or tension, with the artist's
> chosen scene. One of the decisions an artist has to make is where to
> position herself on the continuum between participating in a musical
> community (adhering to its standards) and critiquing its norms or
> expanding the subculture's boundaries. Many are not aware that this is a
> choice -- hence the bands or singers who sound just like everybody else
> in the genre. But part of my point is that participating in a musical
> culture is not "less than" breaking molds.
> All this is from a western perspective, of course. Some non-European
> musical cultures (I'm thinking of the amazing music of the Aka pygmies)
> seem to place no value at all on individual autonomy in music... that
> is, autonomy is not a universal value.

In the Western music history, music was very much part of the culture 
and community (not a subculture!), universally part of building cultural 
cohesion. Look at folk and dance music going way back. Modern example, 
for me, is square dance music. The "modern" disco-style emphasis on 
individuals standing out is a late arriving alien.

Nothing made by humans is beyond culture, since all humans are embedded 
in at least one culture. Even if an individual is rebelling against 
their culture, their rebellion is formed by the culture they're 
rebelling against.

My non-musical artist daughter says that if a piece of art doesn't 
communicate, it's not art; it's just a "spot on the wall."

gnome at hawaii.rr.com
authenticity, honesty, community

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