Light Up the Sky

This last week I ran across two media interviews that served as a great reaffirmation for the new year of the value of art-making. The first is largely transcribed from the Charlie Rose show.  The second is a combination of transcription and paraphrasing, but fully capture what the writer was saying.

David Chase, creator of the Sopranos, on Charlie Rose: “Despite how it looks there is magic in the universe.  And it’s called art.   When we look at a painting and some kind of shiver goes down your back that is beyond thought, beyond emotion.  It’s something else—it’s almost spiritual. And if you’re lucky enough you can make some of that stuff, some of that magic— if you persevere you might be able to.

Charlie Rose: “It must be wonderful when an artist has something to say; when he hears someone say: ‘I felt like you were talking to me; or  that painting captured how I felt, or I saw something in your work that helped me understand life.”

WILLIAM DERESIEWICZ—Author of this NYT essay–

On Q with Jian Ghomeshi when talking about the meaning of art and why culinary artistry is not “art”.  “Art means art and art also means craft.  If you’re Donald Trump there is the ‘art of the deal’, there’s the art of war, etc.  Craft means skilled—artisan food is creative, it is sensual. Food inspires feelings in us it  inspires memories.  But art goes beyond that.  There is a spiritual component to art—not religious. Not mystical, but spiritual.  It deals with things that go beyond the senses that go beyond what we can see and taste. Art has a way that explains our experience to us. It explains other people’s experience to us too.  By giving our emotions a certain kind of shape or pattern to create or represent some kind of meaning it elevates. It’s like the difference between gymnastics and ballet.  (sic) Gymnasts amaze. They are highly skilled.  But gymnastics is not designed to evoke emotion or give sense to our experience.

(The interviewer mentioned Duchamp’s urinal – Deresiewicz replies: “It surprises us.  It doesn’t tell us how to live but asks us to think about how we live.”)

Can a meal tell a story? I suppose.  My car can tell a story about me.  It’s old.  It contains artifacts that can give someone a clue to who I am.  But it is not transformative. (sic) It is not art and neither is food.

Art enlightens.”

Mr. Deresiewicz gave one of the best explanations I’ve heard of the difference between art and other creative endeavors.

I’m excited for another “enlightening” year.  Happy 2013!

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