National Portrait Gallery
A Thought About Art.
Art’s relevance and potential is most often seen in times of great social and political upheaval. In times of peace and plenty art tends to turn in on itself and become more of a shallow vanity than a form of true expression. For example, when it became clear that Barack Obama represented a real chance for a change, a simple image produced by one Shepard Ferry was able to sum up a nation’s mood and desires so profoundly that it now hangs in the National Portrait gallery in Washington D.C.
We need art now more than ever. I think it’s fair to say that people have finally woken up to the dire circumstances we find ourselves in. Our economic house of cards has come collapsing down around us, we continue to wage two wars against an “enemy” whose only wish seems to be for us to leave them alone, and the environment seems to be on the verge of trying to get rid of us. In other words it would appear that the time of reckoning has arrived.
With all of these problems facing us it becomes difficult to sum up all that we feel into words. Conversation almost seems meaningless, people begin to shy away from the problems, wondering how can they possibly help. But the conversation is one of the most important things we can contribute. It represents the beginning, the formulation of ideas, the education of the people. We need art now to frame this conversation in all of the symbolism and importance that our age demands of it. To help remind us of the truths and ideals that were taught to us when we were young, but seem to loose their relevance as we get older.
Music’s roll in this is clear. When times are difficult people turn to song, we always have and we always will. Be it slaves or sailors, music aids us in toil. And to that I say let us toil, and bring this nation back from the Disney channel strip mall suburban hell to which it is plummeting.