Ulrik Gliese - Visual Arts - The Single-Mindedness of Contemporary Art
Maryland, August 2002
Now I have again stumbled over this age-old discussion about what visual art should and should not deal with. In the book on Edward Weston by Charis Wilson, it is described how somebody, during the depression, told him that art should focus on social issues. He responded that his job is on other aspects that are equally valuable. Of course he was right.
In art, today, there is a strong focus on social issues and it is often argued that nothing else has any value. Why is this discussion always going on within the visual arts? It seems to be the only place where there is only room for one right thing at a time. In all other arts and all other professions, it is accepted, even expected, that all sorts of aspects should be covered. Many, very different, types of music, dance and so forth are fully accepted and appreciated. The same is the case for science and architecture. Should we only be building houses and not bridges? Should we only study atoms and not molecules? Established contemporary visual art is plagued by single-mindedness to the extreme. It is amazing and sad that diversity in the visual arts is so deprecated.
Illuminations, revelations and progressions, within any art form or any other pursuit for knowledge and understanding for that matter, are rarely found where we expect to find them. Often the most valuable insights and advances are reached by unexpected paths. Therefore, it is extremely important that we look at life and all its manifestations from many different angles. Hopefully, there will always be artists covering the many different aspects of life so that we can all continue to be enlightened and not become single-minded.
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