Monday, March 14, 2011

Last Word For A While

I've been debating my "Mining the Classics" question with others (tested good-dinner-conversation topic!) and just want to make it clear that I'm not against basing new art on old.  What a hopeless stand that would be!  Besides stupid.  No, what I object to is a lazy dependence on established icon to "carry" unworthy new work.  Sampling music, for instance, seems fine as long as the new work is genuinely either a new work or a commentary.  The Reduced Shakespeare Company or Warhol's version of Botticelli's Venus or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, for instance?  Terrific.  Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, however is just boring - unworthy of the hijacked original.

I object to cheapening classics for a quick buck... but a conversation with that classic or satire or just plain ridicule is fair game.  If living artists are expected to stand up to criticism, certainly dead classic ones should too.  In fact, de-embalming a classic is doing it a favor - keeping it alive.  No, I just want the new artist to do something GOOD with the classic.

If you're gonna hang out with Shakespeare or Da Vinci, then you ought to try to keep up as best you can.

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