Monday, August 14, 2017

331: The Cure for Bad Art

–THE poet Alexander Pope, describing the slippery slope of degraded expectation wrote, "vice is a monster of such frightening mien, that to be hated needs but to be seen. But seen too oft and familiar with her face, we first pity, then endure, then embrace."
Cottonwood Creek, 24" x 36"

The sentiment is as true today as it was in Pope's time. But there seem few who understand how enduring bad art, generally thought to be a virtue, can erode the foundations of civil society. Freedom is vital for the creation of art and no artist I know advocates censorship. But because of our voluntary restraint from censorship, we have an increased obligation to shape our culture by supporting great art.

Mark Helprin is one of the greatest writers of our time. But because he is out of step with post-modern ideology he has been nearly ignored by the popular media. His career has suffered and he can't support himself solely from his novels. Because I think more books like his should be written, I just pre-ordered his latest book, Paris in the Present Tense. I could save money by waiting to buy a used copy, checking it out from the library, or buying the ebook. But by pre-ordering the more expensive hardback, I signal the market that I love his work and want more work of similar quality.

If we use our purchasing power to support great artists, we become patrons of the art we love. If we see the same movies others consume we have no right to suppose we are independent thinkers. If we read the same books others read we think the same thoughts others are thinking. If we consume the same entertainment the masses devour we deny ourselves exposure to the unique expressions of unique minds.

I challenge myself to seek out and encourage artists I deem worthy of support. By doing so, I curtail thoughtless expenditures on valueless fads.

Don't pity bad art. Don't endure bad art. And certainly, do not embrace it.

Brad Teare August 2017

Above: Cottonwood Creek, 24" x 36", oil on canvas, available at Anthony's Fine Art


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