Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Earning the right to receive Great Art

Yes, that's the thing with Great Artistry posted by MD Amidst this Roger Kimball commentary about Sol LeWitt and minimalist art, a sentence in paragraph six:
Great art repays renewed scrutiny with new insights, new perceptions.Another way of saying this is that Great Art beckons longterm friendship with the audience. Such art, like one's friends, rewards the time, energy, and sacrifice required for intimacy. Good friends, in the sense that they uplift each other to their most expansive, fullest nature, are sometimes easy, and sometimes not, are they not? Truly relating to someone for their deepest benefit is certainly not a 24/7 bowl of cherries; and you can be sure that the same goes for such people for your deepest benefit. (For more about this sort of friendship, see Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.)
All of which is to say that Great Art isn't necessarily easy to read or experience, doesn't present itself without its perceiver earning his or her right to receive. Of course, sometimes great art, those you have lived with for many years, comforts, heals, and rejuvenates. Great Art is worth the investment, worth the patience, worth the confusion. This sort of rationale was common to the "Great Books" movement in 20th century America; it remains in use in my Basic Program at UChicago. It is also entirely applicable to not just literary thought, but all disciplines of art, and the rest of the Humanities. Labels: 2:20 PM

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