Saturday, 5 May 2007

The Re-enchantment of Art

Suzi Gablik's book Has Modernism Failed (1984) described an enervated contemporary art scene. She depicted the post-modernist art world as one in which the revolutionary impetus of modern art had degenerated into a market-driven form of parody and calculated indifference.
In The Re-Enchantment of Art (1991) she puts forward the more optimistic idea that there is indeed hope for the future, but it depends on the spiritual and ethical renewal of our culture, including 'a revitalized sense of community, an enlarged ecological perspective, and greater access to the mythic and archetypal underpinnings of spiritual life. '
Re-reading this in 2007, one has to wonder how much progress has been made towards this 'spiritual and ethical renewal of our culture.'

2 comments:

billo said...

C, you know what would be really interesting would be to know how many youngsters would now find such stuff inspiring. My guess is: very few.

It's not just the demise of the 'left', the defeat of communism , but the retreat into a soppy sort of 'communalism' (muslim, gay, jewish , feminist and so on) as the only alternativbe to the abstract and empty universalism of the market.

"revitalizing communities" sounds, to our jaded eyes, like just so much new labour spin!

What do you think of Brown?
Our mam says he has the look of "the defeated" on his face. Can't disagree with that! Can't stand that sour look..reminds me of Duncan Fletcher who is, in my books anyway, one of the oddest people around. Thank God he wasn't our coach!

Celia said...

Another of Gablik’s books is Conversations Before he End of Time, in which she asks nineteen artists, writers and art critics the question: “When the end of time seems close at hand, what meaning or purpose can art possibly have?” To quote one reviewer: “Unintentional humor ensues when her question of many of her interviewes whether they think the world is coming to an end, and how art can address this problem, elicits the replies, “uh, not really” and “it can’t.”

But I applaud Gablik for asking difficult questions, even if in the end I don’t go along with her notions that the world is on the verge of collapse, and that only ecologically-rooted, participatory, communitarian forms of art can hope to turn things around. That’s much too easy – and slightly ‘kooky’, as the Americans would say.

But I’d still like to think that young artists today are even asking the questions – if they are, I don’t hear them.

Brown? Agree with your mum entirely: A loser. He’s now owning up to ‘mistakes’ made in the last ten years; why did we never, in all that time, hear him raising a peep of protest or express an opinion that went against Blair’s programme? Well, we know the answer to that, and it’s why we will never trust a word he says.