By Letty Bassart - Miami ArtZine
They say necessity is the mother of invention. As the daughter of immigrants, I can vouch for the power of this type of innovation. While they were not exactly advocates of the arts, it was my family’s blue collar insistence that first filled me with passion, resourcefulness, and creativity. It is this same upbringing that now makes me question “art and culture.” The intellectual myopia of many museum and gallery curators infuriates me. Lately I have been noticing the art world’s—in this case the New York art world’s—fascination with third world poverty. The Brooklyn Museum’s current exhibit highlights Caribbean art. Their Cuban feature includes a film of a man walking up the stairs to gather pails of water that repeats on a loop as its centerpiece. This was outdone only by a photo of people standing in line.
Have artists become incapable of beauty and creation? Has virtual reality and a fascination with objects affected the arts so greatly that on stage we can only show what is, rather than what we imagine? Have people lost the ability to judge art for themselves? Has boldness become passé?
In a world that only ever talks about edginess, it is ironic that many things rated as “best” are nothing more than literal translations of the world we inhabit. D.H. Lawrence said, “An artist is usually a damned liar, but his art, if it be art, will tell you the truth of his day. And that is all that matters.” I am not a fan of Mr. Lawrence, so in the same way, I am impelled to write, I am compelled to ask, has art become complacent?
Artists seem rather satisfied with retelling rather than crafting or excavating. Is it not the role of artists to go deeper, to find the source? Nothing irks me more than the arrogance of making “nothing” and the audiences’ acceptance of it.
Even many critics no longer harbor opinions. Instead, the newspapers regale us with descriptions and equal air time. While I believe in Internet and journalistic neutrality, what happened to point of view?
My fingers cannot type fast enough. My heart races and tears of frustration stream down my face in considering the quickness with which people pick choice A, B, or C.
What of true elasticity? Inherit in its definition is the reality that it is not infinite and at some point things are lost forever. It is as if the arts community has become so involved with the stretching, that they have forgotten about form, muscle, depth and the circulatory system.
As with all wraths, it is the freshness of a spring that calms me. There are instances when we are fortunate enough to witness brilliance first-hand, close-up, to see history-makers making, to shake the hand of someone who has touched others with Morrison and Bertolucci, to walk alongside drummers.
And then there are moments of poetry that make rage ridiculous. This is the experience that can be had at the Teatro en Miami Studio, not an alternative space satisfied with its alternativeness, not a space satisfied with black paint, but a space that drips with passion and sincerity, a space that immediately transports. On the second story next to a radiator shop, Sandra and Ernesto Garcia have created magic in the Magic City. It is impossible to leave the space and not feel inspired and humbled.
Relieved and uplifted, I realize that I too have missed the point, that in fact heart and discipline are the mothers of all things.