Thursday, January 07, 2010

Why I Sometimes Hate the Arts

I have just finished reading yet another "arts" article complaining about the American tradition of putting on Nutcracker ballets every Christmas (in Europe they are more MODERN and UP-TO-DATE). It seems that no one in the ballet community actually likes Nutcracker, but they are forced! forced! by the plebian masses to perform it every year.

Real ballet people would much rather perform modern works of great social import, but they are obliged to leave off these avant-garde endeavors due to the irritating fact that nobody wants to buy the tickets! Isn't it beyond annoying when the people at large are such Philistines?! Gah!

Needless to say, this sort of attitude is not unique to dance, but also appears in virtually every other form of art. I can understand the frustration in having to do something that is no longer new and fresh for you, but all of these artists should remember who it is that ultimately pays the bills. If you truly want to do art for arts sake, then go paint/dance/compose/etc. in your closet where you can do just exactly as you please.


Raymond said...

But if you never perform the work, the public will never be exposed to these "new and wonderful" works. It's like Jamie Oliver getting schoolkids to eat less junk food (which they love) and eat more vegetables (which they hate). What's wrong with that?

(Actually a better analogy might be a chocolatier complaining that everybody wants milk chocolate and nobody buys the dark chocolate, which is much more complex in flavor.)

Joy to the World said...

Yes, yes, I know that new stuff needs to come out too. I'm not saying it shouldn't. I'm just saying that artists could have a little more grace when they are asked, upon occasion, to honor an old favorite.

It may not be fun for the aged conductor to run through yet another round of Beethoven's 9th, but it might be the first time a new person hears the piece. Who knows, that could be a transformative experience that causes the new convert to attend a hundred other concerts over the years.