Art at the Cutting Edge

When regular people like us start acting as if we’re real artists, something dangerous happens.

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“Art symbolises the human potential to bring an imaginative dimension to all possible activity—there is an art to everything. But the word “art” is more often identified with the products of a specific range of activity made by an “artist” and referred to as “the arts”. This perception separates art from everyday life and places it in the domain of a certain range of talents, skills and applications. In short, art is regarded as something that only some people can do. It is undeniable that some artists practice a particular art more skillfully than others, but this does not mean that if someone says “I can fix my car” that it equates to saying “I can’t sing”.The first is about lacking a skill; the second, the disconnection from an essential human power. Even so, our culture of achievement has taken us a long way from these Netsilik Eskimo words: Songs are thoughts, sung out with the breath when people are moved by great forces and ordinary speech no longer suffices.

The effect of separating art from life has been to banish creative activity to the margins that belong as much in the everyday as in a theatre or art gallery and as much to everybody as to Picasso or Pavarotti. If the purpose of art is to inspire and elevate, then to draw out the extraordinary from the ordinary, anywhere, and with anybody, is art at the cutting edge.”

 

Tony Gee

A Moveable Feast

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