Sunday, August 9, 2020

Artistic Progress

There is a natural progression in art forms: simple, then lovely, then distant, then abstract, then death of the form. Simple can be clumsy and unsophistocated or plain and clear . Lovely is self-evident. Distant begins to pay too much attention to the way it's executed, too self-referential, a third person perspective. Abstract takes the navel gazing to new extremes, typically skill is still important but it's more about propping up something artless with bogus theory and claims of "this is important" where obviously if it was important it wouldn't be necessary to proclaim it so. Death is when the artifact is completely devoid of any pleasure-giving, it must have a placard beside it specifically telling the fickle public why it is art for without that placard it would be misunderstood as just a piece of crap. Death can also be recursive reproductions of any of the earlier stages over and over again.

Painting did this: flat gothic, Botticelli, impressionism, Picasso, Pollack

Art music: Gregorian chant, Mozart, Bruckner/Debussy, Berg/Schoenberg, Billy Joel piano sonatas.

The art forms that were mature by the 1800's are especially prone to this cycle as technique became highly respected. Newer forms were slightly more resistant. Jazz fell to it because the skill level was so high: Armstrong, Miles, Monk, Miles [second quintet], Ayler followed by reproductions of each era over and over again. 

Because the artists in those last two stages were considered "important" everyone had to take account of them. New artists were required to reconcile their expression with these ideas. Rock was able to totally sidestep it because skill was never as important. Acts like Zappa, King Crimson & The Residents may come around but nobody follows: technique-wise they can't and record labels won't let them. The furthest along popular rock ever got was Distant with bands like Talking Heads. Country never made it past Simple & Lovely except maybe play-with-the-form work by guys like David Allan Coe (see, it already gets less enjoyable)

Abstract is the trap of the insecure

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