Sunday, August 19, 2012

Art in the Age of Depression

I find it hard if not impossible to think about art in these difficult economic times.  The need to keep roof overhead and food on the table when one cannot find sustained work is taxing with the psychological and emotional toll being devastating.   

We live in an ever darkening time, one where our politics, our economics, our whole social fabric has fallen apart, where people don’t care to know or if they do, don’t.   Where unbridled greed and avarice rules, where the destruction of hope (is there any left?) is paramount and those in power play games while Rome burns.   A world which in twenty or thirty years will not look the same due to global warming and the resultant changes in food production will leave millions starving.   It’s too late.  Nothing can be done, the impact is imminent and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men cannot put it together again.  

I sometimes work near the U.N. and I see during my lunch break all the men and women walking back and forth with their briefs, sometimes in heavy conversation and debate with like other determining the fate or so they think of the world.  Meetings, meetings, meetings and nothing changes.  The world at large is run by sociopaths either in politics or business with but one purpose, to gain more power and we commoners, are nothing but fodder, too often in the way of their grand plans, our sole function is to support their state of affairs while they pay little or no tax and purchase either their goods or propaganda without question or protest.

Besides that physical fact is an art world that is irrelevant and an audience non-existent for what one has to say or more what I have to say.   One might as well wander into the wilderness and wail as the result would be the same.

I am and have always been as long as I can remember, even as a child barely able to put words in mouth been disturbed by these inequities and injustices, inequities and injustices perpetrated by none other than humanities hubris and vanity.  Vanitas Vanitatum.

Such as it is I am sometimes reminded despite such dark clouds of personal misfortune of the purpose and function of art, of late that has not occurred by actually seeing art but more in music and literature.   Solace comes in listening to Bach or in reading recently Maupassant’s “Pierre and Jean”, Jean Giono’s “Blue Boy” or now as I wade into Döblin’s “Berlin Alexanderplatz”. 

I find this country intolerable and fantasize about living in Europe, somewhere in the south of France would be nice and I don’t have any fantasy of it being without its own troubles or that the locals would be any different than here, small town minds with there ageless prejudices and distrust are everywhere from the hills of Afghanistan, to Provence to Pennsylvania, New York or the Upper West Side.   But being an outsider in a country where you are not from is somehow in my experience easier than being an outsider in ones own land, the alienation is at least justified there but here in ones own land and native tongue is unbearable.

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